Update: UNStudio’s Burnham Pavilion to Close for Repairs

Last week in an article titled This Is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things, I wrote about how tourists and visitors are damaging UNStudio’s contribution to the 100th anniversary of the Burnham Plan for Chicago.

Ben van Berkel’s sometimes-called “Light Table” pavilion at Millennium Park (25 North Michigan Avenue) has been scarred by hordes of unruly children and teens who were never taught to respect art or the property of others.  Worse, they were enabled by parents who failed to admonish them, seeing the architecture as a jungle gym and temporary babysitter.

I took an unusual amount of flack for what I wrote from people who suggested that there’s nothing wrong with children destroying the built environment.  And since children behave like animals at the Daley Plaza Picasso, they should be allowed to destroy other works around the city.

Well, in keeping with your mother’s admonition of “This is why we can’t have nice things” since the city of Chicago can’t behave, it’s having its toy taken away.

According to the Chicago Tribune, The Light Table will be closed for repairs starting Tuesday.  The damage is so extensive that the director of the Burnham Plan Central Committee told the Trib that if the repairs aren’t done, the pavilion might not survive until Halloween, the scheduled end of its run in Millennium Park.

Attention is also being turned to Zaha Hadid’s Z-Pod installation.  As we showed you a couple of days ago, within hours of its unveiling the offspring of those with bad parenting skills were already trying to climb the fabric, leaving footprints on other people’s hard work.  Now, the Tribune article continues, the structure’s more sensitive areas may be cordoned off with a railing.

We’ll see if that protects the structure, or just serves as a launching pad or another piece of playground equipment from which young vandals-in-training can swing.

Author: Editor

Editor founded the Chicago Architecture Blog in 2003, after a long career in journalism. He can be reached at chicagoarchitectureinfo@gmail.com.

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