Clipped From Chicago Tribune

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 - Gties make architects sing for their suppers By...
Gties make architects sing for their suppers By Blair Kamin The main public library is bursting at the scams. The city plans to construct a new building to replace it, and the library board wants to ask architects from around the country to compete to design the new structure. If it sounds like Chicago is about to flick the instant-replay switch on the architectural competition for the Harold Washington Library Center, guess again. This competition is being contemplated by Evanston officials, and it is one example of how Chicago and its suburbs arc beginning to follow a controversial practice that has altered the way municipalities across America spend millions of dollars for public buildings. By offering a wide range of design options, proponents say, competitions allow officials to tell which architect can give the public the most bang for its buck. But some experts acknowledge that, if poorly run, competitions can blow up in the face of officials who hope to reap publicity and votes from them. "They have an enormous amount of justifiable anxiety that someone will come into town and design a Walt Disney building and leave them stuck with it," says Jeff Ollswang, a principal of Design Competition Advisory Services in Milwaukee and a consultant to Evanston officials. Traditionally, municipalities have selected architects by virtue of their political connections or by seeking out designers with good track records in municipal buildings, then asking them to present their qualifications and examples of past pro jects. In contrast, competitions of the kind being considered by Evanston are open to national and international fields of architects, and often draw hundreds of designs. Instead of being selected by city officials, the winner is chosen by a jury of architectural experts and community representatives. This practice of selecting architects increased nationwide during the 1970s and 1980s. But it has been slow to catch on in the Chicago See Architect., pg. 4

Clipped from
  1. Chicago Tribune,
  2. 10 Jul 1988, Sun,
  3. Other Editions,
  4. Page 1

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