A daily blog on architecture in Chicago, and other topics cultural, political and mineral.
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Wednesday, October 15, 2008
Diane Keaton: Architecture Critic
Godfather films over the past two weeks reminded me of Diane Keaton's skills, then only beginning to be apparent, as an actress. A Monday article in the L.A. Times on the destruction of the Ambassador Hotel reveals that Keaton is also not only a dedicated architectural preservationist, but a cogent writer, as well. Keaton details the rich history of the hotel, her efforts with other activists to save it, including coming up with plans for alternate use, and the recalcitrance of the Board of Education bureaucracy, which has, a la Chicago's Block 37, obstinately engineered a demolition only to leave a vacant lot. Read Keaton's fine article here.
(Click on time for permalink) 11:09 AM
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I shot a commercial in the Ambassador around 1990, ironically we weren't using it for its hotel grandeur but for a long, grungy tunnel in the basement in a fantasy sequence. But I had the opportunity to wander the halls, including across the spot where Robert Kennedy was killed. It didn't have a feeling of being dilapidated or impossibly rundown, and it certainly could have been something else, although it was just one of those buildings in the wrong place for a commercial future (like Detroit's Michigan Central Building). Still, even a modest amount of imagination might have saved it and made a jewel of adaptive reuse out of it.
I have followed the Ambassador Hotel saga for the past nine years.
The ignorance and race-card-playing of the Los Angeles Unified School Distric, the local phony "reverends," and the pandering politicians swirled together in a perfect storm of political correctness.
You wanted to save the Ambassador? Then you didn't care about the children!
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