Cloth $32.00 ISBN: 9780226423111 Published November 2010
Paper $19.00 ISBN: 9780226423128 Published November 2011
E-book $7.00 to $18.00 About E-books ISBN: 9780226423135 Published October 2010

Terror and Wonder

Architecture in a Tumultuous Age

Blair Kamin

Blair Kamin

320 pages | 70 halftones | 6 x 9 | © 2010
Cloth $32.00 ISBN: 9780226423111 Published November 2010
Paper $19.00 ISBN: 9780226423128 Published November 2011
E-book $7.00 to $18.00 About E-books ISBN: 9780226423135 Published October 2010

For nearly twenty years now, Blair Kamin of the Chicago Tribune has explored how architecture captures our imagination and engages our deepest emotions. A winner of the Pulitzer Prize for criticism and writer of the widely read Cityscapes blog, Kamin treats his subjects not only as works of art but also as symbols of the cultural and political forces that inspire them. Terror and Wonder gathers the best of Kamin’s writings from the past decade along with new reflections on an era framed by the destruction of the World Trade Center and the opening of the world’s tallest skyscraper.

Assessing ordinary commercial structures as well as head-turning designs by some of the world’s leading architects, Kamin paints a sweeping but finely textured portrait of a tumultuous age torn between the conflicting mandates of architectural spectacle and sustainability. For Kamin, the story of our built environment over the past ten years is, in tangible ways, the story of the decade itself. Terror and Wonder considers how architecture has been central to the main events and crosscurrents in American life since 2001: the devastating and debilitating consequences of 9/11 and Hurricane Katrina; the real estate boom and bust; the use of over-the-top cultural designs as engines of civic renewal; new challenges in saving old buildings; the unlikely rise of energy-saving, green architecture; and growing concern over our nation’s crumbling infrastructure.

A prominent cast of players—including Santiago Calatrava, Frank Gehry, Helmut Jahn, Daniel Libeskind, Barack Obama, Renzo Piano, and Donald Trump—fills the pages of this eye-opening look at the astounding and extraordinary ways that architecture mirrors our values—and shapes our everyday lives.

Booklist

"Kamin, the Pulitzer Prize–winning architecture critic for the Chicago Tribune, has constructed an elegant and thought-provoking book out of 51 of his timely yet timeless columns. He begins not with the creation of structures but, rather, with their destruction: the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center towers and Katrina’s assault on New Orleans. In the wake of each catastrophe, Kamin examines reactions predictable and counterintuitive. There’s the ugly and dampening impact of clumsy security measures on architecture, travel, and public life, and the reckless building boom, which stoked the foreclosure epidemic and a plague of generic, bloated commercial and residential buildings, and left two massive skyscraper projects, the Spire and the Waterview Tower, in limbo in Chicago (“the first city of American architecture”). But he also writes of such buoyant successes as Santiago Calatrava’s winged addition to the Milwaukee Art Museum and Jeanne Gang’s “singular” Aqua Tower and celebrates the “blooming of green architecture.” Crisp and colorful, expert and witty, Kamin’s involving essays address the complexities of architecture and how the built world affects every aspect of life."

TimeOut Chicago

"In the time Blair Kamin has served as the Chicago Tribune’s architectural critic, building has gone bananas. The Twin Towers fell and the Trump Tower rose, historic preservationists have had to fight tooth and nail for significant buildings, Dubai has gone mile high and the Chicago Spire became the Chicago Pit. His new book, Terror and Wonder, collects his writing from the Trib and elsewhere . . . about everything from McDonald’s to Mies."—TimeOut Chicago
 

Booklist

"Kamin, the Pulitzer Prize–winning architecture critic for the Chicago Tribune, has constructed an elegant and thought-provoking book out of 51 of his timely yet timeless columns. . . . Crisp and colorful, expert and witty, Kamin’s involving essays address the complexities of architecture and how the built world affects every aspect of life."

TimeOut Chicago

"In the time Blair Kamin has served as the Chicago Tribune’s architectural critic, building has gone bananas. The Twin Towers fell and the Trump Tower rose, historic preservationists have had to fight tooth and nail for significant buildings, Dubai has gone mile high and the Chicago Spire became the Chicago Pit. His new book, Terror and Wonder, collects his writing from the Trib and elsewhere . . . about everything from McDonald’s to Mies."

Huffington Post

“Blair Kamin, Pulitzer Prize-winning architecture critic for the Chicago Tribune, thoughtfully and provocatively defines the emotional and cultural dimensions of architecture. He is one of the nation's leading voices for design that uplifts and enhances life as well as the environment. His new book, Terror and Wonder: Architecture in a Tumultuous Age, assembles some of his best writing from the past ten years.”

Christopher Hawthorne | Urban Design Review

Terror and Wonder: Architecture in a Tumultuous Age, a collection of [Kamin’s] essays and reviews from 2001 to 2010, takes on subjects as fraught as the rebuilding effort at Ground Zero and the architecture of public housing. But it does so in a style that is approachable, clear-eyed and—perhaps above all—eminently reasonable. If the age was tumultuous, in other words, Kamin’s prose never is.”

Architectural Record
"[Kamin] spotlights architecture’s central role in the decade’s main events and trends. . . . [He] is, in the end, our most deeply-humane critic.”
Cleveland Plain Dealer
“When it comes to architecture criticism in the United States, no one does it better than Blair Kamin of the Chicago Tribune. A 1999 winner of the Pulitzer Prize, Kamin has written eloquently, intelligently and passionately about everything from the Chicago lakefront to the National September 11 Memorial in Manhattan. . . . [Terror and Wonder] is an excellent overview of Kamin's recent work, and of the state of architecture worldwide.”
Rakesh Ramchurn | The Architects ’ Journal

“Prescient. . . . colourful. . . . Kamin’s criticism is sharp and readable, more so because he places ordinary people before architects, planners or developers in his appraisal of the changes he has witnessed to the urban environment over the last 10 years.”

Oxford Art Journal
"[The book's] organisational format, combined with Kamin's addition of a postscript for most columns, provides a sense of depth and continuity to what might otherwise appear to be a collection of brief snapshots. . . . Kamin's text enacts its own form of historical contextualization and it is one with considerable explanatory power."
Contents

INTRODUCTION

1 The Urban Drama
DISASTER
  RAISING UP A FALLEN SKY
  The Best Way to Fill the Chilling Void in the Lower Manhattan Skyline Is with a Great New Urban Center, Not a Reproduction of the Destroyed Twin Towers
  DON’T ABANDON NEW ORLEANS
  The Big Easy, an American Masterpiece, Deserves to Be Saved; Its Rebuilding Should Stress Substance over Show

SECURITY
  LAND OF THE SORT OF FREE
  In a Nervous City, Places like the Federal Plaza Run Scared, While the Daley Plaza Hangs Tough
  FORT WASHINGTON
  From the Heartland to the Capital, Federal Buildings Put on the Armor of a Nation under Siege
  HUBS OF FRUSTRATION
  Airports—A Symbol of Our Freedom of Movement—Have Become Dehumanizing

THE PROMISE AND PERILS OF REBUILDING
  A BRILLIANT TIGHTROPE WALK AT GROUND ZERO
  One Plan for WTC Rises above the Rest
  TOWER OF BANAL
  Latest Freedom Tower Design Erases Original Vision of Remembrance and Renewal

RECLAIMING THE PUBLIC REALM
  A PEOPLE’S PARK FOR THE FUTURE
  Why Millennium Park Has Instantly—and Interactively—Established Itself as Chicago’s New Town Square
  THE MILLENNIUM PARK EFFECT
  It Has Emerged as a Sparkling Example of How Big Cities Can Get Big Things Done

2 The Building Boom
WRETCHED EXCESS
  MONUMENTS TO MEDIOCRITY
  The Demands of Business Overwhelm the Art of Architecture in a Surge of High-Rise Residential Construction
  ONCE GRAND, NOW BLAND
  Boom in Branch Banks Is Shortchanging the Character of Neighborhoods
  A MICKEY D’S ON STEROIDS
  When Supersize Isn’t Necessarily Better
  A GALLERY OF ROGUES
  For Every Gem Produced by the Long-Running Building Boom, There Are Even More Clunkers

GEMS AMID THE ROUGH
  A SPARKLING NEW HIGH-RISE, THE CONTEMPORAINE, HERALDS THE REVIVAL OF MODERNISM
  LIGHTER-THAN-AIR SERTA HEADQUARTERS ELEVATES THE ORDINARY
WAVES OF CREATIVITY
  The Aqua Tower, by Rising Star Jeanne Gang, Is One of Chicago’s Boldest and Best New Skyscrapers

DOES SUPERTALL MEAN SUPERB?
  THE DONALD’S DUD
  Trump’s Skyscraper, Shortened by the Post-9/11 Fear of Heights, Reaches Only for Mediocrity
  SCALING AESTHETIC HEIGHTS
  Skyscraper Adapts to Our World in a Stunning New Way
  LET’S TWIST AGAIN
  Third Time’s the Charm for Lakefront Tower—or Is It?
  HOW TO BUILD TODAY’S SUPERTALLS
  Elegance, Not Machismo, Is behind Chicago’s Unprecedented Reach for the Sky
  A SKYSCRAPER OF MANY FACES
  In Trump’s Context-Driven Chicago Skyscraper, Beauty Is in the Eye—and the Vantage Point—of the Beholder
  THE NEW BURJ DUBAI, THE WORLD’S TALLEST BUILDING, SHOWS THAT NOTHING SUCCEEDS LIKE EXCESS

3 The Age of Icons
CATHEDRALS OF CULTURE
  WINGED VICTORY
  Santiago Calatrava Marries Sculpture and Structure, and Molds a New Identity for the Milwaukee Art Museum
  A MUSICAL ARK FOR LOS ANGELES
  Frank Gehry’s Spectacular Disney Hall Draws Energy from the City’s Chaos and Steers It toward a New Vision of Community
  ROCKY MOUNTAIN HIGHS AND LOWS
  Daniel Libeskind’s Denver Art Museum Addition Is a Striking Urban Presence but Doesn’t Soar as a Showcase
  BLADES OF GLASS
  The New Spertus Institute and Its Gemlike Wall Form a Welcome Counterpoint to Chicago’s Michigan Avenue Historic District

FROM THE SPECTACULAR TO THE SUBTLE
A BRIGHTER IDEA
  Steven Holl’s Bloch Building at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in Kansas City Redefines the Museum Addition
  CHICAGO’S TEMPLE OF LIGHT
  Much More than a Container for Art, Renzo Piano’s Refined Modern Wing Opens to Nature and the City
  A SIDEWALK THROUGH THE SKY
  With Quiet Nautical Flourish, the Nichols Bridgeway Connects the Modern Wing of the Art Institute to Millennium Park

BIG STARS ON CAMPUS
BOLD NEW LOOK ON CAMPUS
  Can Sexy, Signature Buildings Successfully Fuse Form and Function?
  TRIUMPHANT HOMECOMING
  Helmut Jahn Designs an Illinois Institute of Technology Dorm that Looks Elegantly at Home
  THOM MAYNE’S STUDENT RECREATION CENTER AT THE UNIVERSITY OF CINCINNATI IS THE LATEST PIECE OF AN EXEMPLARY PUZZLE

4 The Changing Faces of Preservation and Conservation
NEW CHALLENGES FOR HISTORIC PRESERVATION
  THE DANGER OF BECOMING SKIN-DEEP
  Chicago Historic Buildings Become Shells as New Rules of Preservation Are Letting City’s History Slip Away
  HEALING PROCESS
  It’s Unclear Whether Cook County Hospital Can or Should Be Saved, but There Hasn’t Been a Full Airing of the Question
  WHY LOSING SOLDIER FIELD’S LANDMARK STATUS MATTERS
  Uncle Sam Draws a Line, Saving Avant-Garde Architecture from Its Worst Excesses
  LOVE IT? HATE IT? OR BOTH?
  An Architecture Critic Revisits the Building He Despised as a Student and Has a Revelation
  THIS MIES BUILDING AT IIT CAN GO
  Squat Brick Structure Isn’t the Architect’s Best Work, and the Metra Expansion Merits Its Razing
  HISTORIC PRESERVATION AND GREEN ARCHITECTURE
  Friends or Foes?

THE BLOOMING OF GREEN ARCHITECTURE
CHICAGO, MY KIND OF GREEN
  The Windy City Presents a Snapshot of the Sustainability Movement’s Strengths and Shortcomings
  GOING “NET ZERO” TO MAKE A GREEN STATEMENT
  First-of-Its-Kind Home in Chicago Will Produce as Much Energy as It Uses
  TEMPLE OF GREEN
  In the Grand Rapids Art Museum, a Measured Approach to Design Reveals that Elegance and Environmentalism Are Not Incompatible

5 A New Era and New Challenges
REIMAGINING REGIONS AND HOUSING
  GOING FORWARD
  Planning for Chicago’s Future Requires Burnham-Style Vision—and a Big Pair of Green-Tinted Glasses
  SHORTSIGHTED POLEMICS
  The Ideological Catfights over Housing Threaten to Marginalize All of Architecture
  CHA POLISHES ITS ROUGH EDGES
  Architect Dresses up the Dearborn Homes, Georgian Style, and Upgrades Living Spaces Inside
  BRICK BY BRICK
  Born as a Horse Stable, the Brick Weave House Provides the Perfect Home for a Pair of Urbanite Gearheads

THE BLESSINGS—AND BURDENS—OF INFRASTRUCTURE
A GRANDER CANYON
  The Rebuilt Wacker Drive Has Emerged Not Only Fixed, but Finer
  CHICAGO’S SECOND WATERFRONT
  A New Stretch of River Walk Furthers the Dream of Turning a Once-Harsh Industrial Zone into a Prime Public Space
  NEW RANDOLPH STATION WORKS WITHIN ITS LIMITS
  Renovated Station a Bright Spot in Daily Commute
  THE WAY WE MOVE—AND LIVE
  America’s Infrastructure Crisis Arrives on Chicago’s Doorstep

HIGH HOPES, HIGH BUILDINGS, AND SOBERING REALITIES 
GOOD-BYE, ICONS; HELLO, INFRASTRUCTURE
  Obama Inaugurates a New Era of Architecture
  BACK TO BASICS
  President Obama’s Infrastructure Plan Won’t Match the Great New Deal Public Works Projects, but It Moves America in the Right Direction

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
ILLUSTRATION CREDITS
INDEX

For more information, or to order this book, please visit http://www.press.uchicago.edu
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