Two weeks ago in this spot, I discussed the late Chicago architect Harry Weese's wedge-shaped Swissotel, an under heralded bit of architecture that looks so fresh after 20 years, its worth walking over to east Wacker Drive to get reacquainted.
Of course, it got me to thinking about Weese's other downtown standout--and, man, does it stand out: the William J. Campbell U.S. Courthouse Annex, better known as the Metropolitan Correctional Center, 71 W. Van Buren.
Built in 1975, here is a building that on paper had everything going against it: a jail, made out of concrete--because, well, you'd want that kind of thing in a jail--and with windows small enough to prevent people from escaping. And it had to go in downtown Chicago near an expressway, no less, on a confined site where there was no where to build but up.
Thanks goodness the Federal Bureau of Prisons gave the job to Weese, who, with his firm Harry Weese & Associates, was a master problem-solver who possessed a genuine respect for Chicago and, its skyline and its streetscape.