(Ed. note - We have asked guest blogger and former Sun-Times Architecture Critic Lee Bey to tell us about the high and low points in architecture from 2000-2009. Lee can be found at leebey.com)
Chicago was enjoying a building boom in 2000. Residential towers sprung up along the outskirts of downtown; townhouses and two flats did likewise, particularly on the North Side and South and West sides.
But there was this persistent buzz behind rumbling of construction equipment: from the graceless concrete residential slab towers in River North to neighborhood housing rendered with Ye Olde Tyme architectural detailing, much of what was being built looked pretty schlocky. And compared to the architectural razzle-dazzle happening in Europe and Asia, our new buildings looked tentative, staid and unremarkable. Chicago had lost its nerve.
Luckily, the city's architectural fortunes improved during the decade. Trump Tower swaggered onto the urban stage at 401 N. Wabash in 2007, becoming the tallest new building in North America since the Willis (nee Sears) Tower. Once the city finally remembered its heritage of making good-looking tall buildings, we got the noteworthy 62-story One Museum Park, designed by Pappageorge Haymes (on Roosevelt east of Michigan); Helmut Jahn's 41-story 660 N.