I've left it late this week. More travel, more excuses (Seaside this time). I didn't really have time for this trip, but I’m certainly not complaining. Anyway, when mamma calls I pretty much have to show up. How about a follow-up to the Summer of Sullivan post from last week? No profound observations, just a tough question. 

Not conducive to blog writing.

After leaving the graveyard it was back to the Red Line and a trip downtown. I was a bit ahead of schedule and figured that I would go soak up some atmosphere before heading back out to ORD. I was definitely in a Chicago School frame of mind- the Marquette, the Rookery, the Monadnock, The Reliance, Carson Pirie Scott (again). Situated between Root’s Monadnock and Holabird & Roche’s Marquette is a composition by Mies. His two skyscrapers and postal station are organized around a plaza and Dearborn Street.  Y'all know that I love Mies- in fact I paid respects to him at Graceland as well. After soaking up Sullivan all summer, however, I couldn’t help but feel that the space Mies created is bankrupt (in spite of Calder’s flamingo that almost brings life to the space). Perhaps Venturi best summed up my thoughts at the time when he wrote, "less is a bore". Not to worry, I'm sure I'll be back to modernist self in no time.

I've still got love for Mies...
...on this day, however, his space did not move me.

So, naturally, it was off to the pub.  After a murderous day of walking (and it was still only 3:30), the London Pride hit the spot.  At the bottom of the pint glass I decided that I was not going back to Chattanooga. Why in the world would I leave Chicago? The place has the best architecture in America, superb public transit, excellent public spaces, and arguably the best food in the country. It is a city, a friendly and accessible city.

Reliance Building by Burnham & Root.
Nice, but no Sullivan.
The Rookery by Burham & Root.
Nice, but no Sullivan.

After the second pint, I admitted that I couldn't really stay in Chicago. I had class to teach the next day, and I was dying to see the family. As for the bigger question, I'm not sure I could actually live in Chicago. My excuses are numerous: I'm basically unemployable outside of Chattanooga, I abhor cold weather, there is no college football there, and it's not The South. But this does raise another question, one that I have no answer to...

The Marquette by Holabird & Roche.
Mies' plaza in foreground.

The Monadnock by Burham & Root.
Root, a Southerner, checked out at 41.
Way too early, what potential.
If there are things that I value in a city- density, design, activity, transit, food, nightlife- why would I not live in a place with those characteristics? Perhaps more pointedly- should we spend our lives trying to make a place conform to our desires, or should we move to a place that already exhibits those traits? Discuss…

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