Illinois State Library

Illinois Center for the Book

Individual Author Record

General Information

Name:  Blair Kamin  

Pen Name: None

Genre: Non-Fiction

Audience: Adult;

Born: in Red Bank, New Jersey

-- Website --,0,5519775.htmlstory
-- Blair Kamin on WorldCat --

Illinois Connection

The author lives in Chicago.

Biographical and Professional Information

Kamin has been an architecture critic for the Chicago Tribune since 1992. He also serves as a contributing editor of ''Architectural Record'' magazine and was part of a team of editors, writers, photographers and critics for the magazine which in 2003 won the National Magazine Award for General Excellence. He has lectured widely and has discussed architecture on programs ranging from ABC's "Nightline" to WTTW-Channel 11's "Chicago Tonight."Kamin is the recipient more than 30 awards, including the Pulitzer Prize for Criticism. He has also won the George Polk Award for Criticism (1996), the American Institute of Architects' Institute Honor for Collaborative Achievement (1999) and the AIA's Presidential Citation, conferred in 2004 in appreciation of the "rhapsodies and scoldings" that have brought architecture to the attention of Chicago's public.

Published Works Expand for more information

Titles At Your Library

Terror and Wonder: Architecture in a Tumultuous Age
ISBN: 0226423115

University of Chicago Press. 2010

For more than twenty years now, Blair Kamin of the Chicago Tribune has explored how architecture captures our imagination and engages our deepest emotions. A winner of the Pulitzer Prize for criticism, Kamin treats his subjects not only as works of art but also as symbols of the cultural and political forces that inspire them. Terror and Wonder gathers the best of Kamin’s writings from the past decade along with new reflections on an era framed by the destruction of the World Trade Center and the opening of the world’s tallest skyscraper.

Assessing ordinary commercial structures as well as head-turning designs by some of the world’s leading architects, Kamin paints a sweeping but finely textured portrait of a tumultuous age torn between the conflicting mandates of architectural spectacle and sustainability. For Kamin, the story of our built environment over the past ten years is, in tangible ways, the story of the decade itself. Terror and Wonder considers how architecture has been central to the main events and crosscurrents in American life since 2001: the devastating and debilitating consequences of 9/11 and Hurricane Katrina the real estate boom and bust the use of over-the-top cultural designs as engines of civic renewal new challenges in saving old buildings the unlikely rise of energy-saving, green architecture and growing concern over our nation’s crumbling infrastructure.

A prominent cast of players―including Santiago Calatrava, Frank Gehry, Helmut Jahn, Daniel Libeskind, Barack Obama, Renzo Piano, and Donald Trump―fills the pages of this eye-opening look at the astounding and extraordinary ways that architecture mirrors our values―and shapes our everyday lives.

Why Architecture Matters: Lessons from Chicago
ISBN: 0226423220

University of Chicago Press. 2003

For more than a decade, Pulitzer Prize-winning Chicago Tribune architecture critic Blair Kamin has been writing fiery, intelligent essays on the state of contemporary architecture. His subjects range from high-rises to highways, parks to public housing, Frank Lloyd Wright to Frank Gehry. Why Architecture Matters collects the best of Kamin's acclaimed columns, offering both a look at America's foremost architectural city and a taste of Kamin's penetrating, witty style of critique.

Tribune Tower: American Landmark
ISBN: 0615115659

Tribune Company. 2000

The complete guide to a great Chicago skyscraper. The history, architecture, and design of this landmark building.


Kamin is the recipient of the Pulitzer, which he received in 1999 for a body of work highlighted by a series of articles about the problems and promise of Chicago's lakefront.

Speaking Engagements

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