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Cubs Toyota Sign: Thumbs Down, Says Architecture Critic

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Chicago Tribune architecture critic Blair Kamin says in the Sunday edition that the new Toyota ad at Wrigley Field is “as ugly as the Cubs season”.

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While I don’t really care about the sign in general — it surely doesn’t interfere with watching baseball, bad as it is — Kamin has a point:

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The sign’s assorted parts create a whole that is glaringly vertical, rudely interrupting the nearly continuous horizontal sweep of the bleachers that was supposed to be protected by Wrigley’s official city landmark status. Shame on the Commission on Chicago Landmarks, the appointed guardians of Chicago’s historic treasures, for approving the sign. All the commission’s staff did was perfume the pig, insisting on tweaks, like replacing internal illumination for the sign with small projecting light fixtures that mimic those on Wrigley’s centerfield scoreboard.

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The sign was, as Kamin points out, placed where it is partly to block another ad on a rooftop; the Cubs owners have feuded with the owner of that rooftop in the past. I suspect if they had to do it all over, they wouldn’t have done this, particularly with this company, which has had troubles of its own in 2010.

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The Cubs’ deal with Toyota runs three years. I’m guessing the sign will be gone after that, perhaps replaced by virtual advertising such as you see behind the goals on television during Blackhawks games. That’s less obtrusive and could bring in just as many dollars.