New American Beauties
Architect: Spain's Santiago Calatrava
Cost: $75 million
Famous for his train stations, Calatrava gave Milwaukee's 115-year-old art museum a Jetsonesque addition with a massive sun shade weighing 100 tons. The shade opens and closes to regulate light and temperature inside the city's instant tourist attraction.
Walt Disney Concert Hall, Los Angeles
Architect: Frank Gehry
Cost: $274 million
In 1987 Disney's widow, Lillian, gave $50 million toward building L.A.'s concert hall, a stainless-steel-skinned beauty with curves made possible by software first developed for Boeing. Opened in October—six years after Lillian's death—the 2,265-seat auditorium has floral carpeting. "She loved flowers," the architect told The New York Times. "It's sad she'll never see it."
McCormick Tribune Campus Center, Chicago
Architect: Holland's Rem Koolhaas
Cost: $48.2 million
Ah, the yin and yang of it. In the background a gray, rectilinear mass of buildings by 20th-century master builder Ludwig Mies van der Rohe for the Illinois Institute of Technology; up front, current architectural It Boy Koolhaas's new student center, with splashes of orange and a 530-ft. tube through which Chicago's elevated trains pass. This is Koolhaas's first major U.S. building and it was worth the wait, say his fans.
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