American Architecture

March 17, 2007

In response to Ken Hite‘s inquiry, I offer you ten bits of American architecture that I enjoy. These are in no particular order, though, perhaps not by chance, the first half are all in Chicago. You’re shocked, I can tell.

When thinking through this little idea, I came to a realization I’ll be chewing on for a while: Most of the things I really dig in American architecture aren’t specific structures, but kinds or styles of structures. I like train stations, especially when they’re elevated or palatial. I like American churches more than I tend to like American cathedrals. I like American factory buildings and other industrial buildings. I like bungalows. (Who doesn’t like a Craftsman bungalow?)

In general, though, I’m a little tired of the neo-Classical thing. By all rights, if we go by the degree to which I like to look at them, I should put things like the Field Museum and the Museum of Science and Industry and the Art Institute of Chicago (or at least its lions) in there. If we’re just talking about architecture that’s here in America, then I’m a big sucker for the Shedu at the Oriental Institute in Chicago.

For the record, I think of the Vietnam Veteran’s Memorial as sculpture, rather than architecture. If only to make more room on this list for things with rooves, I guess.

Auditorium Building
Glessner House
Carbide & Carbon Building
Chicago Board of Trade
Tribune Tower
Merchandise Mart
Quincy (Quincy and Wells Sts.) L Station
Chrysler Building
Cliff Palace
Lincoln Memorial


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