It Takes a Millennium

ChicagoPritzkerPavillion.jpgI’m in Chicago on bidniz. It’s my second return to the Mother Ship in three years. This sure ain’t Seattle.

After the “L” ride from O’Hare to The Loop, in between registration and the first session, I thought I’d do a little sight-seeing.

I spent one summer in Chicago during college. I lived a few block from Victor Arrigo Park and worked in Water Tower Place, on the north end of the Magnificent Mile. I think it was 1979, the year of the Disco Disaster in Comiskey Park. (continued)

However, I hadn’t been back since my Mom graduated from the Jane Addams School at UIC. So I had never seen Millennium Park. Fortunately, it was only a few blocks from my hotel.

Even more fortunate, it was snowing. My parents dropped my off at college my first year and moved to Illinois. From ’77 to ’79, my schedule was such that I only visited when there was snow. The falling flakes made it seem more familiar.

Yeah, I saw The Egg (or “Cloud Gate”) and Crown Fountain too. However, what really caught my interest (and what brings me to that “local” twist for Griff and Tracy) was the Pritzker Pavillion. Although it’s big, and designed by a famous artchitect, it’s basically a stage, some seating, and a big lawn for family picnics during concerts.

It brought me back to Mary Rossing’s idea (she was Merely Mary then, instead of Mayor Mary) for a bandshell in Ames Park. I pictured the bandshell by Ames Mill, then the lawn…and then the Skate Park (or Plaza).

Yeah, the Skate Park. When I did Seattle, at one of the sessions they talked about teens and tweens being an $80 billion per year market. The attendees were trading ideas about how to bring them downtown.

Here in Northfield, some people think it would be better to move them out of downtown and to another park. Others are concerned that a skate park will be an unsightly gateway to downtown.

As I looked at the Pritzker Pavillion, I thought we could cover the skate park with a metal roof. If the workers dropped and bent it during installation, we could say Gehry designed it.

Seems to me, it’s as much about perception as it is about design.

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