Saturday, October 31, 2009


Thursday, October 29, 2009

Flaming maples, bleached pavilions

After Sunday night on the El Día de los Muertos, the Burnham pavilions will close. The green of the maples will return in spring; the Zaha and the Ben, only in memory. (This spectacular photo courtesy our indefatigable correspondent Bob Johnson. Click on it to see a larger version)

So much for memory

We are the hollow men
We are the stuffed men
Leaning together
Headpiece filled with straw.
Already, 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.
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.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Have I Got a Deal for You: Beethoven 1-9, Haitink, LSO: $15.99

Not that there aren't other bargains. (the 4 Brahms symphonies, with Rattle and the BPO, for $16.00), but for a penny less, iTunes is now offering Bernard Haitink's recent Beethoven cycle with the London Symphony - all nine symphonies plus the Leonore #2 and Triple Concerto, for $15.99. How could anyone resist? Check it out here: Bernard Haitink & London Symphony Orchestra - Beethoven: Symphonies Nos. 1-9

Glass Aloft in revised designed for Three new River North Hotels

42nd ward Alderman Brendan Reilly on Tuesday sent out a link to a presentation with revised designs for the proposed 621 room complex of three new hotels to be built on the half-block in River North demarcated by Illinois, Clark, and Grand.

When compared to the earlier design, which we wrote about this past August, the elevations along Illinois Street and along a mid-block driveway are essentially unchanged. A major change has been made, however, in the design for the Aloft Hotel, at Grand and Clark, with a glass curtain wall replacing the previous windows set in a wall of precast brick. Here's the original Grand Avenue elevation:
and here's the revised version:
The vertical bracket that seemed a cheap rip-off of Jackie Koo's chartreuse lightning bolt on the Hotel Wit is gone, as are the brick pilasters with lighter insets that were reminiscent of the style of an old four-plus-one in Rogers Park. The stub of a curtain wall makes it kind of a pug, but the new brick wall design is much more attractive, and much more in harmony with the historic loft buildings in River North.

The change in the dominant Clark Street elevation is even more pronounced. Here's the original:
and here's the revised version:

Here, all the previous brick and insets are ditched for a glass curtain wall. The raised arcade along the roofline of the original design is now a slender glass cornice. This is certainly a more elegant solution.

The interesting thing is that the original two story lobby structure seems to have been left untouched. Here's the previous design:
And here's the revision: Against the curtain wall, that entrance structure now looks almost like a non sequitur. Not only does it have no visual relationship to the glass block behind it, it also retains that same bent bracket that mirrors a design element on the Grand Avenue elevation that now no longer exists. It's as if the workday whistle sounded and all the architects went home without really finishing their design.

This still isn't great architecture, but to me, it looks like a significant improvement. What do you think?

Monday, October 26, 2009

This Wednesday - Building the Burnham Pavilions, and the creation of Lake Point Tower

Still one more event for the October calendar that we missed. This Thursday, October 28, from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m., at the South Chase Promenade of Millennium Park, site of the two pavilions designed by Ben van Berkel UNStudio and Zaha Hadid Architects to commemorate the 100th anniversary of Daniel Burnham's Plan of Chicago, there'll be another of the Talks with the Burnham Pavilions Teams. An insider's look at their creation will be provided by two people deeply involved in the process - Julie Burros, Director of Cultural Planning for the City of Chicago, and Chris Rockey of Rockey Structures, LLC, the structural engineer for both pavilions.

And a reminder that earlier on Wednesday, at 12:15 p.m., in the John Buck lecture hall at the Chicago Architecture Foundation, 224 S. Michigan, there will be a great panel discussing Lake Point Tower: Back-story of an Icon - including the building's architect George Schipporeit, its developer William F. Hartnett, Jr., architectural historian Kevin Harrington, and architect Edward Windhorst, author of the excellent new book Lake Point Tower: A Design History.

October 31 deadline for schools to register for next Future City competition

October 31st is the deadline for schools to register to participate in the Chicago Regional of this year's Future City competition, to take place January 16, 2010 at UIC, where 7th and 8th graders will design future cities with simulation software, build scale models, write essays and give oral presentations on their city's design. This year's challenge, Providing An Affordable Living Space For People Who Have Lost Their Home Due to a Disaster, is about designing affordable housing while adhering to LEED standards. The Chicago Regional winning team travels to Washington, D.C. during Engineer's Week, February 15-17, 2010 for the national finals. Grand prize winners win a trip to Space Camp in Huntsville, Alabama. Second and third prize winners receive $5,000 and $2,000 scholarships for their schools’ technology programs.

As of Monday, there were 26 schools signed up for the Chicago Regional, with the North and Northwest suburbs as yet unrepresented. You can register your school by emailing Don Wittmer or on-line.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

I know everyone hates waiting for the elevator, but this is ridiculous . . .

On this Sunday's edition of CBS' The Amazing Race, contestants were freaking out at having to ride down a nine-story-high water slide in Dubai, into a pool filled with docile (?) sharks.
Pikers! Also on Sunday, up to 100 brave individuals chose to rappel down the 27-story-high facade of the Wit hotel at State and Lake, the new Jackie Koo design with the chartreuse lightning bolt that's fast becoming one of Chicago's liveliest new landmarks.
The "Skyline Plunge" was a fundraiser for the Respiratory Health Association of Metropolitan Chicago. Each plunger - keep the toilet jokes to yourself, please - ponied up a $150 registration fee and was committed to raising at least $1,000 in pledges, for an overall take for the day projected to be in excess of $100,000.

Next up will be a special fundraiser where brave spelunkers commit themselves to raising $10,000 each just to see whether there's any bottom to the black hole of the Block 37 Superstation.

Prudential2 punches hole in night sky

. . . then moves to the side and stares straight ahead to try to look innocent.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Walk-in slots still available for this Saturday's one-time only CAF Emerging Chicago tour

If you're catching up with this blog late tonight or early tomorrow, a quick note that we're told there are still a few walk-in slots available for the Chicago Architecture Foundation's Emerging Chicago tour, which will take place only once, Saturday, October 24th, beginning at 10:30 a.m., and offer a rare look at such exceptional new Chicago architecture as Farr Associates' Yarnell Residence, Studio Gang's Brick Weave House, and Brininstool+Lynch's Claremot House, and more. Tickets are $45.00 for this four-hour tour. You can read more and reserve on-line here.

Mickey One: smoke and flame at Marina City

About a week ago, Cecil Adams The Straight Dope Chicago tackled why so few movies were filmed in Chicago during the reign of Richard J. Daley in the 60's and 70's. Adams cited the then Chicago mayor's antipathy to how productions such as the popular The Untouchables television series reinforced Al Capone gangster stereotypes. Still a few films slipped by, most prominently Haskell Wexler's extraordinary Medium Cool, filmed in the city during the tumultuous 1968 Democratic convention (although, ironically, Wexler finished up shooting just before the night riot at the Hilton.)

A far lesser known exception is 1965's Mickey One, starring a very young Warren Beatty as a mediocre comic, on the run from Detroit mobsters, hiding out in Chicago. It was an early film by Arthur Penn, who had come out of television drama to direct such films as The Miracle Worker. In the year before Mickey One, Penn had been fired by Burt Lancaster (who had also been the force behind his hiring) as the director of The Train, and had just directed a Broadway flop that closed after only two performances.

Penn made extensive use of Chicago locations - the dark side - from auto graveyards, to skid rows, back alleys and strip clubs. Yet, as shot by famed cinematographer Ghislain Cloquet , whose work includes some of the most seminal works of a mad mix of directors from Jacques Becker, to Francois Traffaut, to Robert Bresson, Roman Polanski and Woody Allen, there's a terrible beauty in the images. Cloquet captures the city with an extraordinarily vivid sense of place and time, using locations from the old Gate of Horn nightclub, to the briefly reborn Chez Paree. Here and there you'll notice a surviving building - the Mariano Park Pavilion at 1031 North State, designed in 1895 by Birch Burdette Long, one of Frank Lloyd Wright's first associates, the low building restaurant at the northwest corner of Dearborn and Chicago, the Woods theater on Randolph.
The most striking sequence, however, is one in the now lost skating rink of Marina City, where an assembled audience watches a rube-goldberg like construction created by a mysterious artist played by Kamatari Fujiwara, a famous Japanese actor who was one of Akira Kurasawa's stock company of players, from Ikiru to Kagemusha. Fujiwara's character is directed by Hiller to be, in the words of Village Voice critic J. Hoberman, "a cosmically annoying mime." He pushes a button and his Jean Tinguely inspired kinetic sculpture comes to life - rotating wheels, conveyor belts, gears, pulleys, beams banging at the keys of a piano.
And then, on cue, it starts to self-destruct, to the delight of the artist and the onlookers, until the fire and smoke bring out the Chicago Fire Department, which puts out the blaze to the jeers of the audience and the despair of the artist, with what seems to be a billion cubic meters of foam. How all that got past Mayor Daley I can scarcely imagine. (You can see the sequence on the excellent Marina City Online website here.)
Penn's next film would be a great one, the sensational Bonnie and Clyde. A Bonnie, Mickey's not - I certainly don't want to oversell it. It's pretentiously Kafkaky and often a bit clumsy, but there's great turns by people like Jeff Corey, Franchot Tone and Hurd Hatfield, as an urbane, vaguely menacing night club operator whose Marina City apartment we get to see, along with the original design of the elevator foyers. His all-white office (do you think he knew the young Renzo Piano?) is entered through a door like an airlock, and his monologue on organic foods plays as both amazingly prophetic and creepily satiric.

Mickey One is an amiably paranoid, shaggy dog of a movie that still manages to be entertaining and arresting. And for those of us who love it, there's all those images of Chicago that make you feel you've time-travelled back four decades. Although it's popped up on TCM, Mickey One is not available on video, but you can watch the entire film, complete with short, ten second commercials every reel or so, on Sony/Columbia's Crackle website here. See how many locations you can identify.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Demolition to begin this week on Gropius buildings at Michael Reese

The Sun-Times media group is reporting that demolition of the buildings on the former Michael Reese hospital site previously marked for the Athletes Village for the 2016 Olympics will begin this week. The city has now added the Singer Pavilion, one of many buildings on the campus co-designed by architect Walter Gropius, to the original 1905 hospital building as the only two structures that are to be saved. However, the city is also leaving open the option of backing out of the commitment to save Singer by the time the request for proposal process is finalized.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Chicago Streetscene: Lost in the Funhouse

Go Play on the Stairs!

A neat promotion from Volkswagen in which a Swedish subway stair was covered with a continuous keyboard just like the one in the movie Big, lowest notes at the bottom, highest at the top, so you can pop out your own composition on the way, or just immerse yourself in the melody of compositions for piano, two dozen feet. John Cage would have loved it. The claim is that it's cut use of the adjacent escalator 66%. Thanks to Andy Spyrison for posting this on Facebook, and to The Fun, where Volkswagen has also posted a streetside bottle collector that lights up like a pinball machine, and a park trash bin that, when fed, makes it sound as if your trash were falling all the way down to somewhere near the center of the earth. Now that's entertainment.

Monday, October 19, 2009

What's black and white and Jung all over?

Today marked the arrival of The Red Book, Carl Jung's long secreted artifact of his journey into the dark night of the soul.

It came in a very big box (cat not included) . . .
That held another, slightly smaller box . . .
That coughed up the actual book, hermetically sealed in a thin plastic skin . . .
and the final object inside . . .
and, yes, it's really, really red.
as red as blood, as red as passion, as red as my bloodshot eyes by the time I finish it. If I disappear for the next month or two, you now know why.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

On it's 50th anniversary, Hitchcock's North by Northwest reborn

The Chicago International Film Festival on Sunday screened a new print of a newly restored Alfred Hitchcock masterpiece, 1959's North by Northwest, which is not only one of the director's best, but in the minds of many, one of the most entertaining films ever made, a witty travelogue with menace, suspense and sex that starts in midtown Manhattan and ends atop Mount Rushmore, with intermediate stops in Chicago and a now immortal Indiana cornfield. The perfect cast included Cary Grant as an ad executive mistaken for a spy, James Mason as the suave villain, with a darkly ominous Martin Landau in his first major screen role as his henchman, and Eva Marie Saint as, Grace Kelly notwithstanding, the sexiest and most intelligent of Hitchcock's blond femme fatales. The film had it's world premiere at Chicago's United Artists theater, leveled to create Block 37.
The restoration involved an 8K scan of the original VistaVision elements. While the film was nowhere in as bad a shape as Hitchcock's 1958 Vertigo, meticulously restored by Robert Harris in 1996, all the prints I've seen have had a bad case of the fuzzies, colors bleeding at the edges.

This new version was remastered for a November 3rd video re-issue that will make NbN the first Hitchcock film to be released on Blu-Ray. Seen in the theater, the images are, with some exceptions, razor sharp, giving new weight to interplay of the characters and the backdrops in which they move, and revealing details perhaps never before seen, like the buildings at the far horizon of that Indiana cornfield. More to the point, you can't really experience NbN without seeing it on the big screen. So much of the film, when you come right down to it, is about people who fall into things much larger than themselves, expressed symbolically in such oversized settings as the United Nations, train stations teeming with people - any one of them who could be the one to recognize Cary Grant and betray him to the police - in New York (Grand Central) and Chicago (the late LaSalle), as well as the aforementioned festival of giant President heads in South Dakota. On a small screen, even a 50 inch HDTV, you simply don't get the same visceral sense of existential drama.
No one from Warner Brothers' technical team was at the Chicago Film Festival screening, but there was Hitchcock historian and biographer John Russel Taylor and, most importantly, Martin Landau who, in this clip from Sunday, discusses how he got the role:

Landau also talked about how he arrived at his conception of his character of Leonard. "When I read the script," he said on Sunday, "coming from the Actors Studio, I said this character wants to get rid of Eva Marie Saint with such a vengeance that it would be interesting if he were gay. Now we shot it 51 years ago, and I choose to do that. I thought it would be very subtle and Hitch liked it, obviously, because he didn't tell me not to do it, he encouraged me. And by saying encouragement, I'd ask him once in a while, because he would whisper something to Cary Grant or James or Eva Marie and he'd walk past me. So, coming from the theater, I asked him, "Is there anything you want to tell me?" "Martin, I'll only tell you if I don't like what you're doing."

Screenwriter Ernest Lehman actually picked up on Landau's concept after he watched the early filming, and added a famous line from late in the film when James Mason asks Landau's Leonard for the source of his suspicions about Saint's character, Eve Kendall. "Call it my women's intuition, if you will," says Leonard, "but I've never trusted neatness." James Mason dismisses Leonard's newly revealed crush on his boss. "Why Leonard, I do believe you're jealous! I'm actually very flattered." Pretty daring for 1959. If it were a film about being gay I'm sure it would never have passed the censors. Being just another Hitchcock potboiler probably gave it cover.

We usually think of films like War of the Worlds or X-Men when we think of special effects, but in his films, Hitchcock often showed an advanced mastery of the art. In NbN, this included the incredible, "trapped insect" shot, from the top of the UN Building, which was actually a painting on glass, showing Cary Grant as a small spec making his escape far below, to the climatic chase on a Mount Rushmore entirely reconstructed, complete with footholds that apparently don't exist on the real version, on MGM soundstages.

Add in Robert Burk's photography, the great Saul Bass title sequence, and another iconic score by Bernard Hermann, and you have one of greatest films of all time. Taylor told a story of how critics at the French film journal Positif. taking a cue from the way the title Northwest by Northwest cribs on a line from Hamlet, actually concluded the film was a retelling of Hamlet, with Jessie Royce Landis as Gertrude, etc. But NbN is no Shakespeare retread, nor was it ever meant to be. It's all American (with a British accent, to be sure), with a lot of very interesting ideas going on beneath it's shimmering surface.

Sunday was the only showing at the Chicago International Film Festival, which runs through October 22, but here's hoping there'll be a local theatrical booking to let people see this amazing film the way it was meant to be experienced.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Bates, Bad granite, Beasts Mythical, a Big Balloon, and more - news notes from all over

Two more events for the October calendar - And in this corner, going up against Jason Payne at UIC and Christian Veddeler at the AIC, Roderick Bates will being talking about the work of his firm, Kieran Timberlake, at Archeworks, Monday, October 19 at 6:00 p.m. Then on Saturday, October 24th the Pleasant Home Foundation will offer a rare interior tour of Joseph Lyman Silsbee's May Chapel at Rosehill Cemetary, with a 10:00 a.m. tour of the historic cemetery.

Legends of the Fall(ing Granite) - following up on a story we broke about a month ago with the help of our indefatigable correspondent Bob Johnson, Blair Kamin had a report on how the 1,000 granite panels that make up the arcades and diminishing monoliths at Helmut Jahn's 1985 Thompson Center have come to be considered "attachedly challenged" and will all be removed, at a cost of a cool million, to avoid the prospect of falling panels making pancakes of passing pedestrians. According to the Sun-Times' David Roeder, the work will begin by the end of the month and take eight weeks, with no word yet of when or with what the panels will be replaced with, or how much that will cost.

Calatrava and the Unicorn
- also on the Blair Kamin front from last Friday, an interview with Santiago Calatrava in which the architect speculated that Chicago Spire might still get built. Then again, this week Crain's Chicago Business reported that the Spire's developer Shelbourne Development, is about to be evicted from its $10 million sales center in the NBC Tower, where it hasn't paid rent since April. "My personal wish is that is not dead," was Calatrava's distinctive phrasing. My personal wish is that my intense personal relationship with Elīna Garanča is not dead, either, but, in both cases, I wouldn't recommend placing any big bets on it.

401-(k)0'ed - Time Magazine has a report on another toxic gift of the Reagan era, the 401(k), which encouraged large corporations to dump pensions for their employees, and the big financial firms to fleece them on the way out, leaving them holding the bag after the financial collapse. The average 401(k) balance in 1998: $47,000; by the end of 2008, $45,519. Inflation-adjusted, you're down 26%. Five-year return: - 0.5%. You think the Social Security crunch is scary? Wait until you start reading about the looming 401(k) washout, when millions of Americans find themselves having exhausted their unexpectedly diminished savings while still having decades left to live.

And now for something completely different.
In honor of Falcon(!) Heene, a really big balloon:

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Chicago Streetscene: An Infinity of Bollards

More Mas, please. Stylish and informative Mas Context explores Work and the urban environment

The story goes that when Pope John XXIII was asked by a reporter how many people worked at the Vatican, he wryly replied, "About half of them."

I'm not quite sure what that has to do with anything, but Iker Gil of Mas Studio and his band of contributors have just brought out the latest version of Mas Context, an on-line quarterly journal on "issues that affect urban context." The Fall issue is a collection of eight essays that . . .
. . . explores how WORK is changing the landscape of our environment and determining the decisions that are affecting our cities. WORK diagrams economy, analyzes workplaces, studies appropriation of public space, interviews entrepreneurs, and portraits isolation.
It's not by accident that one of Andreas Larsson's photographs in Mas Context's Empty shows a chair holding a copy of S.M.L.XL, the iconic collaboration between architect Rem Koolhaas and graphic designer and futurist Bruce Mau. Mas Context captures that book's combination of inquiry and eye-catching graphics, leading off with Work Review, a snappily charted portrait in statistics of work worldwide.
The United States has a workforce of 154 million, Indian, 523 million, China 807 million. Overall, the world's workforce is put at about 3.2 billion, including 158,000,000 children aged 5 to 14. Koreans work an average of 2,316 hours a year; Americans 1,798. In 1968, there were 470 strikes and lockouts in the United States; in 2008, 15. Perhaps not coincidentally, in 2008, U.S. workers gave back $63 billion in vacation days.
Maria Moreno's Public Works: Reinventing Street Vending in Global Mexico City zeroes in on one of the poster children of the new global economy. Santa Fe, Mexico, just outside Mexico City. Not long ago, it was made up mostly of sand mines and a massive garbage dump, the principal population 2000 garbage pickers. What better place to convert to a home for transnational companies?

The new Santa Fe has 10,000 residents and 100,000 workers. No new urbanism here, just a Corbusian hellhole, shorn of the master's great parks and design genius: skyscrapers, a shopping mall, few pedestrian crossings, almost nothing within walking distance. The only vitality comes from a small guerrilla army of street vendors, creating the only the true urbanism in this arid landscape when the usually deserted streets fill with office workers fleeing their cubicles to buy snacks and hot lunches sold out of the trunks of cars, Maxwell Street redux, where the vendors, probably the only poor people still allowed in Santa Fe, will also take your order on their cell phones.
Elsewhere, David Schalliol's Isolated Buildings Study offers a photoessay on the last buildings standing in decaying order environments.
Iker Gil interviews Jessica Lybeck, co-founder of the layoff website, a sort of Facebook for the laid-off, where they can advance their job search and forge bonds by creating a profile, chronicling the story of their layoff, and talking about their talents, job-seeking adventures, and ambitions.

In Farmer's Work architect Kathryn Clarke Albright looks at how farming and the city. Agricultural labor efficiency increased from 27.5 acres per worker in 1890 to 740 acres in 1990, but now the number of small farms is increasing by 2% a year, with an emphasis on organic farming and farmers markets, which have exploded in number from 1755 in 1994 to unofficial 4800 in 2009.

And there's more where that come from, including two videos available on the website. Work is a great read or you can just look at it for the pictures. The entire edition can be downloaded, free, in pdf form, here.

The next Mas Context promises a issue on Living with Winter. It's due out in December, but, boy, we could really use the help right now.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

FOA's Farshid Moussavi, ACADIA '09, Lamda Ely's Burnham, Ross Barney, ARUP's Hamilton at CAC - Still MORE October events

It's getting to the point where you can exhaust yourself just reading about all the incredible architecture-related events going on in Chicago, and, believe it or not we've just added a bunch more to the October calendar.

Farshid Moussavi - Wednesday, October 21, 6:30 p.m., Fullerton Hall of the Art Institute. One half of the founding partner team of Foreign Office Architects, Moussavi's lecture: The Function of Form, shares the same name as her upcoming book, to be published in November. It's a follow-up volume to her 2006 The Function of Ornament, in which she talks about the twin towers of Bertrand Goldberg's Marina City as "fluted columns", apparently a: columns without capitals b: inverted columns, or c: columns with the world's tallest capitals. Just what I need: another two books added to my definitely-have-to-read pile. (Which, come to think of it, is increasingly beginning to resemble the illustration at the far right.)

ACADIA 09: reForm()
- October 19 through the 25th, various locations. It's not enough that we have the Council on Tall Building and Urban Habitat's extraordinary conference, Evolution of the Skyscraper, taking place at IIT on the 23rd and the 24th, but at the same time Chicago is hosting the 2009 conference of the Association for Computer Aided Design in Architecture.

We've already listed the conferences "public keynote lectures" - Herzog & de Meuron's Kai Strelkhe on the 22nd and Robert Aish on the 23rd (there's also an October 24th talk, Wired for War, by Peter W. Singer), but the full seven days offers up three days of workshops and four days of lectures by a battalion of Illuminati, such as William Baker, Julie Flohr and Neri Oxman, who promises to offer up a talk on tiling methods and their alternatives.

Although the names of the papers are often so clinical - Cultural Performance in robotic timber construction, Multiperformative Efficient Systems (MES) Toward System Thinking - that you might be forgiven for thinking that these are people unable - or uninterested - in talking to anyone but themselves, when you read the actual descriptions for the talks, you can tell this will be a fascinating event. Brady Peters' paper, for example, Parametric Acoustic Surfaces,is actually about how most architects ignore the importance of acoustics in any building that isn't a concert hall, and how acoustic qualities can be quantified and made part of a building's digital design and finished performance no less than a window, wall or column.

Odds are if you're in the target audience for this event, you knew about it long ago, but, if not, and if you've got deep pockets or a large expense account, there's amazing stuff here.

Burnham's Plan of Chicago: History or Inspiration
- October 23rd, Lamba Alpha International Ely Chapter offers up a morning symposium with a panel that includes Carol Coletta, Howard Decker, David Roeder and others.

5 Concepts: Envisioning the Bloomingdale - October 27th, the Chicago Architectural Club offers up an event at the i-Space Gallery with architect Carol Ross Barney and Nancy Hamilton of ARUP, who, along with landscape architect Michael Van Valkenburgh, have been selected by the City of Chicago as the design team for the long-gestating Bloomingdale Trail, the abandoned raised railway that many see as Chicago's answer to New York's High Line. The event is a reception for the publication of CAC's Journal #14.

Make no Medium-Sized Plans - WORKac - October 29th at Madlener house, a presentation by the New York based firm in conjunction with the Graham Foundation's new exhibition, ACTIONS: What You Can Do With the City.

Yes, check out the full October calendar here, and watch that your head doesn't explode from contemplating all of the often competing possibilities.