You’re probably wondering what you’re looking at. You’re looking at a house. An ugly house. A seriously seriously ugly house. It’s a box made of cinder blocks, has zero architectural significance and has nothing to do with the architecture of the neighborhood.
First, some background. I was an advertising major. I’m not an architect, urban planner, interior or landscape designer or anyone who could be confused with an informed architectural mind. I took one class in vernacular architecture at the University of Missouri-Columbia, got a casual interest in the stuff and started paying attention to the buildings in Chicago.
I’ve started to notice something.
Developers/rich people/white people/Mayor Daley/someone is tearing down architecturally significant buildings and putting up these disgusting monstrosities in their place.
Goodbye quaint bungalow. Fare thee well, Graystone. Au revoir, Beaux Arts style theater. He-llo cinder block boxes! They’re everywhere and they’re horrible. Wicker Park, Logan Square, Andersonville, Lincoln Park– they’re like roaches scattering across the city.
Watching Mayor Daley fight to get the children’s museum in Grant Park (despite the very public push-back), watching every planning commission roll over and let Da Mare have his way– watching all of this and feeling powerless has inspired me to do something. We don’t seem to be able to get the planning commission to listen to us. Developers are going to keep building these things as long as people buy them. Rich people will keep building them as long as no one says anything. So… there’s only one thing left to do: publicly shame the owners.
As I walk around the city, when I see something architecturally gross, you better believe I’m going to be blogging about it.
When I was a little kid, my dad watched This Old House a lot. From a very young age I had this fantasy of getting and old house and fixing it up myself. Making it beautiful again. Making it livable again. Instead, people seem hell-bent on tearing down anything that stands in their way, building something ugly, gross or boring in it’s place, and making sure the new building has nothing to do with its surroundings.
If you have an ugly building that I need to see, that makes your skin crawl every time you see it, that makes you feel violent, then please email it to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. It’s not healthy to keep that anger inside.
I look forward to taking lots of pictures and complaining a lot. I hope you do too.