Wednesday, December 11, 2019

Chicago Tribune Architecture Critic Weighs in On Sloop's Tallest Building NEMA

NEMA Chicago is nearly done and architecture critic Blair Kamin weighs in (via Chicago Tribune):
It’s no coincidence that the nearly complete NEMA Chicago skyscraper, which at 896 feet is Chicago’s tallest rental high-rise, bears a strong resemblance to Willis Tower. The architect, New York’s Rafael Viñoly, is a fan of our muscular skyline giant.
The comparison is impossible to miss. Even the most casual observer can glimpse it in NEMA’s resolutely right-angled geometry and the way its cluster of nine vertical sections gradually peels away, leaving one to soar to the summit.
Fortunately, the outcome is a vigorous reinterpretation of Willis, not a slavish copy. And that should come as a relief for anyone who cares about Chicago's skyline.
Apartment buildings are notorious for low budgets and lower aesthetic aspirations. A visual flop at NEMA’s prominent site — on the south edge of Grant Park and near the busy corner of Roosevelt Road and Michigan Avenue — would have left a lasting, unavoidable eyesore.
Viñoly, whose previous works include a business school and hospital at the University of Chicago, avoided that trap by doing things the old-fashioned Chicago way: with a directness that verges on bluntness.

It's a good read (as usual) and he sums up the building in a succinct manner:
For now, we can be glad that NEMA has returned Chicago to its pragmatic architectural roots and endowed the skyline with a fresh shot of visual poetry. That’s better than an ugly concrete stalk along Grant Park.
Ok, so maybe not a resounding win - but sounds like it could have been worse. 

In our opinion the building does well.  Viewed from almost every direction it is an impressive building.  The view from the west is probably the worst, but hopefully that gets covered up if and when the build the second tower.

What do you say - is this a good building?

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