Daley Bulldozers At It Again

An Olympic legacy after all

By Steve Rhodes
|  Friday, Oct 30, 2009  |  Updated 12:55 PM CDT
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Daley Bulldozers At It Again

www.savemrh.com

They're coming down whether you like it or not.

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There won't be an Olympic Village on the site of the old Michael Reese Hospital, but the city has started demolishing the Gropius
buildings there anyway, much to the horror of preservationists and architecture lovers.

"Savage," writes Chicago Tribune architecture critic Blair Kamin.

"Outrage," writes the Britain's Architects Journal.

"Daley needs to call off the bulldozers," writes Sun-Times business reporter and columnist David Roeder.

But that's not Daley's style. The last thing he wants is a festering debate over which buildings to save and what to do with the land - even if there are no concrete plans yet for just that. It's Meigs Field in slow motion.

"So why the rush?" writes Lynn Becker at Architecture Chicago. "Plain and simple: to end an argument. To destroy Michael Reese lest more people discover its quality and begin asking uncomfortable questions. Scorched earth as an expression of raw power."

A casualty to an Olympic Games that isn't even coming here.

"It is the first major Gropius work of a permanent nature to be demolished in decades," says Grahm Balkany of the Gropius in Chicago Coalition. "In fact, one can count on two hands the number of such Gropius permanent architectural projects that ever were demolished."

Who said losing the Olympics would leave the mayor without a legacy?

Steve Rhodes is the proprietor of The Beachwood Reporter, a Chicago-centric news and culture review.

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