To the editor:

Lynn Becker and the Chicago Reader have deftly skewered the numbing sameness of the downtown high-rises that are now limping skyward [“Stop the Blandness!” January 17]. Never has so much cheap-looking architecture been put up under one mayor’s watch. Improving the quality of these sterile slabs can only be done if Mayor Daley and his planners develop some sense of taste. They obviously cannot tell a box from a spire–or a white elephant from a landmark. Admittedly, a few of the new towers look great. Yet these few only serve to illustrate the fact that blandness could be avoided if architects, developers, and city officials so desired.

A related travesty is the fact that these boxes are being erected on the graves of recently demolished, beautiful older buildings. In the Loop, River North, and elsewhere in the 42nd Ward, Alderman Burt Natarus and his pals are treating our city’s neighborhoods like their own personal stock portfolio. Whole blocks of historic buildings are bulldozed. Rows of Victorian homes are cut down in a strip-mining that serves no one but politically connected developers.

Decades from now, will any citizens’ group rally to save the recently built high-rises? Doubtful. These oversized kitchen wastebaskets that pass for buildings are going to be rightfully chopped into rubble someday in an exercise of architectural euthanasia. When that day comes, good riddance.

The city that invented tall buildings is now saddled with tall buildings that a child could have designed. Of course, no child would dare design buildings this boring.

Jonathan Fine


Michael Moran

Vice President

Preservation Chicago