Blair Kamin Doesn’t Think Too Highly of Chicago 2016 Architectural Plans

Last week, the Chicago-based committee to help land the city the 2016 Olympics released their “Bid Book” to both the decision making body at the Olympics themselves and to the public at large. While most within the city found the new batch of information interesting, with its details and numbers and “Yes We Can!” spirit, our native critic, Blair Kamin, wasn’t particularly pleased, particularly with architectural plans, which were “supposed to be Chicago’s strong suit.” Kamin sees the whole thing as flawed by a design-by-committee mentality held by the Chicago 2016 planning group, with simply commissioning local/national/international starchitecture firm Skidmore, Owings & Merrill to stay in the background and serve as “mere advisers.” So what results with the Olympic Village in particular is a series of bland buildings, each handed over to a variety of architects with no particular focus to group them all together. Kamin sees this in stark opposition to the plans handed in by the Spanish and Japanese competitors who seem to understand the importance of “architecture that is environmentally responsible and packs aesthetic punch.” But while he isn’t head over heels at the moment, he believes it isn’t too late, assuming that, if the Olympics do land in Chicago, there’s still time to make things right in the planning.