Mind the Gap

I find nothing about riding a swing stage inherently scary.  To me its just like a moving balcony.  There is one thing that may wrack the nerves and that’s the gap.  It’s the space between the swing stage and the building, which usually amounts to no more than a few inches, but you can still see from the top of the building all the way to the ground below.  As long as you mind the gap and don’t look down (which is impossible to do – you have to see just how far up you really are) than riding a swing stage is no different from being on terra firma.  Other than the fact that the swing stage affords awesome views, especially in a city like Chicago.

Today I was on swing stage on one of my favorite Chicago buildings, the CNA Center.  There is nothing spectacular about the building; its run of the mill Modern, but the brick red color really makes it a unique member of the Chicago skyline.  The job at hand was to inspect the paint, which over the course of the last year, was repainted and to perform a critical facade examination.  While it was all business on the swing stage, time on the roof between drops gave me the opportunity to snap some great shots of Chicago from the gravitity defying height of 46 stories or 600 feet.

The Chicago Skyline from the CNA Center

The Chicago Skyline from the CNA Center

While on the roof I also noticed that Zaha Hadid’s Millenium Park/Daniel Burnham Centennial Pavilion was finally completed and open.  So after work I headed over to Millennium Park to check it out.  You may remember my review of the UNStudio Pavilion, from last week.  Well, the UNStudio Pavilion wins, hands down.  The only way I can describe Hadid’s pavilion is, boring.  It works from one perspective, and that is when its framed by the amazing Chicago skyline.

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Zaha Hadid's Pavilion with the Chicago Skyline

While the UNStudio Pavilion was interactive and invited the user to experience the space, the Hadid pavilion actually puts off the user.  It felt more like an art installation than a pavilion.  It’s tight and enclosed within the cloth shell and the roof openings are capped with plastic.  Apparently it glows a multitude of colors at night (and I do plan to check them both out at night) but again this will simply enhance its aesthetics and not its user interactiveness.  And Hadid’s pavilion totally ignores the UNStudio pavilion.  This doesn’t excite me to see any more Hadid projects.

For more pictures from the CNA Center, as well as, the Hadid Pavilion follow this link to a higher resolution gallery.

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