Olympics Lost, But Demolition of Gropius Building Goes Ahead

The Architect's Newspaper reports on the first demolition of a historic building on the Walter Gropius-designed Michael Reese hospital campus in Chicago, the proposed site of now-ditched plans for an Olympic Village.

"While Chicago's losing bid for the 2016 Summer Olympics was also seen as a major loss for the local architecture community, there was one small reason for celebration: Now that there was no pressing need for an Olympic Village, the Daley administration might delay or defer its plans for demolishing eight buildings designed by Walter Gropius at the Michael Reese hospital campus on the city's South Side.

No sooner did that celebration begin, though, than it became a wake. On Sunday, demolition crews began tearing down the Friends Convalescent Home, the first structure to be lost on the site. Asbestos abatement, which has kept the 28 buildings on the 37-acre campus standing months longer than expected, continues in those that remain, and while no others will be demolished immediately, they are expected to be gone by year's end."

Full Story: Last Gasp for Gropius?



Reuse and Olympic Blight

Environmentally, it is far better to reuse existing buildings than tear them down and build new. Demolition seems to be considered a positive, job creating enterprise when it actually results in enormous waste headed to the nation's landfills and incinerators.

The Olympics and other major sports events such as the World Cup leave a legacy of evictions of poor residents and standing structures that have little or no use after the games have left town. And in Chicago's case, the legacy was to have also included the loss of historic buildings.

Research has demonstrated that these events do not provide lasting gains for host cities but instead leave governments in debt and at loss.

Some Benefit

"Research has demonstrated that these events do not provide lasting gains for host cities but instead leave governments in debt and at loss."

Well, not everybody loses. You have to remember that certain politicians get power for bringing the games in, and certain politically favored companies get loads of money for building the infrastruture (and/or providing the land)... they're all big winners. It's just the regular everyday folks who get the short end of the stick before, during and after the games.


Ricardo, yep.

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