Thursday, January 14, 2021

Architecture Columnist Blair Kamin Taking Buyout & Leaving the Tribune

We were sad to read that one of our favorite Chicago Tribune columnists is taking the companies buyout and moving on (via WTTW):

Blair Kamin, the Pulitzer Prize-winning architecture critic of the Chicago Tribune, is leaving the newspaper after 33 years. "It’s been an honor to cover + critique designs in the first city of American architecture," Kamin wrote in a Twitter thread announcing his departure. "My aim was to open your eyes to, and raise your expectations for, the inescapable art of architecture, which does more than any other art to shape how we live," he wrote. 

Kamin is the latest journalist to leave the Tribune, which began offering buyouts last year after Alden Global Capital became the paper's largest shareholder. Music journalist Howard Reich has also announced he is leaving, as is food critic Phil Vettel. Their departures happen as the paper has announced that it will move out of Prudential Plaza to the Freedom Center printing facility along the Chicago River, less than three years after it vacated Tribune Tower. Without Vettel and Kamin, Chicago now lacks a full-time architecture or food critic, while the loss of Reich leaves just a single full-time music critic.

We've spent a lot of posts linking to Kamin's columns over the years and will truly miss his coverage of the Sloop, city and world's architecture.

We know the Tribune continues to struggle in the face of a changing media landscape.  It's a shame that these challenges are robbing the city of such great voices.  

A big thank you to Blair Kamin and best of luck in his future endeavors.

If you're curious to read about his reflections on his time at the Tribune you can read his final column here.  It doesn't focus much on the Sloop, but does give a shoutout to some aspects of the Sloop:

In this town, architecture was, is, and always will be newsworthy — and worthy of sharp scrutiny. Even the most cursory review of my years in the critic’s chair proves the point.

New towers rose along the Chicago River as it changed from an open sewer to a recreational amenity, but some of them, particularly Donald Trump’s, had to be subjected to searing criticism before they could hold their own on the skyline.

Pitched battles were fought to keep the lakefront free and clear of massive buildings that would have needlessly cluttered the great public space. In some cases, like the giant lump that was the proposed Lucas Museum of Narrative Art, the right side won. Not so on the renovated Soldier Field, a Klingon-meets-Parthenon mismatch.

No comments: