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A well designed building that any architect would be proud to have in his portfolio. Thanks for reporting on architecture for the ordinary client. Thanks for showing the floor/site plan too!
As a piece of sculpture Aqua is intriguing. As a work of architecture, it is flawed. It is interesting that this article omits photos taken from the street. When experienced from the street, the building sits on the base that has the detail and grace of a 1960's suburban strip mall. The building fails at a human scale, i.e. at street level. I thought architects learned their lessons after seeing how some of the great monumental structures like Hancock, Sears, and Standard worked beautifully as monuments but failed at the street level. (How many times has Hancock’s plaza been redesigned?) Even some of the post modern buildings we like to poke fun at now recognized the need to engage people at the street and, as such, had well articulated bases, crafted of rich materials and detail. Whether it succeeds at a monumental scale is debatable - as its waves, which distinguish it from just being a boxy stack of concrete slab pancakes, can only be experienced at certain angles and vantage points. View Aqua from Fidelity Plaza (Michigan Ave & the river) and it reads as another one of the anonymous, anti-urban boxes of Illinois Center. To me this building is a one-liner, or basically a gimmick. From a superficial vantage point, or simply as “magazine architecture”, it delights. But, the majority of the time it disappoints.
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May 5, 2010