Jay Pritzker Pavilion

Frank Gehry
Chicago, Illinois

In the evening, I went to see the ballet at the Jay Pritzker Pavilion and the show was beautiful. Halfway through the second act, fireworks started going off at the other end of the city. Ballet and fireworks, it was a surprisingly good combination.

I’m currently reading Jane Jacob’s Life and Death of Great American Cities, halfway into the chapter where she talks about city parks. This chapter follows the chapters on importance of diversity in successful city streets, and thus she claims that it is important to site parks in a functionally, programatically, even racially diverse area because it will create continuous traffic. She also claims that people enjoy complexity. Rather than visual business, here she means complexity in the subtle changes in landscape, and complexity in program. Millenium Park seems to be a very successful example of urban renewal, sited in the midst of downtown, with programs including museums, gardens, stages, water features, sculpture gardens, and etc, connected through a series of steps, sculptural bridges and divided by trees and bushes. In the large, open greenspace, people are sprawled out lying down, reading, people watching, many of them chilling by themselves. It becomes a successful space when it encourages individuals come to relax in the greenery even without social obligations or other objectives.

Gehry’s bridge connecting the park to the Art Institute of Chicago.

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