Chicago's 2016 Olympics plan

    The temporary stadium in Washington Park, to be dismantled after the games. It has "Chicago-style," meaning a straightforward elegance. The International Olympic Commitee should like this, it seems in the league of stadia conceived by Calatrava, Foster and Ando for Olympic games. The extended roof area would be for Olympic officials and the media. Is that the proper spirit?

    An outer skin will display images of Olympic athletics.

    If the US Olympic Committee chooses Chicago over L.A., then the competion for the 2016 games would include Tokyo, where Tadao Ando is the master planner! He recently displayed in Chicago his design for a partly floating stadium concealed by a forest he would plant. It was spectacular.

    Here's the latest image for Chicago's Olympic Village,

    designed by Ross Wimer and Skidmore, Owings and Merrill. They undulate and curve like sand formations, with many openings to the lake views. After the Olympics when it would grow higher than eight stories, they'd have skybridges and some public space on top.

    But what's really interesting is the new harbor, see that! A new harbor around 31st street.

    Can I park my skiff there?

    Here's the plan for Northerly Island, which used to be the small airstrip Meigs Field, until our Jolly Green Mayor in the dead of night sent in bulldozers to put John Hancock-like "x's" in the runaways, closing it down so he could convert it into a park. I applaud him and his bold methods. I think that kind of bravado in a leader makes a city great. As long as it's civic-minded, which his is.

    And here's a nice feature of the new plan, the

    See the rowing competition lanes between - just south of Navy Pier and just north of the Shedd Aquarium? Put a TV camera west of that, facing the skyline and you'll have a tourism director's dream shot of the cityscape.

    To compete there they'd have to move the boats from Monroe harbor. During the games they'd go in the new slips shown above. (I'll have to find somewhere to keep mine.)

    The plans are strong, maybe without quite the romance of
    Daniel Burnham's 1893 World's Columbian Exposition - a project which should be the benchmark here.

    Do I think we'll get the games? I think the world, unfortunately, is in an anti-U.S. mood which to me makes it unlikely that the International Olympic Committee will give them to us in 2016.

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