Friday, January 24, 2014

Chicago, City of Lights: Maybe

(City of Chicago, via Archinect News, used w/o permission.)

"A bright idea: City aims to light up architecture to boost tourism"
Fran Spielman, Chicago (January 22, 2014)

"Chicago would be turned into a Midwest version of Paris — La Ville Lumiere, the City of Light — under a mayoral plan showcased Wednesday to boost tourism by spotlighting the city's architectural wonders.

"Even as his Infrastructure Trust launches a $13 million plan to make 60 government buildings more energy-efficient, Mayor Rahm Emanuel wants to use a spectacular citywide light show to accomplish a new and 10 percent higher goal of attracting 55 million annual visitors by 2020.

"It will start with an 'international design competition' that invites teams of artists, architects, engineers and designers to envision ways to light up Chicago's 'buildings, parks, roads and open spaces.'..."

If this works, Chicago will look different in a few years. That'll probably upset purists of the architectural and economic sort.

As long as Chicago city planners don't try to make the city a Paris knockoff, the Lemming doesn't see a problem.

Dubai has become famous for architecture that's innovative, bizarre, or garish: depending on your point of view. Seeing folks build an indoor ski resort with resident penguins doesn't bother the Lemming a bit: and neither does an ultra-high-end hotel shaped like an arabian sailboat.

It doesn't hurt, in the Lemming's eyes, that Burj Al Arab's over-the-top decor gives tightly-wound architecture critics fits.

Getting back to Chicago, the Lemming expects that the usual suspects will get conniptions over the dreadful waste and extravagance of lighting up some of North America's most spectacular buildings. They might have a point, if the city lights up with old-style incandescent bulbs.

In the Lemming's opinion, that's about as likely as La Ville Lumiere by Lake Michigan using Yablochkov candles, and that's another topic.

Other folks, the Lemming included, will sit back; enjoy the show; and hope that Chicago attracts more tourists and investors with this makeover.

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Anonymous said...

Sounds like a good idea, really. Anything to give people something to talk about other than the crime rate.

-Daughter #2

Brigid said...

And maybe gets an attitude adjustment. People won't come a second time if you're rude, folks!

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