Chicago Tribune architecture critic Blair Kamin this morning condemns the proposed move of the Chicago Children's Museum to Grant Park, and provides an cogent analysis of what makes it so bad.
Apparently, there's still another revision which, according to Kamin, reduces the size of the skylights to a maximum height of 16 feet, and in process slashes the amount of natural light coming in to the museum but a third. In contrast to the current museum, which offers generous views of the park outside Navy Pier, the new museum is devolving into what is being called the "cave" compromise, essentially an underground bunker, in an increasingly desperate attempt to circumvent the A. Montgomery Ward court decisions that protect Grant Park. If Kamin's article is any indication, the museum continues to withhold all renderings of the project except wide-angle drawings that minimize its impact and conceal the real experience of the structure as placed into the park.
Like almost all other observers (Mary Mitchell excepted), Kamin has come to realize that this battle is not about "the children." It's about power politics.
" . . . it becomes apparent," Kamin writes, "that the chosen site will benefit neither Grant Park nor the children who are the museum's reason for being."
"The lakefront and the children deserve better than a political compromise that is principally designed not to produce inspiring architecture, but to let the powerful mayor save face." Read it all here.