And Now There Is One

John Hill
25. March 2022
Cover of Lee Bey's 2019 book Southern Exposure (Image: Northwestern University Press)

Just over a year after Blair Kamin left his post at the Chicago Tribune, leaving the architecturally significant city with no architecture critics, the Chicago Sun-Times has announced Lee Bey will resume his post as architecture critic at the paper.

The news of Bey writing a monthly column on architecture for the Sun-Times was revealed on the blog of Robert Feder yesterday and then shared by Kamin and others on Twitter. Feder quotes Sun-Times interim editor in chief Steve Warmbir, who wrote to the paper's employees in an email: "We’re thrilled to have Lee back writing about architecture, since there’s no one better in Chicago." 

Bey actually served as architecture critic at the Sun-Times previously, from 1996 to 2001, before he left for a job in the office of Mayor Richard M. Daley, a post he held until 2004. The multifaceted — some might say restless from the length of his resumé — Bey has written, taught, and broadcasted at various venues in the years since, eventually returning to the Sun-Times in 2019 as an editorial board member. 

Bey's passion for architecture extends to photography, which is highlighted in the well-received Southern Exposure: The Overlooked Architecture of Chicago's South Side, published by Northwestern University Press in 2019. Recently this writer has come across numerous photographs Bey has taken for Chicago architects, indicating that he is keeping busy with that side of his career. It remains to be seen how architectural criticism and architectural photography — two complementary yet potentially conflicting aspects of architectural culture — will coexist with Bey's new role. We should get an idea next month when his column begins.

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