The Good and Bad of Chicago Architecture: 20-Mile Races and Invasive Fish

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If Chicago is known for one thing, it’s, well, political cronyism. Two things, ahem, pizza and bratwurst. We should probably add troubled sports teams, miserable winters, and the mafia. But somewhere on that list of known things would be the city’s architecture. We’re the adopted home of Mies van der Rohe, the headquarters of SOM, and we have one of the largest collections of impressive modern buildings of any city across the world. But unfortunately, Chicago architecture is in turmoil. On the positive hand, the nation’s first ever architecture-themed foot race has been announced for this April, the Amazing Architecture Race, which will have runners tiredly zipping past more than 20 miles of our architectural goodies. On the negative side, we have the Asian carp, an invasive species of fish that’s been the talk of the town for the past couple of years (sort of like the killer bee scare of the ’80s and ’90s, but more local and water based…for now). How does this apply to architecture? If government officials aren’t able to slow down this most horrible of creatures’ momentum, the Chicago River may be closed to boat traffic for up to four days per week, which would effectively shut down one of the city’s most popular tourist activities: the River-based architecture cruises. There’s no official plan yet, so even though it’s still freezing out, you should still consider getting yourself on board one of these boats before it’s too late. Otherwise you’re going to have to run 20 miles to see it all and might have to battle evil fish every step along the way.