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Old Posted Jan 8, 2015, 5:01 PM
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Originally Posted by ardecila View Post
In contrast, both of the U of C proposals are rapaciously gobbling up scarce parkland for a gigantic inflated facility, in a neighborhood with plenty of open land already under U of C's control. You know that half of that Washington Park plot will become parking lots.
I'm shocked and disappointed to the point of incredulity. University of Chicago has hitherto made a series of intelligent urban planning/architectural decisions, preserving significant structures often and commissioning progressive designs to replace the ones they demolish. Increasing their presence across the Midway has made it safer and more of an asset to the school; I mean, it's pretty much a huge, publicly funded front lawn. Why the sudden shift in that strategy when their work in Woodlawn clearly isn't finished? Both sites are relatively far from core campus buildings. And in the case Washington Park, well, it will take much more than a presidential library to revitalize that neighborhood. Jackson Park? The adjacent block is already decently developed.

Appropriating functioning public land would be a slap in the face to the local community and a direct contradiction of Obama's origin story (i.e., empowering the disenfranchised, urban proletariat-- for whom the whole park system, it should be noted, was devised)-- especially when empty/non-functioning space abounds around it in the form of vacant, blighted lots.

The Obamas are placing a great deal of emphasis on the possible transformative effects of the library. As such, the library should embrace the city as part of its mission and its form. It should operate more like an inviting storefront, less like a castle in a garden. Does that require bolder thinking? Yes, because the archetype for these institutions is suburban or even bucolic in nature. But if there were ever a project for bold thinking, this would be it. Which is why I have the exact same response as Sam:

Originally Posted by SamInTheLoop View Post
Is this truly the best it could do??
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