Friday, April 18, 2008

Kamin: Children's Museum a "Bad Marriage"

Less than a week after my own analysis of the Krueck and Sexton design the Chicago Children's Museum is working overtime to ram into Grant Park, Pulitzer Prize winning Chicago Tribune architecture critic Blair Kamin weighed in Thursday with his own blistering evaluation, which calls the proposal, which would burrow visiting children 48 feet below ground, "as bad for the museum as it would be for Grant Park." In a very detailed analysis, Kamin considers the design, the politics, the precedents it would set, and the long-standing legal protections that the Museum seeks to destroy.

As important as Kamin's prose is an accompanying graphic that takes the Museum's cynically deceptive drawings of the project, all made from a far distant perspective intended to mask any sense of the construction's scale, and blows up one cross section to where you can actually see how the purportedly unobtrusive skylights tower over the human figures standing beside them.

When reading through Blair Kamin's piece, I was reminded again of an extraordinary fact. I have never seen -not on the museum's website, or that of its architects, Krueck and Sexton, or anywhere else - a single image of the museum's interior. Think about it. The public, the City Council, Park District and Plan Commission are being asked to pass judgment on a subterranean grotto that will stuffed with children without ever seeing a single image of what it will be like. Has there ever been any major structure, commercial or cultural, marketed to the public that kept the character of its interiors completely hidden?


Anonymous said...

I appreciate the fact that from the get go you have been calling for greater scrutiny of the museum proposal.
That the Tribune weighed in with a more forceful opinion a month before the CCM goes to the Plan Commission, is typically too little too late.
Although I did appreciate yesterday in a Tribune editorial— an appeal to the CCM's board of trustees to take a bold stand and reevaluate the Grant Park move. The same could be said of Kruek and Sexton's complicity.

Anonymous said...

Great article and thanks for working, in a parallel path alongside the Tribune to inform all of us and for not hesitating to give Kamin credit for his part.

And yes, some public shame is exactly what Krueck and Sexton should be feeling.