Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Is Helmut Jahn the Worst Major Architect Practicing Today?

I am excluding Frank Gehry, who is more of an unbearable artist, but for unbuildable, unworkable architecture, Helmut Jahn is the bottom of the charts. A trip to the Thompson Center recently clinched it for me. The miserable predicament of the people working there is complimented by the miserable architecture...massive unknowable spaces, strange angles insulting the eye, and a genuine inhumanity built to annoy visitors and workers alike.

I don't think it is any secret that Jahn's works are notoriously hard to build, with the purpose of the building disguised behind a unpleasant architectural facade. You might argue that the State of Illinois is an unpleasant architectural facade, so the Thompson center is perfectly unpleasant. On the other hand, couldn't we use a bit more pleasant State, rather than continuing with the prison motif in our downtown buildings?

Well, if you thought you had enough Jahn in Chicago (and who hasn't?) the newly rich Salvation Army announced an astounding $220 Million Community Center planned for the Pullman neighborhood, to be designed by none other than...Helmut Jahn. Read more about it here at the Chicago Daily Observer

The Salvation of Helmut Jahn

Any thoughts out there on stopping this massive waste of resources for heretofore decent organization? Can we keep Jahnism out of Ecclesiology?


Publia said...

This is pretty hot news. It's hard to think of doing good thru those omnipresent kettles when the Army engages this costly architect.

Mary Martha said...

My father actually retured early when he was forced to move his office into that horrible State of Illinois building.

He said it was unbearable loud, hot in the summer and cold in the winter. Just an all around nightmare.