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"We now live in a culture of infinite choices," says Chicago Tribune's architecture critic, Blair Kamin. "You go to Home Depot and there are 60 different kinds of floors you can put in your basement, whereas in 1950 you would have had two. A lot of our architecture is like that." Kamin is explaining how the boxy skylight vaults of Steven Holl's sensuous Bloch Building at the historicist Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in Kansas City, Missouri, consist of myriad customized pieces made possible through digitally enabled design and construction. "Holl's notion of the complementary contrast is a welcome shift from the polarizing contrast, like Chicago's Soldier Field," he says. "This is a project that adds on a new layer, while respecting the past."

As much as Kamin may consider the Bloch to have been among the more significant buildings to open in 2007, he passionately believes that urban issues, low- and middle-income housing, and sustainability need the most attention from critics. He references Chicago projects like John Ronan's Gary Comer Youth Center, Krueck + Sexton's Spertus Institute, and even Santiago Calatrava's unbuilt, 2,000-foot Chicago Spire as important new works that address sustainability by reinforcing the urban realm.