Sunday, April 17, 2005

"Architecture Days" and "Preserve and Play"

Two architectural conferences breeze into town this May. One looks like a waste. The other looks like good fun, if you're into that sort of thing.

The first, Architecture Days, is a commercial effort sponsored by Architectural Digest magazine. It runs in Los Angeles from April 27 to May 3 and in Chicago from May 4 through the 10th. Then, it closes out in New York City from the 11th through the 17th. I guess they're hoping their wealthy readers will jet set from one city to another because, although I received a flyer inserted in my Sunday Trib, they can't seriously expect Chicagoans to attend.

The list of featured tours includes Millennium Park, Modern Loop Skyscrapers, and Greater North Michigan Avenue. In other words, tours that are available around the calendar from the Chicago Architectural Foundation or that you and I could do ourselves. And, they're charging double what CAF charges ($25 vs. $12 for non-members.) Except for the fact that Digest readers are loaded, it smells like a giant rip off to me. Hope they have a nice time and head to New York. We can't really be bothered with it.

The other conference sounds more compelling if not a little sleepy -- Preserve and Play: Preserving Historic Recreation and Entertainment Sites. It runs from May 5 - 7 at the Intercontinental Hotel, and features seminar titles like "Music Under the Stars: Restoring a Community Bandshell" and "History Sells: The Making of an Amusement Park into a National Landmark." If you're into this kind of nichey thing, a lot of the seminars look cool. Another highlight will be Witold Rybczynski's keynote address on Thursday, May 5. His book Home: A Short History of an Idea is among my favorites.

Unfortunately, the conference is way pricey -- beginning at $175 for students and $345 for professionals. I received the brochure in the mail just two days ago, but the cut off for a discounted rate ($290) was April 12. I don't see any options for a one-day passes, which is too bad. I don't think I'll be going. If you go, please take a moment and leave a comment about your experiences. Thanks.

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