I am deeply upset with my alma mater, Northwestern University, as they attempt to tear down a particularly special architectural classic from the 70s. This preservation battle has been building for months in Chicago on the fate of the old Prentice Women’s Hospital, a concrete, cloverleaf structure from 1975 by Chicago architect Bertrand Goldberg. Famous architects and designers like Frank Gehry, Jeanne Gang, Tod Williams and Billie Tsien have signed petitions entreating Northwestern, who owns the building, not to tear it down, pleading for Mayor Rahm Emanuel to give it landmark status.
The university says it needs new biomedical research facilities and that Prentice is too small, old and quirky to adapt. A new building would bring to the city millions of investment dollars, create jobs and save lives – that’s Northwestern’s argument.
So here is a suggestion: Build a research tower on top of Prentice. The architect Jeanne Gang has a proposal for a new research tower on top of the hospital:
Why save Prentice? There are Chicagoans that hate it. Concrete buildings from the ’70s are becoming unpopular outside architectural circles, although it’s spreading, and rightly so. Great late-Modernist buildings, innovative and ruggedly beautiful, deserve respect and careful custody. Prentice is a good example.
Architect Goldberg, who died in 1997, used a pioneering form of computer modeling to engineer a tour de force: an open, seven-story maternity ward inside the cloverleaf shell, cantilevered 45 feet from the supporting core.
- Emanuel Doubles Down On Prentice Non-Committal; Jeanne Gang Draws A Possible Solution (chicagoist.com)
- To raze or raise Old Prentice? (danieljluebke.com)
- Prentice Demolition: Brendan Reilly, Downtown Alderman, Supports NU’s Plan To Tear Down Hospital (huffingtonpost.com)
- The war on Curves: From Phoenix to Chicago to London, curvy buildings are under attack (treehugger.com)
- Prentice will get its hearing at the Landmarks Commission (chicagoreader.com)
- More famous architects call for Prentice preservation; NU continues to press phony ultimatum (chicagoreader.com)
- Looking for a Jeanne Gang quote (ask.metafilter.com)
The Convention opens at 5:00 PM when Chair of the Democratic National Committee, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, brings down the gavel. Harry Reid, Rahm Emanuel, Joseph Kennedy III (one of several in the Kennedy family honoring the late Ted Kennedy) and Kal Penn, among others, speak tonight.
- Democratic Convention Schedule. Who speaks when Tuesday night (blogs.suntimes.com)
- WATCH: Democratic National Convention (kfor.com)
- DNC releases schedule, Castro on after 9 p.m. (statesman.com)
- At DNC, Julián Castro Tackles Comparisons To President Obama – NPR (blog) (npr.org)
- First lady previews speech (kfwbam.com)
- Debbie Wasserman Schultz: DNC Will Be Very Different From Special Interest-Funded, Corporate Infused, Invitation-Only RNC (foxnewsinsider.com)
I don’t know if you get to read incoming e-mail. I doubt it, as I know the value of your time in running the country and still finding some room for your wife, children and dog. However, I would like to offer you a couple of points from my not-so-unique position as an unemployed American with two college degrees who worked on your campaign steadily for many months last year… and who is now getting more and more disappointed in your progress, or lack thereof.
“Progress” is the key word here. The expectation of so many of us who walked from door to door or sealed and sent mailing pieces or stood at intersections waving signs instead of going home to our families in the evening was that your Presidency, tied with the majorities for the Democratic Party in both Houses of Congress, would bring us out of the fiscal slurry that the Bush Administration had sunk our lower extremities in. Oh, I know you have made accomplishments… that somehow you and Bernanke saved us from a Depression with a fairly hideous Recession, that you started a process to close Gitmo and began making buddies again with the rest of the world. I know all of that.
What I can’t understand is why, after the huge effort you put into the election campaign making us all convinced you were a Progressive Hope for all of us, you have really become a mostly talk and let others do the action kind of guy. I speak specifically about Rahm Emanuel, who seems to really run the domestic policies that are fed out to the Congress, about Tim Geithner and the rest financial service types who made sure their industry was protected first while your small voters, who could not commit the millions in campaign bucks that you seem all too willing to sell us off for, cut down on their grocery shopping and debated the best way to come up with their kids’ tuition over mortgage payments, and about the Military’s need to keep us involved in the most unnecessary confrontation anyone could imagine, making our international debt so huge that even words don’t describe it.
I can’t understand why the Health Care deals where made with the Pharmaceutical companies and the lobbyists from the Insurance industry, and the Liebermans and Nelsons and other bought and paid for types, and not with the cast majority of people who elected you…people who once thought there was a chance at a single-payer solution to Health Care and who continued to think they would still get an advantage with the now vanished Public Option.
We thought you wanted to change things.
Instead, you have worked yourself into a sticky and overgrown corner where just getting out is nearly impossible. While it is possible that you might reevaluate the situation before the Fall and the 2010 Congressional elections start and get into the fray yourself (and, frankly, tell your current policy wonks to listen to the people who elected you OR ELSE), the reality seems to be that all the changes we had hoped for have been sidelined by the most controllable of uncontrollable things.
I hope you had a chance to watch, or listen to, or at least read a transcript of Bill Moyers’ Journal from the 18th of the month (and one that had not been edited by your staff to remove the highlights that they are most involved in). If not, I think you should note that the first half of the program is something is something that you should pay close attention to. It’s called “Is Washington For Sale?” and it features some very clear words from Matt Taibbi of Rolling Stone and Economist Robert Kuttner. You can see it on line at http://www.pbs.org/moyers/journal/12182009/watch.html, if you are able to get on line. I hope you can. Hell, you’re the President. Call PBS and ask them to send you a DVD!
It is so important that you become aware of what the community of Americans, who gave the government to you and the Congress not so long ago, think. All our futures are tied together, but you have your hand on the knot.