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  #61  
Old Posted Jan 5, 2014, 4:41 PM
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Originally Posted by hammersklavier View Post
I disagree.

Here are a park and plaza right next to each other. You'll note that the plaza is a windswept monstrosity, barely if ever used, and that the park--despite its renown--is no great shakes, either. Another plaza just to the south is being rebuilt into a nicer park. Nearly everybody in the area agrees, however, that that f**king plaza has got to go.
I won't launch into anything redundant here, but I will say this. You can't compare Philadelphia to Chicago. Philadelphia has a much shorter and warmer winter for starters. It also has very different CBD patters. But most of all, your argument is based upon a dedicated city park in the middle of downtown Philadelphia, a civic centerpiece that naturally attracts people. Chicago, in this case especially, is comparable only against itself. And in this case, the building's location and site placement predicate everything. Because the tower's location, anything with seating areas will see heavy use, park or plaza alike. My only point, in the most simplest way of saying it, is that I think this tower-in-park design is ugly and would look better as a hardscaped, well designed plaza that matches the modern aesthetic of the building itself.
     
     
  #62  
Old Posted Jan 5, 2014, 5:10 PM
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Originally Posted by LouisVanDerWright View Post
Daley Plaza, for example, is almost featureless except for a piece of public art, a fountain, and an eternal flame with flagpoles, yet it is one of the most successful public spaces in the country, if not the world.
Daley Plaza is successful? In what sense? Because on weekdays people cut across it rather than walk around it?

The ability to use it as a vacant lot where you can set up Bastille Day or Chicagoween or Christkindlmarkt is not what most urban designers would consider success in a plaza. Nor is having a few tables that nearby office workers will use out of desperation on a late spring day because nothing else is close enough. You could set up a stage and some folding chairs on a barge in Lake Calumet and the grandparents would still come and watch their granddaughters folk dancing.

A successful plaza is one that people are drawn to by choice, not because it's the shortest path from the subway to city hall. It's a rare urban design textbook that doesn't have Daley Plaza shown as "don't."


-----------------
Meanwhile, 150 North Riverside is the subject of the CAF Lunchtime Lecture on Wednesday, Jan. 8th.
     
     
  #63  
Old Posted Jan 5, 2014, 5:26 PM
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Originally Posted by Mr Downtown View Post
Daley Plaza is successful? In what sense? Because on weekdays people cut across it rather than walk around it?

The ability to use it as a vacant lot where you can set up Bastille Day or Chicagoween or Christkindlmarkt is not what most urban designers would consider success in a plaza. Nor is having a few tables that nearby office workers will use out of desperation on a late spring day because nothing else is close enough. You could set up a stage and some folding chairs on a barge in Lake Calumet and the grandparents would still come and watch their granddaughters folk dancing.

A successful plaza is one that people are drawn to by choice, not because it's the shortest path from the subway to city hall. It's a rare urban design textbook that doesn't have Daley Plaza shown as "don't."


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Meanwhile, 150 North Riverside is the subject of the CAF Lunchtime Lecture on Wednesday, Jan. 8th.
I understand what you're trying to do here. But come on man. Be real. Stand in Daley plaza for any amount of time during the summer, or any day when it's nice out, and tell me it again how it's not a highly successful urban space.
     
     
  #64  
Old Posted Jan 5, 2014, 6:11 PM
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A plaza is only successful if you have enough people using it everyday (when the weather warrants it) and the feeling of vibrancy is there. I'd consider Daley Plaza in the middle - it isn't non successful, but it's not really a great plaza. If I want a great plaza in the city, I go to Mariano Park or Connors Park, both in the Gold Coast. Daley Plaza is "meh" compared to them, basically because it lacks the vibrancy that these two other places have on a normal day.
     
     
  #65  
Old Posted Jan 5, 2014, 6:25 PM
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Chicago just ain't a plaza kind of town. It's not in the city's DNA. It's a city of parks, waterfronts, and buildings. Who cares? I mean...who...really...should care about this? So what if we can't be like Paris? Paris can't be Chicago either. Chicago is one of the most miserable cities on earth according to a recent article, so people are too miserable to sit around and feed pigeons. Besides, plazas downtown attract their share of homeless people, and why on God's green earth would I want to hang out next to them?
     
     
  #66  
Old Posted Jan 5, 2014, 7:04 PM
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Chicago just ain't a plaza kind of town. It's not in the city's DNA. It's a city of parks, waterfronts, and buildings. Who cares? I mean...who...really...should care about this? So what if we can't be like Paris? Paris can't be Chicago either. Chicago is one of the most miserable cities on earth according to a recent article, so people are too miserable to sit around and feed pigeons. Besides, plazas downtown attract their share of homeless people, and why on God's green earth would I want to hang out next to them?
Your view of them, in my opinion, is a little narrow for the city.
There are a few great plazas in town - I already mentioned two - and there's more. The city also has an initiative to develop more sites into plazas that are currently underused. Go to Mariano Park (Viagra Triangle) on a nice summer day, especially the weekend. The area is PACKED all day - it's one of the most vibrant areas of town and it's a plaza with only a few restaurants and bars near it. Homeless people? There's like one homeless guy that ever hangs out there, and then he's there for like 10 minutes. Everyone hanging out there is from the neighborhood and some tourists or people eating at places like Gibson's. If you think it's just full of homeless people, then you haven't hung out there lately very much.

Even south of there, Connors Park is where Argo Tea put a green house but a lot of outdoor space with seating (that is still public for the record). They did this because there was a plaza there, underutilized and residents were angry it was being used too much by the homeless. To say it has been successful would be true. No homeless people hang out there at night and when Argo is open and their seating is outside, there are a lot of people hanging outside and there's even free live music. I live right near here and the difference between 4 years ago and today with who hangs out in this one alone is stark.

I think your view of them is too narrow, honestly. These two plazas are great examples of it in Chicago and they're two working examples where homeless people are not hanging out at, but neighborhood residents are and they're vibrant, especially Mariano Park.
     
     
  #67  
Old Posted Jan 5, 2014, 7:29 PM
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^. In return for creating "parks" that are not designed to be used by the public, developers get FAR additions and credits for setback violations. It's all a kabuki act with the alderman taking credit for obtaining the "park for the people" while giving away the FAR and the setbacks to the developer.
Generally speaking, I agree with you. On this particular project though, there is not a FAR bonus being applied here, the development is only a 16 a FAR; which is the base zoning. This is in fact my only major gripe on the project, it's density is too low given the close proximity to the major train stations. NYC for example is allowing developers to bonus up to a 30 FAR near Grand Central Station as part of the recent upzonings that were applied to midtown. The former Medici Towers project proposed for this site some 13 years ago, while a architectural atrocity, had a better urban form and a program with higher density.

I do feel the "park" here will get major foot traffic, but its going to be primarily pass through commuters going to and from the train stations. I am a bit more open minded with park space along the river, which if designed properly is a enhancement of downtown's best asset. However this overall trend of the "country club entrances" is something I am not a fan of. 155 Wacker is probably my most hated example, especially because it necessitated the needless demolition of a row of increasingly rare historic low-rise Loop buildings for a lawn, trees and benches. 151 N Franklin handles it well as designed, with the plaza within the overall building footprint and a pocked park placed on the second floor with street-front retail at sidewalk level.
     
     
  #68  
Old Posted Jan 5, 2014, 7:40 PM
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The little war memorial park/plaza between State and Wab down on the river is one of my favorite spots in the city, but it's always nearly empty save for some very aggressive geese and the occasional homeless washing their clothes in the fountain. And you can't say that area doesn't get much foot traffic. It's probably passed by thousands every day who don't even notice it's there, because the view of it from the sidewalk is kind of obscured.

The same seems to go for most plazas or pocket parks that aren't highly visible from the sidewalk. What Daley has going for it is that it's impossible to miss it. 150N's and River Point's parks/plazas could very well be totally underutilized despite their premium locations because if you aren't paying attention you could miss them.

That fairly large park inside Lakeshore East comes to mind, too. If you didn't have a satellite map of the city you probably wouldn't know it existed, which is why despite its niceness it's usually about as crowded as a golf course.
     
     
  #69  
Old Posted Jan 5, 2014, 8:30 PM
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I'm surprised nobody's mentioned Exelon/First National Plaza. Great public space, with plenty of little nooks for a more intimate feeling and a TON of seating on the grand staircases to lure a lunchtime crowd. The designers resisted the urge to provide a blank slate like Daley or Federal Plaza, and surrounded the space with restaurants, a cafeteria, great art, and connections to the subways. It satisfies most of Jane Jacobs' and William H Whyte's criteria for successful urban spaces.

We can't have the vibrant year-round plaza culture of Italy or Spain because we don't have the climate, but that doesn't mean we can't create great spaces that fill up in the summer and are programmed in the winter.
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  #70  
Old Posted Jan 5, 2014, 8:33 PM
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We can't have the vibrant year-round plaza culture of Italy or Spain because we don't have the climate, but that doesn't mean we can't create great spaces that fill up in the summer and are programmed in the winter.
Exactly this. There is usefulness in it and the city already has a plan for it. Many people in the city are social and we all know how many people like to be outside when it's nice out. There are already a few proven plazas in town that absolutely fill up with people when it's nice out every day, and 99% of them are not homeless people.

Another one that could be great is Polish Triangle, especially if more housing was developed around there (the one new high rise there is a start). If you put out some chairs and tables, I guarantee people would start to fill it up when it's nice out.
     
     
  #71  
Old Posted Jan 5, 2014, 9:16 PM
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I don't think the Polish triangle plaza is that great. It's surrounded on all sides by tons of traffic zooming by and diesel exhaust. It seems like the last place I would want to linger. Maybe if the BRT comes to Ashland and reduces the traffic there?
     
     
  #72  
Old Posted Jan 5, 2014, 10:46 PM
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I don't think the Polish triangle plaza is that great. It's surrounded on all sides by tons of traffic zooming by and diesel exhaust. It seems like the last place I would want to linger. Maybe if the BRT comes to Ashland and reduces the traffic there?
Well, I didn't mean now. I meant if they developed the real estate and business surrounding it, it would be a good spot for the residents. It was targeted in the city's plans too.
     
     
  #73  
Old Posted Jan 6, 2014, 12:34 AM
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Green roof

It's not a tower in a park. It's a green roof. The alternative is a not green roof. Is that better? Nothing else is going to be built there. It's open space one way or another.
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  #74  
Old Posted Jan 6, 2014, 5:32 AM
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Originally Posted by Mr Downtown View Post
Daley Plaza is successful? In what sense? Because on weekdays people cut across it rather than walk around it?

The ability to use it as a vacant lot where you can set up Bastille Day or Chicagoween or Christkindlmarkt is not what most urban designers would consider success in a plaza. Nor is having a few tables that nearby office workers will use out of desperation on a late spring day because nothing else is close enough. You could set up a stage and some folding chairs on a barge in Lake Calumet and the grandparents would still come and watch their granddaughters folk dancing.

A successful plaza is one that people are drawn to by choice, not because it's the shortest path from the subway to city hall. It's a rare urban design textbook that doesn't have Daley Plaza shown as "don't."
How is it not successful? All you did is suggest that the only reason people ever go there is as a shortcut or to see some gimmicky tourist trap which we all know is completely false. Apparently critical mass doesn't exist and there has never been a protest in Chicago. Daley Plaza acts as a perfect civic center for everything from a space for a handful of pissed off Palestinians to complain about Zionists to a staging grounds for minor civil disobedience (critical mass), to an event space for seasonal attractions, to a simple outdoor lunchroom on warm summer days. I don't think I've ever seen less than a couple dozen people milling about there unless the weather is particularly heinous or it is late at night.

Now if you are looking for a European, restaurant lined, nightlife center, then go look at Viagra Triangle. But, that's simply not the only definition of a successful plaza. Daley Plaza is designed to be the heart of the city and it is incredibly adept at that. It is designed to take a beating and to be ultimately flexible. It is designed to be loud, to handle huge crowds, to be open. It is not designed to be some quaint, quiet, nook in the South of Spain. Nor would such a plaza even be possible in Chicago (outside of a few locations which have already been discussed here) simply due to the nature of our grid and climate. It is just not possible to create vibrant spaces lined with restaurants when you are working with entire Chicago city blocks. That is ultimately why spaces like Connors Park and Viagra Triangle are much more successful at filling the "vibrant nightlife nook" than a civic center like Daley Plaza. They are small triangular slivers while Daley is an entire city block dedicated to the idea that a city should have a central meeting grounds.

Going back to the original topic: That's exactly why I think 150 N Riverside should be hardscaped. I think we could use another durable, flexible, open, hard surface in the West Loop given the general trajectory of the area.
     
     
  #75  
Old Posted Jan 6, 2014, 6:50 AM
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It's not a tower in a park. It's a green roof. The alternative is a not green roof. Is that better? Nothing else is going to be built there. It's open space one way or another.
You know. That's exactly what I was thinking a few hours ago. While driving down Lake, on my way to the Hawks game I thought... who really gives a shit? At least a pretty cool looking building is getting built.
     
     
  #76  
Old Posted Jan 6, 2014, 3:08 PM
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Details and Plazas

First, Mr. D., thanks for clarifying what is meant by good detailing in modern architecture. I'm sorry, but the vast majority of B&L's designs set the bar way, way too low with yes, poor detailing and substandard quality of materials.

Daley Plaza, on the other hand, Mr. D., you are totally wrong about. As someone hit upon a few posts up, If this plaza was empty 90% of the time (which it isn't, not by a long shot), it would still be a huge, huge success based upon all of the civic demonstrations, etc. that it has engendered. I can't tell you how many times I've been in that plaza, full of civic pride, with large crowds whether I am attending political rallies (such as Clinton/Gore back in 1992) or simply gathering with other cyclists for the monthly critical mass ride. The place is indispensable to this city and I can't possible imagine it without it.
     
     
  #77  
Old Posted Jan 6, 2014, 3:17 PM
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Brutalist plazas in general are failures. Daley, Federal, Reyburn, (Boston) City Hall...The complete, total, and irrevocable failure of the Brutalist plaza is something that the architectural profession has never come to grips with (and as certain posts here show) are still in denial about. If you don't learn from your mistakes you're doomed to repeat them.

I agree that since part of the 150 N. Riverside site is an overbuild, and the architecture proposed requires a striking view, a large part of the site will never be anything other than a glorified green roof. And that's fine...on Lake. But on Randolph, minimal urban interventions help keep the transition from the Loop to the West Loop vital while not creating the minor border vacuum that a corporate park tends to.
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  #78  
Old Posted Jan 6, 2014, 5:25 PM
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Daley Plaza acts as a perfect civic center for everything from a space for a handful of pissed off Palestinians to complain about Zionists to a staging grounds for minor civil disobedience (critical mass), to an event space for seasonal attractions, to a simple outdoor lunchroom on warm summer days.
By those standards, a high school lunchroom is "successful" because the Gay-Straight Alliance is allowed to meet there.

A successful plaza attracts people, it doesn't merely allow them to be there. Have you ever in your life heard someone say they wanted to visit Daley Plaza (as opposed to seeing the Picasso or shopping the Christkindlmarkt)? Or even just hang out there, people-watching?
     
     
  #79  
Old Posted Jan 6, 2014, 5:34 PM
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Have you ever in your life heard someone say they wanted to visit Daley plaza[?]
I have, but they were pretty big Blues Brothers fans. (http://www.moviefanatic.com/quotes/t...tions-are-cor/)
     
     
  #80  
Old Posted Jan 6, 2014, 5:37 PM
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Originally Posted by hammersklavier View Post
Brutalist plazas in general are failures. Daley, Federal,
Uhhhhh, neither Daley Plaza nor Federal Plaza in Chicago are Brutalist.

as for daley plaza being a complete failure, i can't think of a more beautiful civic space that i ever seen anywhere else on our planet.
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