Blair Kamin includes Strawn + Sierralta in "Chicago Comes Back", highlighting the city's return as "America's architectural capital".
The article discusses the potential of emerging architects alongside built works by "Chicago Insiders", like Ralph Johnson, Jeanne Gang and Doug Garofalo, and "Chicago Outsiders", like Rem Koolhass, Ricardo Legorreta and Cesar Pelli.
CHICAGO COMES BACK
From the lakefront to the plains, a burst of architectural energy
"There is nothing quite so pitiful as an ex-heavyweight champion who loses his punch and puts himself on an analyst's couch. But metaphorically speaking, that was the state of Chicago architecture five years ago. The titles of the symposiums were telling: "Has Chicago Lost Its Nerve?" Or, in a nod to globalism: "Where in the World Is Chicago?" Even before then, prized commissions once monopolized by Chicago's talented architects were going to visiting stars, lending new relevance to the writer Nelson Algren's arch observation that Chicago had progressed from being the Second City to the Secondhand City. The wave of self-examination and the "starchitect" invasion represented the ultimate comedown for a toddlin', tough-guy town that once proudly and justifiably regarded itself as America's architectural capital.
Yet, as the AIA prepares to convene in Chicago for its annual convention, a remarkable revival is underway. The aesthetic timidity of the 1990s is gone. Bold Modernism is back. And while some of it comes from the pencil of visiting stars like Frank Gehry, whose exuberant music pavilion opens this summer in the new Millennium Park, many of the finest projects bear the stamp of leading local lights such as Helmut Jahn and Ralph Johnson. No longer moribund, either in its thinking or its building, Chicago has reasserted itself on several fronts, from new buildings that reanimate the city’s tradition of the building art to new faces, like Jeanne Gang, Brian Strawn, and Karla Sierralta, who promise to invigorate its architectural scene for years to come. Even Mayor Richard M. Daley, who long acted as a retro force, has publicly endorsed the cause of innovation and is pushing the envelope on green architecture..."
- BLAIR KAMIN, for ARCHITECTURAL RECORD
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