Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Media and Architecture Response: Chicago

I was in Chicago this past weekend visiting a couple of good friends of mine. Being influenced by the readings in architectural photography, and looking through that massive tome Building With Light, I was inspired to try to create some architectural photography of my own. Although I am not strictly an artist or photographer, I think the weather I was blessed with gave me a distinct advantage and I was able to get some "okay" pictures. Enjoy.

Frank Gehry's Jay Pritzker pavilion. I think this photo was able to capture the way this oddly-shaped structure rises out of Millennium Park in the revitalized heart of downtown Chicago. Too bad I wasn't able to catch a free outdoor concert, but I was able to see how using techniques we read about in the Radio City Music hall readings this massive metal net carries a network of monitors all the way to the cheap seats. I would imagine the sound is pretty impressive if a bit unnatural for an outdoor venue.

Anish Kapoor's "The Bean." Oh, pardon me, I mean "The Cloud Gate." But here we have yet another example of people naming a structure for its shape. The prominent and unmistakable landmark of the AT&T Plaza (mere feet from Gehry's pavilion, which is reflected almost perfectly in its surface), this giant steel coffee bean is the new, hip place to snap a tourist shot or meet up downtown. Unfortunately for the artist, unless on a guided tour it will probably never been seen as a cloud.

Adventures in Babysitting anyone? The Smurfit-Stone building stands as obviously in the Chicago skyline as the Sears Tower or the John Hancock building. With its famous gashed center and diamond shape it can hardly be missed. What is missed, however, are the days when this building was considered a "smart" building, meaning environmentally friendly and high-tech in 1984. (Hey, it's as old as I am!) It would be interesting to see how it measures up now during the current green craze, especially to that glass monstrosity next to it.

Buckingham Fountain, or that fountain from the opening credits of Married With Children. The sun was really giving me a hard time with this one, so I took about 20 photos trying to capture exactly what I was seeing. Now I know how Le Corbusier felt, but I think I got the weird texture that was being created by the reflection of the light on the water. Sadly I wasn't there for when the fountain blows its top once an hour, but I'm sure I would have missed the shot messing around with camera settings.

This old stately gal is Lake Point Tower. Built in the 60s, I think its style and appeal still stands up to modern scrutiny. Plus it's the only building east of Lake Shore Drive, so if you want to pay to move in I bet you have an unparalleled view of both city and lake. And hey, with neighbors like Sammy Sosa, Alice Cooper and Oprah the price may just be worth it. I intentionally cut out the rest of the skyline and the lake for this shot to show the building's isolation from the city. Did I do a good job, who knows?

Last but not least, it can't be Illinois without McDonalds. Here is the famous Rock N Roll McDonalds in its shiny, new incarnation. Rock N Roll McDonalds was famous both as a MickeyD's location and rock n roll museum, as well as for appearing in a ridiculously entertaining song by outsider artist Wesley Willis. In the photo I caught the glint of the sun on the exterior to emphasize the controversial newness of this building over the more traditional McDonalds exterior of the old one. Part restaurant, part museum, part publicity stunt...but most assuredly all-American, this is a perfect place to leave off with my Chicago trip.

So anyway, I hope this post worked as a "creative" response submission. I enjoyed taking these photos and hope to take more on future trips. Buildings are just so darn photogenic. Most information in this post was either from my friend Pat (a Chicago resident) or the architecture foot tour we took downtown.

1 comment:

Kenneth Griggs said...

Great photos. Keep it real.