The famous French thinker Rene Descartes said “cogito ergo sum,” –  “I think, therefore I am.” A Hungarian newsman reinvented it thus: I am indignant, therefore I am.” He used indignation to illustrate his mood after he probed society, people and their actions and felt disappointed. This writer is reminded of his discouragement and indignation because he is indignant also.

He has been writing these articles in the RoundTable for over 12 years and in the very first article in November, 2001, bemoaned the fact that aldermen, however bright, are mostly uneducated and ill-informed in matters aesthetic. Therefore, he recommended the City of Evanston appoint an advisory committee on aesthetic issues – architects, urban planners, graphic designers. Not a binding committee, merely advisory.  They never did.

So now the proposed Visitor’s Center at Northwestern University – a glorified garage building – will block the precious lake view. This should not happen. Since a heavy majority of the aldermen voted for this heavy-handed proposal, one can only be upset.

That concern is only magnified now that so many new buildings are under construction, or proposed to be built all over the City. Who is watching? 

Who is representing the many residents with architectural judgment and taste?  Based on observation, the first building to be completed will be a huge rental building on the southwest corner of Chicago Avenue and Kedzie Street, a building that promises to be an insult to the sensibilities of the community.  Since the architect’s name is nowhere to be seen, one can only assume even he is ashamed.

This writer is not only indignant, he is disgusted. Disgusted with the designing architect, with the developer, the City Council, the whole group that has any degree of control. The architect takes his fee and leaves, the developer makes his money and leaves and the residents live with the resulting visual insult. Disgusting and infuriating.