Today I had lunch with a great architecture critic. And I told him that I have to admit, each time I see New York building another Norman Foster, I get envious. I was thinking of the photo below, and this article, which I'd seen in the New York Times just sixteen days ago....

    And then I came home and read, Culturegrrl's latest blog entry, in which she wrote:

    "The reinvigoration of New York architecture was preceded, if not prompted, by a landmark article published in the NY Times on Sept. 24, 1995 by its then architecture critic Herbert Muschamp, in which he noted that New York was "a place where almost any cultural appetite can be satisfied." Then came the kicker:

    "But if your appetite is for contemporary architecture, you're out of luck. If you go to Paris, London, Barcelona, Los Angeles, Tokyo and many other cities, there's usually a new building that you have to see, or you will die. You may hate it, but your life depends on it. But when visitors from abroad come here, what do you show them? There's the skyline, of course, and the street gridiron, two of the greatest architectural spectacles of all time. But when it comes to recent buildings of stature, where do you look?

    ...Thirty years ago, the cityscape found room for works by Mies van der Rohe, Wallace Harrison, Eero Saarinen, Marcel Breuer, Frank Lloyd Wright, Walter Gropius and Gordon Bunshaft. Not all of their buildings were great; some were terrible. But what they contributed was much more than a handful of potential future landmarks...."

    It took a while to gather steam, but the starchitect invasion of the New York streetscape began in earnest after Muschamp issued this request for proposals. Now we've got (or will soon get): Calatrava, Diller Scofidio+Refro, Foster, Gehry, Meier, Piano and Taniguchi, among others."

    Culturegrrl asks, "Sheer coincidence? Or is this a case where the Times bully pulpit had a strong, beneficial and lasting influence?"

    I don't think Muschamp caused the revolution. But I need to ask his question here, about Chicago.

    What are the new buildings here that, as he said,
    "you have to see, or you will die?"

    Where are they?

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