|Wolf Point, West Tower - click images for larger view|
Still, I was a bit taken aback by the Chicago Architecture Blog's The Backstory on bKL. The first thing I noticed was that it was squishy-soft on Wolf Point, the billion-dollar project that in which bKL is a major design partner, parroting the official line it's all wonderful and that anyone who dares raise questions must be an obtuse NIMBY. As indicated in our own history, Hour of the Wolf: The Transformation of the Pivot Point of Chicago, it's a bit more complicated than that.
Editor: What does “B.K.L.” stand for?
Thomas Kerwin, Principal: The “B” stands for “build.” I’m the “K,” and Jim Loewenberg [co-CEO of Magellan Development], who set us up in business is the “L.”
Editor: So the “B” is lower-case because it’s not a person.
Kerwin: Right. The “B” means “build” because we both built a lot of work all over the world. BKL is a new entity, but we felt it important to emphasize the fact that we’ve built many many projects. So, we’re a new firm, but we have a lot of experience.
Editor: How long has bKL been around?
Kerwin: We started in January of 2010.
I can excuse Kerwin the spin, but if he's claiming to go back to 2010, then a little reality might be in order, and it has nothing to do with the charming fairy story Kerwin was peddling. Just ask Google, which provides the following search result pointing to bKL's current website:
Here's the actual announcement, from the February 2010 issue of Architect Magazine,
David Brininstool and Brad Lynch, partners for 20 years in Brininstool+Lynch, announced on Jan. 26 that they had closed their firm and teamed with Tom Kerwin, previously a managing partner at Skidmore, Owings and Merrill's Chicago office, to form Brininstool, Kerwin and Lynch (BKL).Somewhere between 2010 and now, the ‘B’ and the ‘L’ of BKL vanished, and we now have the current firm, with the same letters jiggered to create a different backstory. Maybe they just didn't want to have to buy new stationary. Brininstool and Lynch are back to having to their own website. There's no trace of any break in continuity there either. What actually happened? Now there's a story I'd pay good money to read.
There's a lot a talk in the interview about the firm's pack of talented young architects, but the only people we hear from and the only photo portrait is of the usual gang of old geezers (in this case, Kerwin, Carl Moskus and Michael Karlovitz) actually running things. [Full disclosure: I myself am 97.]
End of grousing. (And who can't love a man who has Marina City as his favorite Chicago building?)
Read: The Backstory on bKL - The Young Chicago Firm Leading the Pack on Wolf Point.