Friday, March 30, 2007

When the Ducks Return to the AMA Fountain

Chicago may be developing its own mini-Capistrano at the unlikely location of a fountain next to the AMA Building, designed by Japanese architect Kenzo Tange. Last spring, they showed up in late April; this year, the end of March. You know, that whole Global Warming thing.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

CAC Emerging Visions, Mary Soderstrom tonight, Lifson and Samuelson Saturday afternoon

A trifecta of architectural events close out the month March. Thursday, night, March 29th, at the Knoll Showroom in the Merchandise Mart, beginning with a reception at 5:30 P.M., the Chicago Architectural Club will be announcing the winners of its Emerging Visions competition, whose goal is to "to provide a forum for young designers to share their visions, inventions, and ideas. Meanwhile, over at Quimby's books, 1854 West North Avenue at 7:30 P.M., author Mary Soderstrom will be discussing her book, Green City: People, Nature and Urban Places. Soderstrom will make a second appearance at 57th Street Books at 1301 E. 57th Street at 7 P.M. on Friday, March 30th.

Finally, from 2 to 4 P.M. on Saturday, March 31st, WBEZ's Edward Lifson and Chicago's Cultural Historian Tim Samuelson will join forces at Frank Lloyd Wright's Unity Temple in Oak Park for Rock the House, an exploration of "how great buildings are like one-of-a-kind instruments." The event benefits the Unity Temple Restoration Foundation. Tickets are $20.00, or $15.00 for foundation members.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Santiago Explains it all for you

Chicago is now officially in the throes of Spire-mania. Over 500 people packed two separate meetings on Tuesday to see and hear developer Garrett Kelleher and architect Santiago Calatrava present what may actually be moving towards the final design for the Chicago Spire, their 2,000 foot high tower to be built on a derelict peninsula between the Chicago River, Ogden slip, and Lake Michigan.

There'll be a much more to come after we finish transcribing, including a full account of the proposals, prospects and designs for the long-unrealized DuSable Park, just east of the Spire, but for now, read our account on how Calatrava sat down next to an overhead projector, picked up a brush, and began creating watercolors to explain his concepts. ""Just working as I work in my office," Calatrava said, "bringing you into my office, and sitting you across from me and showing you how I would approach a thing like that, such an important thing, (through) a balance of very simple gestures."

Read all about it, and see a sampling of the images to come, here.

Monday, March 26, 2007

A Foggy Day in Chi Town - Ohio Street Beach, March 24, 2007

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Nice Dress

The credits for the cover photograph on this Sunday's New York Times Style Spring Travel Magazine include those for the designer of the dress and jewelry, as well as for the model, hair and makeup, but the architect of the Copan building in Sao Paulo that makes the cover so spectacular apparently merits no billing. You probably know already, but just in case you don't and you're wondering, the architect of the 1951 serpentine, 1160 apartment complex is the great Oscar Niemeyer, still practicing as he approaches his 100th birthday this December. (Take that, FLW)

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Calatrava and Kelleher unveil latest Spire design Monday - twice

Getting a jump on a long-scheduled Monday, March 26th session of the neighborhood group SOAR (Streeterville Organization of Active Residents) where architect Santiago Calatrava and developer Garrett Kelleher have promised to unveil the long-awaited latest design for their proposed 2,000-foot-high Chicago Spire, the Grant Park Advisory Council and Grant Park Conservancy have just scheduled the same barnstorming pair to appear earlier in the day at a 12:15 P.M. program in the Grainger Ballroom at Symphony Center, 220 South Michigan Avenue. Scheduled to be presented are both the newest Spire design, as well as Calatrava's ideas for the long gestating DuSable Park, just to the east of the spire site on the other side of Lake Shore Drive.

If SOAR's experience is any indication, spectators may pack the Grainger to the point of leaving a perch on one of its Austrian crystal chandeliers as the last refuge for late-comers. SOAR, which, unlike the Grant Park Advisory Council, required pre-registration for what is essentially a community group meeting, had such an enormous response that their event wound up being moved from the Courtyards of Marriott to a large ballroom in the Chicago Marriott Downtown on north Michigan Avenue.

At least for the moment, Chicago seems less crazy about the Olympics than mad for the Spire. Kelleher's past presentations have been amalgams of substance and smoke. How will the ratio play out Monday? All in good time, gentle reader, all in good time.

Friday, March 23, 2007

Finally - AIA Illinois 150 gets the whole "best of" list thing right

After a silly season of "best of" lists that's ranged from the American Institute of Architect's lazy and inane America's Favorite Architecture to the Illinois Bureau of Tourism's beauty contest quest for the Seven Wonders of Illinois, AIA Illinois has finally gotten it right.

With 150 Great Places in Illinois, they've finally come up with a compilation that comes off neither as a joke nor as something a PR intern tossed off between assignments. It's a great combination of usual suspects and unexpected discoveries, and it's all available on an addictive, informative and superbly designed website. Read all about it and see some of the photos here.

Koolhaas in Singapore - Slid, not Stacked

Rem Koolhaas is one busy guy. Hot on the heels of the unveiling on his stacked volumes in a project for Jersey City, here's a rendering of his just revealed design for a 153 meter high skyscraper that will be his first project in Singapore, a city that has been a key target of study in his various writings. According to Building magazine, the towers are raised up off the ground to provide more open space at the base, and are expected to hold 68 apartments. Do you think this is what Murcutt means when he talks of "touching the ground lightly?"

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Goose Egg Hunt aims to Cut the Crap at Grant Park

How wonderful it is to have nature close at hand in the often hard city. To see the large flocks of Canadian Geese in Chicago's parks. Except that these geese don't migrate - they've settled in for the long haul, and their populations are exploding. Unfortunately, the two things geese are exceptionally good at are breeding and taking a dump. When General Patton talked of his army racing through Germany "like crap through a goose," he wasn't kidding. According to an article in Chicago Wildlife Magazine, a goose can transform food into waste in just seven minutes. A single bird can produce over a pound of droppings per day.

The geese have resisted various techniques to control them. Growing the grass taller works for a while, but then the geese just eat the grass. Seattle has tried something called "scare eyes"; the geese soon lose their fear. Letting dogs chase them away just moves the geese around, and often exhausts the dog to the point where it feels the need to relieve itself, as well.

The Grant Park Advisory Council and Grant Park Conservancy is trying a different tact. They are looking for volunteers this Saturday, March 24th, to learn how to locate "goose eggs so that the eggs can be depredated, preventing them from hatching." Again according to Chicago Wildlife Magazine, it's all about fool a goose. Under strict state and federal permits, egg shaking or egg addling is allowed for a short time after the eggs are laid. The eggs are then placed back in the nest. The now cruelly deceived goose will "will continue to incubate the eggs until it is too late in the season to lay a new clutch."

The Grant Park Advisory Council says the technique "is endorsed by the Humane Society of the United States ." Do NOT, however, attempt this on your own. "Trained volunteers will help find Canada Geese nests and flag them on supervised workdays and then a wildlife management company will perform the egg depredation. " Training will be offered for volunteers this Saturday, March 24th, from 10:00 A.M. to 12:00 P.M. at the Daley Bicentennial Plaza Field House, 337 E. Randolph St. Call 312-829-8015 for more information.

Adrian Smith, a resident sizes up his new Jazzy SRO, books by the chapter, and the Hunchback of Fenchurch

Good things to listen to and read:

Adrian Smith - we've mentioned this one once before, but here's a great interview of Adrian Smith, the former SOM architect behind the Trump Tower and Zero Energy Tower in China, by Edward Lifson on Hello, Beautiful. Listen to it here.

Stigma-Smashing SRO - On the same day, Catrin Einhorn has another great piece where Helmut Jahn's flashy - and sustainable - new Near North SRO is seen through the eyes of one of its tenants, Thomas Gooch (apologies if I've gotten the spelling wrong.) Be forewarned that you will briefly encounter my voice in the piece, but, thankfully, a lot more of it is given over to Mr. Gooch, whose first reaction is not unlike that of most of us the first time we encountered bare-concrete modernism, "It looks like a warehouse. . . I don't know if they're going to do some more construction in it, or if they're going to leave it like that. " Once he sees his apartment, however, with its private bath, new appliances, and large windows looking out over the skyline, he begins to warm up to the place. "I think it's wonderful," he says, "especially the view. . . . I can get up in the morning on a nice day and see outside, see the Sears Tower." Listen to it here.

Reinventing the Bookstore - Bob Thompson of the Washington Post reports on the Caravan Project, funded by Chicago's MacArthur Foundation, which seeks to create a broader distribution for small-press books by bringing the process into the digital age, which couples printing on demand to increase the selection of bricks-and-mortar retailers and better control inventory, to downloadable audio (using text to speech technology) and digital versions of the books, including the option to download only specific chapters. Read about it here.

The Hunchback of Fenchurch Street
- London Times architecture critic Hugh Pearman takes on the burst of mostly clumsy new projects that would crowd and overshadow Norman Foster's affectionately received Gherkin. Where the Gherkin offers elegance, the newer buildings too often offer only bigness and an often graceless eccentricity. Pearman hones in a new tower by Rafael Vinoly that has been dubbed "The Walkie-Talkie" for the way its bulk increases towards the top and leans forward as if stooped by the burden of its height. To me, it's a cross between Salvador Dali and Claes Oldenberg - The Limp Electric Shaver. Pearman doesn't mince words. "I reckon it is a stinker." "The world's best skyscraper cities tell us," he Pearman, "that the ensemble is what matters, not the individual building." It's a lesson that Chicago's hapless "cram it in with a shoehorn" Department of Planning and Development appears uninterested in learning. Read it all here.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Studio/Gang's Aqua Begins to Flow

It's actually happening. Aqua, the rippling 82-story tower designed by Studio/Gang's Jeanne Gang and Mark Schendel is beginning to rise on its site at Columbus and Lake in Magellan Development's massive Lakeshore East complex.

You usually don't see all the things that go into a skyscraper laid out before you like a jigsaw puzzle ready to be assembled, but that was the case this weekend, as crews from McHugh Construction, the contractor of record for the project, were preparing for the sinking of the cassions that will support the tower. See the pictures here.

No, It's not Fire & Brimstone - It's St. Patrick's Day!

Just in case you weren't already hung over enough from Saturday's festivities, we've appended our St. Patrick's page with new photos from along the green river and at Da Bean. See them all here.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

A Peeps St. Patrick's Day

Happy St. Patrick's Day from your toxic green marshmallow chickens.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Huxtable - the last word on Moses

Leave it to the Wall Street Journal's venerable architecture critic Ada Louise Huxtable to cut through the crap on the three major New York exhibitions seeking to rehabilitate the reputation of superbuilder Robert Moses.

Unlike most of those pining for the rise of a new generation of Moses to solve all our urban problems, Huxtable actually lived through much of Moses' reign. She was among those "who manned the ramparts against his most damaging interventions and were submitted to his most creative vilifications . . . " Interventions such as a Lower Manhattan Expressway that would have wiped out SoHo and maimed Chinatown, Little Italy and West Village. For Moses, it was his way and the highway. When Huxtable writes about Moses sending bulldozers to Central Park at midnight to tear up a playground in order to create parking for Tavern on the Green, you can't help but be reminded of Mayor Daley and Frank Kreusi's similar illegal dead-of-the-night blitzkreig at Meigs Field. Yeah, right, that's something we just don't have enough of today.

Huxtable looks askance at the exhibition narratives' "safely worded labels that neutralize outrage. The presentation achieves its purpose of comprehensive objectivity, but its very evenhandedness is disturbing. It is almost too cool; there was nothing evenhanded about Moses."

"With all due credit to Moses' achievements," she concludes, "he is not the man to emulate . . . he was the force majeure responsible for much of the beauty and efficiency of the city we know now. Fortunately, he was stopped before he tore it apart."

I despair that I'll ever write as well, or as cogently, as Huxtable, but I'm consoled by the fact that I'm in good company - pretty much everyone else scribbling about architecture today. Check out this must-read here.

Green River Redux

Coloring Easter eggs? That may be how you celebrate Spring in your wimpy burg, but this is Chicago. Stock up the speedboat with bags of Tang colored vegetable dye, dump it in the river, churn it up with the propeller and - voila (or its Gaelic equivalant) - instant St. Patrick's Day. This year, March 17th is special, because it's a Saturday, so the parade, dye-fest and over-served merriment will take place on the actual holiday.

I'm sure I'll be taking a lot more pictures, but to help get you in the mood, here's last year's photo essay on Chicago's annual rolling out of an emerald carpet for the city's architecture. (Recycling - what a concept!)

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Cindy Holler, Czerniak on Olin Eisenman - late additions to March calendar

More late additions to the March calendar of Chicago architectural events.

Tonight, March 14th, Chicago Women in Planning and Development will be presenting Cindy Holler, President of Mercy Housing Lakefront, which just opened its latest facility, Near North Apartments, an SRO designed by architect Helmut Jahn.

Next Wednesday, March 21st, Julia Czerniak of CLEAR will be at IIT taking about Olin Eisenman, the collaboration between landscape architect Laurie Olin and architect Peter Eisenman whose works include the Wexner Center for the Arts, and the Berlin Holocaust Museum.

On Thursday, March 22nd, ULI Chicago will be presenting a breakfast program that will discuss bringing sustainable values to buildings constructed before that was the big thing to do. Sadhu Johnston, Commissioner of the City of Chicago's Department of Environment will moderate, and the speakers will include Robert Bagguley, President - Midwest Region, Transwestern Commercial Services and Phil Baugh, Director of Leasing, Green Exchange, Baum Realty Group.

You can see the complete, wide range of events for the balance of March here.

Dinomies Postscript: Joan Pomaranc informs us that neither Mies van der Rohe's Farnsworth House or the Dick Tracy Museum made it into the second round of voting for the Seven Wonders of Illinois. The White Squirrels of Olney, World's Largest Ketchup Bottle, and Frank Lloyd Wright Home and Studio in Oak Park remain in the hunt. You can see all the surviving contenders, and vote your favorites here.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

What Garrett and Santiago had to say about the Spire at CAF

WBEZ's Edward Lifson sits through another evening of Garrett Kelleher avoiding giving specific answers so you don't have to.

The host of Hello, Beautiful, which this Sunday offered up a compelling interview with Trump Tower and Burj Dubai architect Adrian Smith (listen to it here), last night scooped all other media by posting, just hours after it took place, his report on developer Garrett Kelleher and architect Santiago Calatrava discussing their 2,000 foot high corkscrew Chicago Spire at the Chicago Architecture Foundation Monday evening.

The ever coy Mr. Kelleher said the square foot costs for the Spire's units will fall somewhere between Chicago's current highpoint of $1,200 and London's top at $9,000. While Kelleher was apparently vague about how the project is to be financed, a January 28th article in the Irish Independent indicated that the €949 million (for now) project cost was being picked up by the Anglo Irish Bank. The tower's latest design was still kept under wraps - it's currently scheduled to be unveiled at a meeting of SOAR (Streeterville Organization of Active Residents) on March 26th, at a public meeting at the Courtyards of Marriot. (Reservations required: info here.) The project is due to go before the Chicago Plan Commission on April 19th.

The far more forthcoming Mr. Calatrava discussed the project with his usual passion, including its relationship to the adjacent, still unfunded DuSable Park. You can read Lifson's excellent and extensive report, complete with several illustrations, here.

156 West Superior only Chicago rep in AIA 2007 Housing Award Winners

156 West Superior Condominiums is the only one of the 19 AIA 2007 Housing Award Winners with Chicago as a location for either the project or the architects. The 19 award winners were chosen from a field of 236 submissions. 156 West Superior was one of six winners in the Multifamily Housing category. In February, the project received a very favorable review by Tribune architecture critic Blair Kamin. While its architect David Miller is an SOM alumni, his current firm is The Miller/Hull Partnership of Seattle, a city whose firms claimed five of the 19 prizes.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Mies van der Rohe devoured by Giant Dinosaur

The Astounding and Shocking details here.

Weekend Reading - Moses (Again) and Lotto Therapy

Moses Preposes - Chicago Tribune architecture critic Blair Kamin takes on the current revaluation of New York superbuilder Robert Moses in his article on "How two urban Strongman got the job done" where he compares Moses to current Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley. He asks whether every city needs a strongman, and in describing the "boon" Daley's reign has supposedly created for the city, he seems to gravitate towards a qualified "Yes."

The lust for strongmen, of course, is an infantile regression back to childhood, an admission that we're too weak to actually become adults, take responsibility for our actions, and work things out among ourselves, so let's bring back Daddy to tell us exactly what to do. And, surprise, surprise, even that doesn't kill off our compulsive sibling rivalry - we curry favor with Daddy against our rivals with incessant flattery and grab what we can when we think Daddy Strongman isn't looking. And as it goes on and on, Daddy just grows increasingly curdled and contemptuous of our fawning weakness.

Kamin almost gets it right, quoting Northwestern University urban historian Henry Binford. "I think you need strong leaders," Binford says, "but strong leaders need to be checked and balanced. The key to having a good city, in my view, is not having a strong leader, but having adequate representation for lots of different folks in the city. Then you need strong leaders to mediate and get things done."

But Kamin can't leave it there. An earlier comment demonstrates how much the aura of the Strongman is predicated on a mythology that draws its power on the ability to selectively reveal and hide basic facts, based on how much they feed or deflate the myth.

"The hole in the ground at ground zero," write Kamin, "remained a hole, for example, while Chicago converted a comparably sized hole into dazzling Millennium Park." Except that the analogy is hollow. The World Trade Center site is commercial and privately owned, Millennium Park is public and city-owned. Kamin ignores the more appropriate analogy. While Ground Zero has been vacant since September of 2001, Daley left his equivalent challenge, Block 37, an empty dirt pile for a decade and a half. Read it all here.

Lotto - Better Than Sex? - the Sunday New York Times has an article by Benedict Carley on how Lotto Makes Sense, Even for Losers, that quotes Christine Reilly, executive director of the Institute for Research on Pathological Gambling and Related Disorders “It’s not just winning the money," she explains, "but anticipating winning the money that is exciting, and the two experiences are similar neurobiologically."

"This sense of power," writes Carley, "infuses the waiting period with purpose. And the hope of a huge payoff, however remote, is itself a source of pleasure." [See, mythology, and infantile regression above] Read it here.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Natural Order Restored - The Farwell is Toast

In a a dazzling display of raw political power and overwhelming self-deception, The Society for the Protection of Wealthy Developers, formerly known as the Commission on Chicago Landmarks, voted this morning to demolish the landmark Farwell Building on North Michigan and remount the surviving elements of its facade on a new structure.
Voting in favor the motion were Chairman David Mosena, John Baird, Lori Healey, Lisa Willis, Ernest C. Wong, Phyllis Ellin, Christopher R. Reed and Ben Weese. The sole commissioner not to drink the Kool-Aid and voting no was Edward I. Torrez. The other commissioners kept repeating the mantra of "This is not a precedent. This is not a precedent" as if trying to convince themselves that it could actually be true.

More to come

Kelleher to talk about Calatrava Spire on Monday - funding details emerge

In another addition to the March calendar, Garrett Kelleher, Executive Chairman of Shelbourne Development will be speaking at a Chicago Architecture Foundation program at 5:30 P.M. this coming Monday, March 12, about the Chicago Spire, the 2,000-foot-high tower, designed by architect Santiago Calatrava. For some reason, Kelleher shares billing with his lawyer, Tom Murphy, Shelbourne's General Counsel. The cost for the program is $10,00 - free for CAF members, and $5.00 for students with a valid ID. RSVP at 312/922.3432 x224.

Details are also emerging on how Kelleher will be funding the project. A January 28th article in the Irish Independent by Kevin Murphy (free subscription required) reports of the 124-story-high project, whose cost the Independent puts at €949 million, that "Anglo Irish Bank is funding it and Kelleher will own 100 per cent of the equity." While at a January community meeting Kelleher said, “The plan is to order cassions within weeks,” the Independent mentions a summer target for groundbreaking. The story describes the 46-year old Kelleher as a "shy" father of six and a devout Catholic. and tells of how he first visited the U.S. on a tennis scholarship, returning to Chicago in 1984 to make a living painting and renovating apartments as a launching pad into real estate development. Recent local reports say Kelleher has now re-established residence in Chicago.

Greg Lynn, plus Lifson and Samuelson at Unity Temple added events on March calendar

Architect Greg Lynn, seemingly inextricably linked to CAD and the Blob, will give the inaugural annual Richard Solomon Lectureship for Young Architects and Architectural Criticism, honoring the Graham Foundation's longtime director, who died in 2005. The lecture will take place 6:00 P.M. on March 28th in Fullerton Hall, under the auspices of the Art and Design Society of the Art Institute of Chicago.

Also added, at 2:00 P.M. on Saturday, March 31st, WBEZ's Edward Lifson will join Cultural Historian Tim Samuelson at Frank Lloyd Wright's Unity Temple in Oak Part for Rock the House, an exploration of "how great buildings are like one-of-a-kind instruments."

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Magic Hour Becomes Trump Tower

As Skidmore, Owings & Merrill's mega Trump International Hotel and Tower continues to grow, like Alice on mushrooms, bigger and bigger and bigger, until it seems about to devour everything around it, its humongous curtain wall evokes mixed feelings. The thing's crisp and professional, no doubt, but, truth to tell, in full sunlight, it looks a bit, well . . . tinny. Walking down State Street the other day, however, I found a moment when the Wabash facade actually looked rather beautiful.

Dusk flatters Trump Tower, softening the brittle hardness of the seemingly endless expanse of steely spandrels and hard glass, making them seem something more plastic and humane, almost Labanesque.

Monday, March 05, 2007

Hyde Park Arts Center studies Burnham Plan

The Hyde Park Arts Center is offering a six week series, on Wednesdays from 6:30 to 8:00 P.M. beginning March 21st, of group examinations of Daniel Burnham's 1909 Plan of Chicago. Discussion leaders from the Great Books Foundation will guide the group, to be limited to 16 people, through reading and discussing the text of the ground-breaking plan. The series is also co-sponsored by the Hyde Park Historical Society, and will take place at the HPAC, 5020 S. Cornell Avenue. To become one of the lucky 16 for this free series, email the HPHS's Jack Spicer.

March 23rd Deadline for Submissions for Emerging Visions Award

The competition is co-sponsored by the Chicago Architectural Club and Knoll International.

"The urban environment is constantly evolving and new visions are continuously emerging. This competition seeks to provide a forum for young designers to share their visions, inventions, and ideas. One submission per entrant. Submissions may be built, unbuilt, or theoretical." Awards will be presented March 29th in the Knoll showroom at the Merchandise Mart. "Entrants must live or work in the Chicagoland area." More information on the rules for the competition, and instructions for submissions, can be found here.

The awards have proven a good predicator of major emerging talent. Past winners include current CAC co-president Michael Wilkinson in 1998, Jeanne Gang and Mark Schendel of Studio/Gang in 2000, UrbanLab's Sarah Dunn and Martin Felsen in 2003, and, in the last 2005 competition, Tristan d'Estree Sterk.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Kerwin, Lee named AIA Fellows

Thomas P. Kerwin and Frank Christopher Lee are the only two Chicagoans among the list of 76 inductees into the American Institute of Architects College of Fellows this week. For those keeping score, this compares with eight from New York and L.A., seven from San Francisco, and three from Boston, Philadelphia and Denver. Also named for Central Illinois was Ron Budzinski of PSA Dewberry in Peoria.

Kerwin, managing partner at the Chicago office of Skidmore, Owings and Merrill, is one of the key leaders in Chicago's push to land the 2016 Olympics while Lee, of the firm Johnson & Lee, was recently named chief architect for the reconstruction of Adler & Sullivan's Pilgrim Baptist Church in Bronzeville, gutted in a January, 2006 fire.

Architectural Stackables - Koolhaas in Jersey

Via the AP comes word of Rem Koolhaas's latest project, a 52-story tower mixing condominiums, hotel, and artists' lofts, galleries and retail. "We are creating something slightly more memorable and slightly more energetic,'' Koolhaas is quoted as saying at the unveiling of the design. "What New Jersey lacks is some visible evidence of a new beginning.''

"Slightly" in this case is a pivot point for ironic understatement. 1111 First Street reminds me of the back of my closet, a seemingly random stacking of boxes, in the case of Koolhaas painstakingly engineered to create what looks to be three separate buildings piled perpendicular to each other, giving the visual impression of being perched so precariously that it looks like a single strong gust could topple the whole thing over.

It's a bravura expression, sure to stand out, but it makes me wonder whether Koolhaas is staking out a new uber-mannerism, based on outrageous gestures, increasingly tangential to program, and more about doing something most largely because you've just figured out how you can. Of course, in both Chicago and Seattle, Koolhaas created designs that inspired deep skepticism at their unveiling but ultimately proved enthralling - and programatically astute - when when we could finally encounter them in the flesh. We'll may have to wait for Jersey City to be built before we know whether Koolhaas is just coasting or still moving forward.