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Eyesore on Lake Shore No Longer a Landmark?

By Benjy Lipsman in News on Jul 21, 2004 3:15PM

In an announcement that has stunned Chicagoist (no, not really), the National Park Service has recommended that Soldier Field's landmark status be withdrawn and that the stadium also be removed from the National Register of Historic Places.

While the $660 million project was billed as a remodel of the existing stadium, in fact a modern stadium was shoe-horned into the old outer wall. The hideous outcome looks like a UFO landed on the old stadium. The National Park System Advisory Board agrees, stating in its report, "The futuristic new stadium bowl is visually incompatible with the classical colonnades and the perimeter wall of the historic stadium."

The UFO analogy seems especially apt for the west side of the stadium, where a curved silver mass hovers over the once grand colonnades.

When unveiled last fall, even Tribune architecture critic Blair Kamin couldn't refrain from calling it crashed spaceship. And he's got to know all sorts of proper architecture terms for writing criticism.

Sure, there is no continuity to the designs and the architects didn't even make an effort to match colors--the warm sandstone and the cold steel and glass stand in stark contrast. Doesn't the stadium get any extra-credit for doubling of concession stands and restrooms?