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Phoenix Mayor "gets" modern architecture better than Chicago Mayor?

by LiveModern Webmaster last modified Dec 21, 2012 01:04 AM
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by Edward Lifson ( last modified Dec 20, 2012



Folks like to make fun of Phoenix architecture and sprawl. 
Chicago likes to consider itself the first city of American Architecture. 
But this year, when it came to preserving important modern works....

In Phoenix, Frank Lloyd Wright's David and Gladys Wright house of 1952, which Frank Lloyd Wright designed for his son and daughter-in-law, was threatened with demolition. 

Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton was an early advocate to save it.   

The house sold this week and will survive. Mayor Stanton said that's "an early Christmas present for the people of the Phoenix and the world." He rightly added, "This is a great piece of architecture, and we're so proud and honored that it will be preserved for generations to come." He probably understands that great architecture can also add to a city's bottom line. 

In Chicago, preservationists have been fighting to save Bertrand Goldberg's Prentice Women's Hospital (1975), which Northwestern University owns and plans to demolish. 

Prentice Women's Hospital Circa 1975 Hedrich Blessing Collection- Chicago History Museum.

Chicago's Mayor Rahm Emanuel wrote last October, when the building might have been saved, "It is clear that the current building cannot accommodate the groundbreaking research facility that Northwestern needs to build, and I support the decision to rebuild on the site." Emanuel wrote that he believes that a new Northwestern medical research center on that site will drive a scientific research hub, promote job growth, and bring in grant money. Preservationists say Northwestern could have all that, and keep- what they consider to be- the easily adaptable old Prentice building. 

Chicago's Mayor Emanuel added, "I know not everyone will agree with my viewpoint on this, I appreciate the position of the preservationists and their passion. I understand that Chicago’s architectural heritage is part of the city’s magnetic pull and a critical piece of what makes Chicago a world-class city." 

But he can't save it. In Phoenix, of all places, they find a solution.  

Yes, the two cases are different, but where there's a will there's a way. 



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