Thursday, August 13, 2009

Where Should the Burnham Memorial be Placed?

Two days ago we went to the meeting at Daley Bicentennial Plaza Fieldhouse to hear the architect, David Woodhouse, talk about his winning design of the memorial for Burnham Memorial which currently is planned to be placed on the north side of the Field Museum (where the tiered lawn is).

We didn't know what to expect, but coming in we've been pretty critical of the plan since this area is already nice. We've read articles from Blair Kamin and a press release from the Grant Park Conservancy (GPC) and initially agreed with them that this money ($5 million) would be better spent on other projects.

The project the GPC is lobbying for is updating the crossing at Queens Landing (which is the place where lake Michigan meets Buckingham Fountain). The image on the right is an illustration of what could be created (for about $25-$35+ million).

So the stage for the meeting was set and it was clear that most people in the audience weren't in favor of the winning Burnham Memorial plan at Museum Campus. Some of the highlights and valid points against the plan from the audience were:
  • It's already a nice spot and the funds could be used in a better place (ie Queen's Landing)
  • It's putting up two walls that block the beautiful view of the city
  • It's taking away additional green space by paving over a nice lawn
However, our opinion was actually swayed in favor of the current memorial plan to place it in the Museum Campus. The best reason we heard was that one of the main goals of the 'Museum Campus' was to have educational components (ie - the Field, Adler and Shedd etc.). By placing this memorial in the Museum Campus it provides an additional educational resource. In our opinion it's important for people to realize that the beauty of Chicago was a vision and a didn't happen accidentally.

Although we still think Queen's Landing is an important public initiative it really should be viewed in a separate light. We commend the GPC for bringing this issue to light, however we think this project will have to wait until we know whether or not we get the Olympics. If we get the Olympics, this project will get done. Maybe England will do it for Chicago 2016 as a present from the London 2012 Olympics...

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Grant Park is becoming Disneyland, with Children's Museum, the commercialization of Grant park for events that are doing more destruction than good, and the cramming of memorials like this.

As in the decision with the Children's Museum, the %$&#*! at GPAC need to be wacked in the head and start looking at the bigger picture; their cramming of stuff in the park is more NIMBY than the NIMBY they cry about.

1. Why take away a great lawn viewing spot?

2. Put that money into some of the parks and open space outside of grant park but nearby. They are robbing many other parks of funding for quality improvements and maintenance already.

3. They need to look at more big picture goals of spreading this stuff around the downtown area from Cermak to the River to help drive bigger and better neighborhood improvements. There is already enough things in Grant Park and Museum Campus to feed the ADD overloaded people.

By spreading around the cultural assets and park improvements into the neighborhoods and nearby neighborhood parks, they can help ensure the tax revenue for the parks in the future increase or stay strong.

Imagine if they had placed the Children's Museum in a better Loop or south Loop local. Big positive impact.

As for this wall, put it where Burnham had his first architectural commission (do the research), or put it on Michigan Avenue & Roosevelt where those idiotic legs are.