Sullivan Center, Chicago (Photo: Michael Tercha, Chicago Tribune)

A towering achievement: The record-shattering Burj Khalifa, which soars a half-mile above Dubai’s desert floor, took its place as one of the world’s great skyscrapers — not simply a technical feat but an aesthetic one as well. Chicago architect Adrian Smith and his former colleagues at the Chicago office of Skidmore, Owings & Merrill avoided the trap of a Frankenstein monster with a classic Chicago synthesis of architecture and engineering.

A dialogue of masters: London architect Norman Foster struck up a marvelous architectural conversation with the late Frank Lloyd Wright in his precisely honed Fortaleza Hall in Racine, Wis., the first major construction on the S.C. Johnson campus since Wright’s iconic research tower of 1950. Foster’s multipurpose building, whose centerpiece is a luminous atrium housing a replica of a historic plane, superbly juxtaposes today’s extroverted, lightweight construction with Wright’s conspicuously inward-turning architecture.


Blair Kamin
Chicago Tribune