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Keynote Address by Blair Kamin and Opening Plenary


Blair Kamin, architecture critic for the Chicago Tribune, gave the keynote address at the Opening Plenary of the Second Annual Utah Preservation Conference on April 17, at the Auditorium of Utah Museum of Fine Arts on the campus of the University of Utah.

Click here for Blair Kamin's complete presentation.

Kamin is a graduate of Amherst College and the Yale School of Architecture, has been a critic with the Chicago Tribune for over 16 years, where he writes about the full range of the built environment--from highways to high-rises, parks to public housing, continuing a tradition of accessible but authoritative criticism. Kamin also serves as a contributing editor of Architectural Record magazine and was part of a team of editors, writers, photographers and critics for that magazine which in 2003 won the National Magazine Award for General Excellence. Kamin has lectured widely and has discussed architecture on programs ranging from ABC’s "Nightline" to NPR’s “All Things Considered.” In 2001, the University of Chicago Press published "Why Architecture Matters: Lessons from Chicago," a critically-acclaimed collection of his Chicago Tribune columns. He also wrote the commentaries for "Tribune Tower: American Landmark," a guide to the newspaper’s landmark, neo-Gothic skyscraper, first published in 2000.

Kamin is the recipient of more than 25 awards, including the Pulitzer Prize for Criticism, which he received in 1999 for a body of work highlighted by a series of articles about the problems and promise of Chicago’s greatest public space, its lakefront. Among his other honors are 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.

At the Opening Plenary, Pete Ashdown, Chair of the Utah Heritage Foundation Board of Trustees,  welcomed attendees to the conference.


Salt Lake City Mayor Ralph Becker gave opening remarks welcoming attendees to Salt Lake City and sharing the importance of preservation to the city. An advocate of historic preservation in Utah, Mayor Becker served for 11 years in the Utah State House of Representatives where he initiated a bill to include historic preservation in every city’s general plan. Mayor Becker’s previous work includes serving as the State Planning Coordinator and Deputy Director of the Governor’s Office of Planning and Budget under Governor Matheson. Mayor Becker co- founded Bear West, an environmental, planning and policy consulting firm and was a lawyer specializing in the environment, natural resources, public lands and land use. He has received several awards as a planner including Outstanding Service to the Planning Profession (1986), Utah Chapter, American Planning Association and Western Planner of the Year in 1997.

Following the address, the attendees visited reception held in UMFA's Grand Hall. The Opening Plenary, Keynote Address, and Reception were free and open to the public.