We are the hollow menAlready, the inscription had begun to be effaced by time, the loving gesture to create a place of healing, simple, open and eloquent, fresh air, stately trees, and beautiful plantings to ease illness's desolation, and nurture the convalescent.
We are the stuffed men
Headpiece filled with straw.
Now it's dust. All of it. Grahm Balkany of the Gropius in Chicago Coalition reported yesterday that the Friend Pavilion at Michael Reese Hospital, one of the small handful of buildings in Chicago co-designed by the great architect Walter Gropius, has been demolished.
And it's just the appetizer. There's still 28 more, an irreplaceable storehouse of International Style architecture, the sister to Mies van der Rohe's IIT campus. Watch them all die. Watch the wonderful trees be uprooted, the breathtaking landscaping trashed. Two structures saved as cheap Disney souvenirs, and one of the most historic, characterful places in Chicago ground into nothingness.
And for what? The Athletes' Village that was supposed to rise on the site is as dead as Chicago's failed Olympic bid. City officials talk about a new housing complex with affordable housing. There's no plan, no developer, no money.
So why the rush? Plain and simple: to end an argument. To destroy Michael Reese lest more people discover its quality and begin asking uncomfortable questions. Scorched earth as an expression of raw power. Is Paris Burning?
The Chicago of Berman and Hannah Friend is dead. It's now the city of the hollow men, and women. People who have run out of ideas, just as the mayor told us he had "nothing up his sleeve" for securing the city's future other than a mad Olympic circus. People who are selling off the city's future at bargain basement prices, just to get through the day. Who cry poor while diverting billions into corrupt TIF's that shower money on the connected few. People who destroy, just because they can.
Michael Reese: the new Block 37. Chicago: the new Detroit.