As I noted here last week, almost everybody has weighed in against Chicago’s new Soldier Field–so much so that the temptation to buck the trend must have been all but irresistible to New York Times architecture critic Herbert Muschamp. So what do you get when an irresistible urge hits an unmistakable eyesore? An explosion of jargon-rich apologetics.
I call this type of design parabuilding: it is the modern tick on the postmodern host….Here modernity erupts with the jubilance of a prodigal returned.
As for those who have lamented the way the new design caters to the relatively few who will enter the stadium, at the expense of taxing the senses of the many who have to drive by it every day, Muschamp directs them to take their medicine and like it:
…implicit in such criticisms is the assumption that the city should somehow operate outside the economic system we have developed for ourselves in the post-cold-war world. Perhaps it should. Until that dubious prospect is realized, however, we shouldn’t expect our architects to do more than aestheticize the actual urban condition.
I think I’d prefer it if he just came out and called all of us who hate it philistines.
(By the way, neither the photos accompanying this story nor the live shots that appeared on “Monday Night Football” effectively convey how alarmingly the new bowl dwarfs and impinges on the old colonnade. There are gorgeous views of the stadium available, for sure; it just happens that the commonly accessible views are not among them.)