This past Wednesday, the 16th, was the final GLFEA lecture of the year, featuring Mark Sexton of Krueck Sexton based in Chicago. Sexton’s lecture Past Present and Future looked at a project from the past, the present, however the largest theme of the speech had to do with the concepts of detail, light, and modernism. It was more than just three projects, but instead a peak into a philosophy. The three projects covered were the Spertus Institute of Jewish Studies, the Chicago Children’s Museum, and the Abrahamic Interfaith Center.
Interesting, each project shows a different face of the practicing profession. From that of Spertus, a competition setting that started with a wide swath of 75 participants, to the strangely smooth dealings with the city. Which is surprising considering the location of the center on the historic Michigan Ave strip, amongst buildings which were revolutionary for their time, in the dealings with light, which was also a focus of this project. The building that was crafted out of the intensive process which required iteration after iteration, which Sexton argues produces great architecture, was smart and very affordable. The project was truly exquisite for its exploration of what it means to be an architect, when everything goes right.
The Chicago Children’s Museum, happens to be just the opposite. It shows the craft of the profession when infighting and politics become the name of the game, which is more likely most of the time. Architecture is not insular and this process showed the effect that politics and newspapers and opinions of those who fall into the not-in-my-backyard camp can have on projects. However when this happens, as in this case the most stunning things is that it makes the architecture better, and even more responsive.
Finally, is the Abrahamic Interfaith Center. A project which is hardly likely to ever happen, however it provided the exploration of research within the firm environment. The project explored the interesting concept of alternative forms of measurement, and patterns that are infinitely repeating. For more information on the repeating patterns follow this link and watch the video. http://peterlu.org/