Tuesday, December 06, 2005

The current issue of Smithsonian features the Indiana town (pop. 39,000) of Columbus. I've mentioned it before as a great model for Elgin. Columbus is considered the 6th most important city in America, in terms of architecture. Quite an achievement. How did it happen?
In 1957, Miller, concerned about the uninspiring school buildings thrown up to meet the postwar baby boom, struck a deal with city officials, agreeing to pay the architect's fee if the city would commission first-rate designers he favored. The plan was so successful for public schools that Miller went on to defray the design costs for fire stations, public housing, hospitals and other community buildings. By the 1970s, great architecture had become part of Columbus' civic DNA; banks, apartment buildings and other private projects also hired top designers.
When will Elgin get its J. Irwin Miller, or should that role be played by the $20M the casino throws off each year?

Also not to be missed is the November issue of Architectural Record which showcases a number of new museums across the country, some of them in cities as small as or smaller than Elgin.


Post a Comment

<< Home