Obama’s Ode to Chicago Architecture: The President Speaks at the Annual Pritzker Architecture Prize Event

President Obama spoke yesterday at the annual Pritzker Architecture Prize event, in Washington D.C. The president lightheartedly admitted in his speech that there was a time when he wanted to be an architect more than he wanted to be a politician. He also admitted that it was the city of Chicago that first piqued his interest in architecture:

“As the Pritzkers and so many others here can attest, if you love architecture there are few better places to live than in my hometown of Chicago. It is the birthplace of the skyscraper—a city filled with buildings and public spaces designed by architects like Louis Sullivan, Frank Lloyd Wright and Frank Gehry, who is here tonight.

“In fact, the headquarters of our last campaign was in a building based on a design by Mies van der Rohe. And for two years, we crammed it full of hundreds of people working around the clock and surviving on nothing but pizza. I’m not sure if that’s what Mies had in mind, but it worked out pretty well for us.

“And that’s what architecture is all about. It’s about creating buildings and spaces that inspire us, that help us do our jobs, that bring us together, and that become, at their best, works of art that we can move through and live in. And in the end, that’s why architecture can be considered the most democratic of art forms.”

Obama went on to talk about the recipient of this year’s Pritzker Architecture Prize, Eduardo Souto de Moura. He also continued to talk about architecture in Chicago, going so far as to refer to the stadium Eduardo Souto de Moura designed in Braga, Portugal as a “Portugal’s version of Wrigley Field.”

A full copy of Obama’s speech can be found here. And more information about Chicago’s unique architectural landscape can be found here.

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