Saturday, March 31, 2012

Drawing: Not Dead - Stephen Wierzbowski's Monument: Sketch Studies of Great Architecture in Europe and America opens tonight at Framing Mode Gallery

Le Corbusier and Iannis Xenakis; Monastère du Sainte Marie de La Tourette; Éveux, near Lyon, FR; 09/83; charcoal pencil on paper; 17" x 12 1/2
When Michael Graves was in Chicago to pick up the Driehaus Award last Saturday, this is one of the things he wanted to talk about . . .
I do want to open the book on drawing.  I don't care if you don't draw well.  In fact, I tend to mistrust you if you draw really well . . . Piranesi drew the most marvelous analytical drawings.  He would make drawings that would teach architects what the opus reticulatum was, if they didn't know.   Why the Romans built that way.  He would reveal the wall, of course, simply by drawing the ruins.  In drawing the ruins, he would draw the layers of construction.  He made those analytical drawings to remember, himself.  They were for him.  No, don't draw for your mother-in-law.  Draw for yourself.  Draw in a way that then, twenty years from now, you can pick it up in your sketchbook, and look at it.  You're the only the one who sees it.  Nobody else has to look at your diary.  And [see again] what you were thinking about.

You can't draw without your brain.  And you must do it all the time.  You get rusty.  It was one of the most magical and marvelous acts, filled with passion, to get to draw.  I don't care whether one draws well or not, but just to get the ideas down.  LeCorbusier said you have to draw to remember. 
image: Arch de Triomphe de Carrousel, Paris FR
May 1983, ink on paper, 10.25×14.5in
 This evening, Saturday March 31s marks the opening of a new exhibition, Monument: Sketch Studies of Great Architecture in Europe and America, a collection of 68 travel sketches from Europe and America by Chicago architect Stephen Wierzbowski.  It's at The Framing Mode and Gallery, 1526 South Wabash.  Tonight's opening reception is from 6:00 to 10:00 p.m.
My response to the question asked at the Yale Symposium, Is Drawing Dead?,  includes analytic and exploratory sketches of Great Architecture.
The exhibition runs through May 12th.  Gallery hours are 11:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m., Tuesday through Thursday, 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Friday and Saturday. 

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Of timelessness and kitchen timers (and really bad video): Michael Graves in Chicago

As you can see from the above video, done in my usual seasick-on-a-listing-ship style, last Saturday, March 24th, Dean of the Notre Dame School of Architecture Michael Lykoudis and Richard Driehaus presented architect and designer Michael Graves the 2012 Richard H. Driehaus Prize honoring "lifetime contributions to traditional, classical, and sustainable architecture and urbanism in the modern world."
Michael Lykoudis
Although the event at times veered into a ritualistic Counter-Reformation excoriation of the errancy of modernism - held appropriately in Benjamin Marshall's classically informed John B. Murphy Auditorium - meets a general  these-kids-today, let-me-tell-you gripe session, there was both uncynical celebration and a cogent expression of the classicist viewpoint.
Michael Graves, Michael Lykoudis, Richard Driehaus
WTTW's Geoffrey Baer hosted a panel discussion with Graves, author Elizabeth Barlow Rogers, awarded at Saturday's ceremony the 2012 Henry Hope Reed Award, given "to an individual working outside the practice of architecture who has supported the cultivation of the traditional city, its architecture and art through writing, planning or promotion,"  and New Yorker architectural critic Paul Goldberger
Andrés Duany and audience
In introducing Michael Graves, architect and planner Andrés Duany talked about the reaction when Graves's design was unveiled for the Portland Building , the calling card for the Post Modernist movement . . . 

photograph: Steve Morgan, Wikipedia
. . . the fury of the architects of Portland, the kind of attack.  The young don't know and the old sometimes forget the courage that it took to break the certainties, and what it was like to be met with opposition, with innuendo, and with silence.  And he has always been extraordinarily courageous all his life in what I now understand from Vincent Scully is the great open mindedness that Post Modernism represents.  He is a hero in that regard.
The current teachers, the teachers now, lead the students - to themselves.  "Be like me."  Which is alright, if you've done it 10,000 times, but some of the teachers I know are not even in their 30's.  They're saying "Be like me."  And it's like the children leading children.  It's absolutely astounding.  And so the kids pick up the most awful habits of ego and very, very partial knowledge.  "If I can just get that one gimmick published, which made my teacher famous, there I shall also be.". . . The tragedy is that they're never taught how to learn.  What Michael did was not tell us what he did. He taught us what he had learned,  what he had learned from others.
Graves, himself, talked about a student who was having problems with a project for a residence that used the open or free plan, setting the master bedroom next to the living room, placing kids listening to the radio against parents trying to sleep.   "I have no way to give them acoustical closure," Graves said the student told him in despair.  "The space just couldn't handle it, nor could my plan."
I said, "Did you ever try making a room?" You have to know that those were blasphemous words.  You could not make a room.  You had to make space.

Both Duany and Graves talked about the Stockholm Public Library by Gunnar Asplund as a prime example of the continuity of history into contemporary architecture, where you rise up into the great reading room.  "You go through an Egyptian door," said Graves, "as if that's the beginning of civilization.  You go past a Greek rail.  And finally up into a Roman room."

Graves also talked about having just visited, for the first time, Renzo Piano's Modern Wing at the Art Institute of Chicago.
I am struck by the difference in the way he would do something and some of us do something of like size.  Not that it's a bad building.  It's simply a building without a soul.  I took that long walk along the passage that lets on to the galleries on the side and I thought, it's empty. There's only a rather odd piece of sculpture of Hamid Karzai.  . . .  I thought that in the old days, this would have been the hall of armor.     We don't do that anymore.   I suppose there's no reason for them to build the Modern Wing again, another addition, because they have this to fill up now. 
Don't take that as negative criticism, folks.. . .  Think of that long corridor at the Art Institute and the one at the Metropolitan Museum in New York.  The difference, the way clerestory light then infuses the space and gives particularity to that below it is something we all learned from lessons of other people.
 What I missed at the Art Institute . . . There wasn't the moment when light came in at a specific place.  Everything was general . . . The whole thing is the window.  That's like saying the whole thing is a wall.  There are good walls and bad walls, but most good walls have windows in them.  And there are specific places relevant to your body drawing your body next to the window  In Renzo's building, it starts at your feet, and ends at the slab above.  It starts at the wall and ends at the wall. ...... It isn't right.  It somehow should have been joyous, and he thought by making all that light, it would be joyous. And I'm sure people love it.  Some people really, really must love it.  Because it makes no mistakes.  That is one way of doing it.  And it isn't wrong.  It just could be righter.
There was also discussion of Grave's designs of household products, with Baer bringing a copy of the famous teakettle Graves designed for Target, and Goldberger lauding the way Graves reimagined those products in a "slightly cartoon-like but very affectionate way, and also very user-friendly, to say that the utilitarian kitchen object can also be emotionally engaging and connect us to a larger tradition is the message I think those pieces have."

My interest piqued by Grave's discussion of design, I went over to Bloomingdales to compare kitchen timers.  To the left is the DesignWright timer made for Joseph Joseph ($13.99), in the middle the Michael Graves timer designed for Alessi ($40.00).  To the right is the ladybug timer from Kikkerland that I picked up for my mom for about $8.00 at Bed, Bath and Beyond.  The Graves Alessi timer - much bigger than the Joseph Joseph - is charming, but I wound up buying the Joseph Joseph and not just because I'm cheap.

I suppose you could say that, compared to the Graves, there's a learning curve for the hockey puck, but it's pretty short.  You wind it up by turning the top, which then displays the time it's set for.  With all due respect to Michael Graves, it's no more difficult to tell top from the bottom than in Grave's design.  You master the difference the moment you take it out the box.  With two screws and the designer's name and small text stamped in plastic, the bottom proclaims its underside status clearly.

And you don't necessarily have to look down at the top to read it.   Since it's round, you can easily prop it up to see it from a distance, and because the time being counted is represented in white as a diminishing visual fraction of a round clockface, you have a good idea how much time is left even if you're not close enough to read the numbers.  The only real flaw I found is that the bell isn't very loud.  Graves described the design as clever, which wasn't meant as a complement.

Actually, when I asked the extremely gracious sales assistant at Bloomingdale's which timer she usually    recommends when asked, she said it was neither the Graves or the Joseph Joseph, but a simple digital timer with big digital numbers: more than a little homely and completely unfashionable, but easy to read and easy to operate.

I get a little different message than Graves does from his story about Armani and Joseph Joseph.  There's a difference between a designer phone - someone like Giorgio Armani adding another trinket to his branded universe - and a phone whose design is thought completely afresh by a genius like Jonathan Ive.  Real design is not an applique, but an essence.  I get the impression that in Grave's view, the original Blackberry smart phone would be better because it was traditionalist.  It had a keyboard just like a typewriter, and it's basic profile was not unfamiliar.  But it was more of a graft than a synthesis.  The keys were teeny tiny, the display small.

Enter the iPhone, which actually took the time to reconsider what a smart phone was and could be.  The mechanical buttons were replaced by a touchscreen, which could, in turn, be much larger than that of a Blackberry.  Like a good Beaux Arts plan, there was an easily understandable path back and forth through its increasing number of functions.  It replaced the traditional contagion of drop-down menus with the swipe and a single button.  When the iPhone first came out, there was no shortage of analysts who were sure it would be a failure, because it was different.  Yet it triumphed, because it was better.  Not as uplifting as timer shaped like a ladybug, maybe, but close.

Bad Buildings We Love: 530 North Lake Shore Drive

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530 North Lake Shore Drive,

Monday, March 26, 2012

That Mies - He's So Colorful!

Crown Hall meets Unité d'Habitation.  Google Australia gets the jump on Mies van der Rohe's 126th birthday, Tuesday, March 27th, and gives the master a chance to see how a little color might have spiced things up.  (thanks to Edward Lifson for the heads up.)

("Mies, Mies, Mies," says the real estate agent as she walks through Crown Hall.  "You know we all adore you, but let's face facts, this is grim.  Grim! I went to a funeral and there were more giggles.  Black - don't get me wrong - always in fashion, always tres elegante.  But less is more, if you know what I mean - where have I heard that before?  Well, of course, you told me.  And who could argue?  But just between us, is there anything you can't add improve with that extra bit of pop! - a pinch of orchid here, a dash of coral there, and maybe a little splash of Marimekko to give all that banker's charcoal the warm and fuzzies?")

And, of course, Tuesday night at Crown Hall,  the Mies van der Rohe Society is throwing its usual birthday bash, for which registration is now closed.

If you forgot to get your tickets or can't get in, there's always our Mies van der Rohe Architect's Page, with links to articles, books, videos and photographs on the work and legacy of the pride of Aachen.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Scotland gets it's 100-foot-high Kelpies - what animal should Chicago supersize?

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Glascow-based sculptor Andy Scott has been working on the project since at least 2008, two nearly 100-foot-high horse head sculptures, mosaics of interconnected plates of steel designed to resist corrosion, to be erected by the River Carron in Scotland to become the visual icons of a new 740 acre park called The Helix being created on underused land between Falkirk and Grangemouth. Below, from Scott's website, is the artist with two of his models.

The Kelpies, as the sculpture is called, refers to the mythical beast said to haunt Scottish waterways, shifting between spirit and flesh, luring children to ride on the adhesive-like surface of its back, only to then plunge to the bottom of the river to drown them and eat their hearts and livers.  Not exactly a tourist-magnet tale, especially when you consider that one story says the Kelpies came into existence to avenge man's desecration of the land.  Falkirk was a heavy-duty manufacturing center during the Industrial Revolution, and the River Carron, itself, was the site of a major oil spill in 2009.  A 2007 film, The Water Horse, made the tale more family-friendly, but the pic pretty much did to Columbia Pictures what The Kelpies were said to do small children, drowning the studio's investment in anemic box office.

Kelpies were also said to sometime take the form of beautiful women, luring artists into another excuse to paint naked babes and call it high culture.
The Kelpie, by Herbert James Draper
But I digress . . . .

The Kelpies are to be erected near the 115 feet in diameter Falkirk Wheel, a spectacular boat lift completed in 2002 to replace a series of 11 separate locks that connected two waterways nearly 80 feet apart in level.  At one point it was mentioned that The Kelpies would actually move back and forth as if they were raising or lowering the wheel, but I'm not sure if the animation has survived the final cut. Andy Scott first realized The Kelpies as 10-foot-high maquettes that were placed first at the Falkirk Wheel, and later Edinburgh airport.
You can view a great video of Scott fabricating the maquettes and listing what went into them (954 meters of flatbar, 240 meters of rebar, 2 ten millimeter thick steel plates . . . 9,000 cuts on the guillotine, 186 cups of tea . . . ) here.

On Thursday, it was announced that Nicol Russell Studios have won a global competition to design the £41 million Helix Project (£25 to come from the British Lottery's "Living Landmarks" fund), including a visitors centre and public spaces within the massive horse heads.  Visitors will be able to go up to a viewing platform that will allow them to look through the horse's eyes out over the Forth valley.  Unless it drags them off to drown them in the canal first.
Which brings us to the question:  Why doesn't Chicago have any supersized animals? (The Picasso excepted.)  What would be the most appropriate manifestation of our culture and character?  A giant bunny?  A coyote returned from the wild?  A massive squirrel with a Thomas Heatherwick tail?  A 1,000xlife-size pigeon pooping colorful disinfectant blobs into Bubbly Creek twice every hour?

Back in 2005, for the Stanley Tigerman project Visionary Chicago Architecture, Joe Valerio proposed a Musee de L'eau, positioned at a replacement set of locks where the Chicago River meets the lake. 
If not a Musee, could we have Richard Hunt create a pair of giant Asian Carp to stand at the Chicago river locks?  If the locks are closed, as has been proposed, could we animate the carp sculptures to devour any vessel reckless enough to try to enter now hermetically sealed Lake Michigan?

The no-nonsense, less-is-more character of Chicago architectural history would appear to argue against anthropomorphism in construction, but are we denying ourselves?  Would Chicago ever had become Chicago without the horse?  Or, more to the point, the hog? Animals continue to hold a elemental power over us, representing the Dionysic power of our primeval selves.  Is it time to bring that animal out into the open, into Chicago's built environment?

Friday, March 23, 2012

Michael Graves receives 2012 Driehaus Award at public ceremony Saturday

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We wrote Thursday about the new documentary on architect and designer Michael Graves, shown above with narrator Geoffrey Baer.  It's being rebroadcast Friday at 8:30 p.m., Saturday at 11:30 p.m.

This Saturday, March 24th, Graves will be presented the 2012 Richard H. Driehaus Award, which has gone to so many retro-classicists as Quinlan Terry and Leon Krier that the jury citation had to explain how Graves actually fits in with what Louis Sullivan once came close to calling the Roman toga brigade: The jury selected Michael Graves as the 2012 Driehaus Laureate with the recognition that his work can often appear to diverge from what many people would define as "traditional" architecture. 
The Driehaus Prize was not created to honor replication, however, but creativity: to stand as proof that all architecture relies to some extent on the past, and that a deep understanding of the past can only enrich the creative process. While Graves may be less literal in his interpretation of history than some Driehaus Laureates, classicism informs every design decision he makes. He has used his knowledge of the past, and his love of classical ideas and principles, in all of his work, from campuses to office buildings to houses to household objects. He has instilled his respect for the past in two generations of architecture students, and he has done the same for the countless people who have used his remarkable works of product design, which like his buildings are brilliant combinations of tradition and imagination. 
And I think the jury got it right.

What sets Graves apart from the necromancers who think the apogee of human development was the time of the Roman dictatorships and the monumental architecture it spawned, Graves' architecture carries the spirit of classical architecture forward, not with tracing paper, but to mediate with the present through allusion and poetry.

Photograph courtesy Michael Graves and Associates
The most radical element of the work of Michael Graves may not even its classical dynamic, but his identity as a colorist. From his beginning as one of the members of The New York Five, a group of architects also known as "The Whites" at least in part because of a shared Henry Ford-like aesthetic in which you could get a building in any color as long as there wasn't any, Graves, when we came into his own, moved far away from raw, white-boned architecture. From the pink, brown and sea green of the 1982 Portland Building onward, Graves developed a highly individual palette that has continued to evolve.  Like Mies with modernism, Graves set the stage for Post Modernism with a distinct voice and a mastery that few of those who followed were able to equal.

If the continuum of modernism continues to be lightness and transparency, Graves's best designs have presented us with a vibrant dialectic of the solid and the grounded, of buildings not so much interested in "almost disappearing" as in finding new equilibrium's between form, color and surface.

I've always had to be taken kicking and screaming beyond my prejudices.  I hated Frank Lloyd Wright because I loved Louis Sullivan.  I hated Mies because I loved John Wellborn Root.  But give it enough time, and quality can't be denied.  Today I love them all.

photograph: Steve Morgan, Wikipedia
When I first read about the Portland Building back in the early 80's, the articles were full of controversy and outrage, but the moment I saw the pictures, I loved it.  It was a box, but not a glass box, and not stolid, but solid.  It had all those ironic, even supposedly jokey classical elements in the design, but they worked  wonderfully in subverting the usual grid-like regularity of a modern building, here not of metal and glass, but re-invented as floor after floor of a row of small windows in punctuating a facade of off-white stucco panels.  The vertical pilasters, topped by abstracted keystone capitals or a garland of circular medallions, the colorful inverted triangles, the green base, the sky blue penthouse, created a new kind of mannerism, in which the differences and interruptions keep the composition spinning, settled and dynamic at the same time.

This Saturday, March 24th, the Driehaus Award will be presented to Michael Graves at a ceremony, open to the public, at the 1926 Marshall and Fox designed John B. Murphy Auditorium, 50 East Erie, beginning at 11:00 a.m.  The event will also see author Elizabeth Barlow Rogers receiving the 2012 Henry Hope Reed Award, given "to an individual working outside the practice of architecture who has supported the cultivation of the traditional city, its architecture and art through writing, planning or promotion."  Speeches are also expected from Richard Driehaus and Michael Lykoudis, Dean of the Notre Dame School of Architecture

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Grumpy Friday: Is This a Design, or Did They Just Pile Up Whatever Pieces Were Left at the Bottom of the Box?

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The Ritz-Carlton Residences, Lucien Lagrange Architects

Architect Michael Graves: A Grand Tour debuts tonight on TTW

Yes, we've been MIA the last few days contemplating the meaning of life and our place in the universe, so we're a little late, but tonight, March 22nd, at 8:00 p.m. WTTW will be broadcasting the debut of Architect Michael Graves: A Grand Tour, a new documentary on legendary architect and designer Michael Graves, godfather of PostModernism the man who brought style to Target housewares, and the guy who survived a near-fatal 2003 illness that, at it's height, saw him looking around at his hospital surroundings and telling his visitors, "I can't die here.  It's too ugly." - a motto for us all as we move through the often appallingly disappointing built environment around us.

The documentary is produced by Daniel Andries, who also did the recent Jeanne Gang profile, and it's hosted by WTTW's ubiquitous Geoffrey Baer.

After tonight's debut at 8:00 p.m. , the documentary will rebroadcast Friday at 8:30 p.m., Saturday at 11:30 p.m., and probably several times after that.  Watch your schedules.  It should also be popping up in other markets.

WTTW has a great minisite on Michael Graves, including additional video content, here. Or you can watch the documentary in a small scale version here:

Monday, March 19, 2012

David Watkin, ICOMOS's Araoz, Lost Panoramas, Of Dolls and Murder, Three Centuries of St. Louis Architecture at Willis Tower - March is bursting with still more events

Yes, it's March 19th, and no, it's still not too late to be adding to the March 2012 Calendar of Chicago Architectural Events.

This Thursday, March 22, is logjam day, with Gustavo Araoz, president of the International Council on Monuments and Sites, lecturing on The 20th Century and Other Gaps in the World Heritage List: A Unique Opportunity for the U.S., at Lightology,  while over at the Chicago Yacht Club, the Institute of Classical Architecture and Art Chicago-Midwest is sponsoring a lecture by classicist scholar David Watkin, Emeritus Professor of the History of Architecture at the University of Cambridge, who will discuss Classical Language Past and Present

Meanwhile, at Frank Lloyd Wright's Unity Temple in Oak Park, Richard Cahan will be discussing his splendid new book, The Lost Panoramas, taken from a massive collection of glass-plate negatives taken between 1894 and 1928 documenting the effects, from the Loop to rural Illinois, of reversing the flow of the Chicago River.

On Wednesday the 21st, Chicago Commissioner of Transportation Gabe Klein talks about Chicago's Transportation Innovations for Lamba Alpha International, Ely Chapter at Petterino's, while over at CAF at lunchtime,  Gordon Gill discusses Smith+Gill's design for the new National Museum of Health and Medicine Chicago in what was Rolling Stone Records on Randolph, while at Holy Name Cathedral, APT Western Great Lakes Chapter is sponsoring a discussion of The Collaborative Approach Used to Restore Cluster Columns at the cathedral.  Sunday the 25th the Glessner House Museum celebrates the 134th birthday of Frances Glessner Lee with  the local premiere of Of Dolls and Murder, a new documentary narrated by John Waters on the pioneering criminologist and her famous Nutshell Studies of Unexplained Death.

Starting Tuesday over at Willis Tower, there's a new exhibition, American City: St. Louis Architecture: Three Centuries of Classic Design, featuring 80 photos from the striking book of the same name that we previously wrote about here.

Mies Birthday Party, the Birth of the New East Side, The History of the South Loop, Sam Jacob, Liza Fior and Damon Rich at the Graham, and Juan Herreros at UIC - the hits just keep coming - nearly three dozen still to go - on the March 2012 Calendar of Chicago Architectural Events.

Friday, March 16, 2012

so much for that idea . . . Shepherd's Temple/Anshe Kanesses coming down

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Lee Bey is reporting the current owners have decided to give up the fight to save the century-old building from demolition.  So, stop by in a week or so and see another monument of Chicago history be ground into dust.

Our original reports here and here.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Smiles of a Summer Night (in March) - 80 degrees, Flamboyente stands Nude before the fountain of her doctors, even

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Flamboyente, sculpture by Jean-Jacques Porret,
part of exhibition at the AMA Building,
515 North State, through May, 2012

Preview: St. Patrick's Day - This Year on the 17th! Let's Dye the Chicago River Green!

Chicago's St. Patrick's celebration this year will be something we haven't seen for quite some time.

Firstly, it will actually take place on St. Patrick's Day. This year, the 17th falls on a Saturday.  The ceremony of the speedboats, turning orange dye to a green river, has an official start time of 10:00 a.m., March 17th, 2012, but arrive early.  Best viewing along the river from Columbus Drive to Michigan Avenue.  The annual parade kicks off at Columbus and Balbo at noon.

Secondly, for the first time I can remember, it won't be cold and damp. It'll be warm and windy, with a good chance that the all-time record high of 74 will be eclipsed.

We hope to get pictures of this year's edition of all the annual rituals - dyeing the Chicago river green, drinking green beer, wearing green hats, and placing flowers at the statue of Greene Vardiman Black, the father of modern dentistry.

For now, a photo essay from last year. We really liked some of these pictures, although we were the only ones.

Created with flickr slideshow from softsea. move your mouse over the image area to hide and display menus. click on individual images for more options

And give you this short video . . .

Monday, March 12, 2012

Impromptu Subversions of the Architectural Kind

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Booth Hansen's Joffrey Tower (aka MOMO), at State and Randolph, has always struck me as a bit slippery.  To be sure, there is some articulation in the center-bay notch, but with the White Chiclet embroidery of the cladding, you get the feeling that without that huge hole in the middle where the base meets the tower, your eyes would simply slide off the building as you try to take it in visually.

This is especially true on the four-story podium, retail on the bottom two floors, the Joffrey Ballet on the top.  It's flat, flat, flat, save for the pegs at the top of the first and third floors for securing banners.
What you see above is space with its original tenant Loehmann's.  The black color of the banners, loosely strung, clearly read as fabric ribbons hanging from the facade.
Now, Loehmann's has been replaced with sushi-bar Walgreens, and the banners have changed.  Wider, more taut and, despite blue tips, mostly white, they now seem an extension of the white cladding, fins emphasizing the vertical.  And, for a while at least, it's all topped off with a classical cornice consisting of temporary netting extending out from the fourth-floor roof.

The Hallidie Building, it's not, and the effect will be fleeting, but for the moment, in spite of itself, MOMO has gone a bit retro.

The Graham Dishes the Dirt, Edward Mitchell, Jerszy Seymour, John Edel, CNU's Convenience, Landmarks Goes on Strike - throw in the Parthenon and you've got this week's Chicago architectural calendar

So, yes, we're trying to set a record.  The March 2012 Calendar of Chicago Architectural Events is still not complete -  but it's getting close.

This week, we've got EMA's (and Yale's) Edward Mitchell today, Monday the 12th at UIC, Redesigning Logan Square at AIA Chicago and John Edel at Access Living for Archeworks, tomorrow, Tuesday, the 12th.

On Wednesday, the 13th, the Metropolitan Planning Council has a lunchtime session on Making Fun and Functional Transit Centers, while over at CAF it's museum director Louise Lincoln and Antonovich Associates architect Jeffry P. Mason serving up the new DePaul Art Museum on the menu.

Thursday the 14th is logjam day, with CNU Illinois offering up an all-day conference with three separate workshops on the subject of Redefining Convenience, Landmarks Illinois goes on Strike! with a lunchtime lecture at the Cultural Center on the topic of Chicago's early commercial bowling and billiard halls (please: no wagering), while at 6:00 p.m. at the Art Institute, Barbara Barletta ponders The Parthenon--How Innovative Is It?, and also at 6:00 p.m. at the Columbus Auditorium of the School of the Art Institute, there's an appearance by Berlin-based designer and conceptual artist Jerszy Seymour.

On Friday, Carlos Leite's lecture on Sao Paolo Sustainability Indicators has been cancelled, but author Megan Born will be talking about and signing copies of her new book, Dirt at the Graham Foundation.  No, it's not a consideration of the journalistic proclivities of Rupert Murdoch, but "a selection of works that share dirty attitudes: essays, interviews, excavations, and projects that view dirt not as filth but as a medium, a metaphor, a material, a process, a design tool, a narrative, a system."

We're still filling it out, but there are already nearly three dozen events to check out on the March 2012 Calendar of Chicago Architectural Events.