RECONSTRUCTING HARRY WEESE: At his peak in the sixties and seventies, Harry Weese was arguably Chicago’s preeminent architect, a visionary whose ideas helped revive the city’s fraying downtown and whose projects won worldwide acclaim. But his final years were marked by a sad, booze-saturated decline, and in time his reputation faded. Now a forthcoming examination of his architecture could restore him to the place of honor he deserves
After glorying in a decade of booming construction, the city’s architecture community has been hit hard by the economic downturn. What does that herald for the future of one of the city’s signature attractions—its collection of memorable buildings?
For years, Laurence Booth, one of the city’s most widely acclaimed architects, championed low-scale buildings and decried “antihuman” high-rises. Now he has designed three towers and has a fourth under construction. Why? “We have to make some huge changes in this country,” he says.
With a passion for tradition, the investment guru Richard Driehaus has become one of the city’s most dedicated advocates for historic preservation. This fall, he takes his commitment further by opening a museum of decorative arts in a phenomenally lavish 19th-century mansion on the Near North Side.
When the brilliant and erratic Jeff McCourt founded the Windy City Times in 1985, he began a 15-year run that changed the way gays were regarded. But his volcanic personality caused countless rifts, and he died this year at 51, largely alone.
The renovation of Soldier Field is a chance for the architect Dirk Lohan, grandson of Ludwig Mies van der Rhoe, to leave his mark on the lakefront. But relentless derision has been the overriding response to the design.