WBEZ | Preservation Chicago http://www.wbez.org/tags/preservation-chicago Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Kanye: 'The world can be saved through design' http://www.wbez.org/blogs/lee-bey/2013-11/kanye-world-can-be-saved-through-design-109178 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/20131118_kanye_harvard.jpg" alt="" /><p><p><iframe align="middle" allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" scrolling="no" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/xDbVz-7WH2o" width="420"></iframe></p><div class="image-insert-image ">Kanye West popped into a <a href="http://www.gsd.harvard.edu/#/news/all-news/feed.html">Harvard Graduate School of Design</a> studio earlier this week to talk architecture.</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">Yes, yes: West often comes off as a self-aggrandizing tool who beefs with presidents &mdash; and that&#39;s both Bush and Obama &mdash; and has frequent run-ins with the paparazzi.</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">But give him a listen here. West is smart, sensitive and has a feel for design; the creative process and the results those things should bring.</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&quot;I really do believe that the world can be saved through design and everything needs to actually be &#39;architected,&#39; &quot; he says in the video above made by Harvard GSD student Flavio Sciaraffia.</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">West visited the studio Sunday, on invitation from the school&#39;s African American Students Union, and gave students 300 tickets to see his show in Boston that night.&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&quot;I believe that utopia is actually possible &mdash; but we&#39;re led by the least noble, the least dignified, the least tasteful, the dumbest, and the most political,&quot; he told students. &quot;So in no way am I a politician. I&#39;m usually at my best politically incorrect and very direct. &nbsp;I really appreciate you guys&#39; willingness to learn and hone your craft, and not be lazy about creation.&quot;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">West&#39;s remarks are also another example of his (and hip hop&#39;s) interest in architecture and design.</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&quot;I want to do product, I am a product person,&quot; West told BBC1 a few months ago. &quot;Not just clothing, but water bottle design, architecture ... I make music, but I shouldn&#39;t be limited to once place of creativity.&quot;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">And if <a href="http://www.icecube.com/">Ice Cube</a>, the actor and former member of rap group N.W.A,&nbsp;still counts, two years ago <a href="http://www.wbez.org/blog/lee-bey/2011-12-09/ice-cube-chills-designs-charles-and-ray-eames-94756">he expressed his love</a> for the work of&nbsp;American designers<span style="background-color: rgb(255, 255, 255); color: rgb(34, 34, 34); font-family: arial, sans-serif; font-size: 13px; line-height: 16px;">&nbsp;</span><a href="http://eamesoffice.com/charles-and-ray/">Charles and Ray Eames</a>.</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">For years now, rap and hip hop music videos have often brilliantly documented the beauty and scale of urban spaces. Their desolation and abandonment, too.</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">One standout is the West-directed 2005 music video for Common&#39;s &quot;The Corner.&quot; The minor masterpiece showcases Chicago&#39;s built environment, beginning with the places formed by those utopian ideals he talked about, and then travels to the spots where politically-shaped and contested spaces hold sway.</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image "><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/6mnKNr2Tiq8" width="560"></iframe></div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">Speaking of contested spaces: <a href="http://www.preservationchicago.org/">Preservation Chicago</a>, the Chicago Film Archives and Kartemquin Films tonight are <a href="http://www.chicagofilmarchives.org/current-events/vanishing-neighborhoods">screening three short and rarely-seen 16mm films</a> that documented the demolition, change and tumult in Chicago during the 1960s and 1970s.</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">One of the films, DeWitt Beall&#39;s &quot;A Place to Live,&quot; was <a href="http://www.wbez.org/blogs/lee-bey/2013-01/place-live-newly-resurfaced-60s-film-sought-humanize-chicagos-urban-renewal">featured in this blog</a> earlier this year.</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">The group will also show<em>&nbsp;&quot;</em>Kali Nihta, Socrates,&quot;<em> </em>a short that looks at the demolition of the Greektown neighborhood in the 1960s and &quot;Now We Live On Clifton,&quot;&nbsp;a documentary about two kids who fear &mdash; and rightfully so, as it turns out&mdash; that gentrification will force them out of their multiracial Lincoln Park neighborhood in the 1970s.</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image "><strong><a href="http://www.chicagofilmarchives.org/current-events/vanishing-neighborhoods">The screening</a> will begin at 7:30pm at Comfort Station, 2579 N Milwaukee Ave. Admission is free.&nbsp;</strong></div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image "><em>Lee Bey writes about architecture at WBEZ. Follow him on Twitter <a href="https://twitter.com/LEEBEY">@LeeBey</a>.</em></div></p> Tue, 19 Nov 2013 05:00:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/lee-bey/2013-11/kanye-world-can-be-saved-through-design-109178 A historic Chicago church says good-bye to its bells http://www.wbez.org/sections/religion/historic-chicago-church-says-good-bye-its-bells-106708 <p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/bell.jpg" title="St. James Church in Bronzeville has been closed for almost four years. Despite parishioners’ efforts to save the church, it’s starting to be slowly dismantled. (Adriana Cardona/WBEZ)" /></p><p>Workers took down the bells at St. James Church in Chicago&rsquo;s Bronzeville neighborhood Wednesday.<br /><br />The Archdiocese of Chicago plans to demolish the 137-year-old building, despite efforts by the Friends of Historic St. James, a group of parishioners that have been advocating to save the church.<br /><br />&ldquo;I think the cold and rainy weather reflects the sadness and tears that many of us have seeing these bells being removed,&rdquo; said Dave Samber, who&rsquo;s at the forefront of the advocacy efforts. &ldquo;This is the beginning of what could very well be an end, but it doesn&rsquo;t have to be.&rdquo;</p><p>Samber said his group, the Friends of Historic St. James, still has time to reverse the Archdiocese&rsquo;s decision. Parishioners appealed to the Vatican earlier this month to halt the demolition and to suspend the removal of parochial goods, and are waiting to hear back.</p><div class="image-insert-image ">A private real estate developer has said he&rsquo;s committed to investing $5 million to help restoration efforts.</div><p>But the Archdiocese of Chicago said the total cost for restoration is $12 million. In a statement, the Archdiocese said it can&rsquo;t afford to renovate the building and instead will invest $7 million to build a new church a block away on Michigan Avenue.</p><p>&ldquo;The Archdiocese feels that it would be fiscally irresponsible to renovate the existing building &hellip; The new St. James Church will better serve the parish, the parishioners and the community in the future,&rdquo; the statement said.</p><p>According to the Archdiocese, the new St. James Church will seat 500 people. In the meantime, the parish will hold mass in its current parish center, and operate its food pantry, as it&rsquo;s been doing while the church building has been vacant.</p><p>The organ and the bells will be saved for use in other Archdiocesan parishes, a spokeswoman said. Demolition is slated to start May 1.</p><p>But Eva Leonard, who&rsquo;s attended St. James for 30 years, said she won&rsquo;t let go of her church that easily.<br /><br />&ldquo;We are going to move back in there,&rdquo; Leonard said.&nbsp; &lsquo;Cause this is what we want to do. It&rsquo;s my only Catholic church; [I] can&rsquo;t see it torn down, no way.&rdquo;</p><p>Preservation Chicago Board President Ward Miller said he expected to see more dialogue between the Archdiocese and its congregation.</p><p>&ldquo;The Cardinal should have come out with his people, he should have talked to all of us. There just has been dead silence for all of us,&rdquo; Miller said.</p></p> Wed, 17 Apr 2013 20:03:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/sections/religion/historic-chicago-church-says-good-bye-its-bells-106708 Architectural swap meet? http://www.wbez.org/blogs/alison-cuddy/2012-09/architectural-swap-meet-102583 <p><p style="text-align: center; "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/RS2508_Prentice%20Women%27s%20Hospital_Flickr_TheeErin_0.jpg" style="height: 414px; width: 620px; " title="Prentice Women's Hospital (Flickr/TheeErin)" /></p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="http://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fapi.soundcloud.com%2Ftracks%2F60678325&amp;show_artwork=true" width="100%"></iframe></p><p>Bertrand Goldberg&#39;s 1975 Prentice Women&#39;s Hospital is a crowd-splitter of a building. Fans point to the building&#39;s complex engineering and singular look. Detractors find it ugly, a jarring contrast set against other modern architecture.</p><p>The old Prentice<em> is</em> an unforgettable building, involving a tall, clover-shaped structure perched atop a squat square base - a sort of space-age, modernist take on a merry-go-round.</p><p>But there&#39;s practicality behind the curious look of the building. Goldberg&#39;s design allowed for a central nurses&#39; station, from which the hospital rooms radiated out like spokes on a wheel. Instead of traveling a long corridor to see patients, caregivers could assess the state of things at a glance around the circular space. Think of it as a kinder, gentler version of the <a href="http://cartome.org/panopticon1.htm">panopticon</a>, the structure forever made sinister by Michel Foucault.</p><p>Goldberg&#39;s vision anticipated current medical care, in which small groups of health professionals work in tight units to provide a range of services. The building also made it possible to combine the departments of obstetrics and gynecology with the Institute of Psychiatry (because motherhood and madness go hand in hand, right?!).</p><p>Prentice is one of <a href="http://bertrandgoldberg.org/works/">eight hospitals built by Goldberg</a> over a 20-year stretch, starting in the late 1960s. The first was also built in Illinois, out in Elgin, and&nbsp;it too apparently is in <a href="http://bertrandgoldberg.org/projects/elgin-state-hospital/">danger of disappearing.</a></p><p>What threatens Prentice isn&#39;t decay - at least not yet. Rather,&nbsp;Northwestern University wants to tear it down in order to build a new, state-of-the-art biomedical research facility. Northwestern says the current building won&rsquo;t work as a research space. Meanwhile, preservationists (both <a href="http://www.preservationchicago.org/">local</a> and <a href="http://www.preservationnation.org/">national)</a> say it can be repurposed.</p><p>The fight over Prentice is years long at this point. But lately things have&nbsp;<a href="http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2012-09-16/business/ct-biz-0916-confidential-prentice-20120916_1_prentice-site-preservationists-bertrand-goldberg">ratcheted up</a>. Each side has commissioned studies, developed talking points, and hired politically connected public relations firms.&nbsp;</p><p>The latest move? This week Northwestern offered ... well, kind of a swap.</p><p>They&#39;ve said if they do tear down the building, they&#39;ll replace it with another architecturally significant structure. When I spoke with Ron Naylor,&nbsp;who works in Facilities Management at Northwestern, he promised a building &quot;the aesthetics of such that people are going to marvel at it.&quot;</p><p>So &ndash; how&rsquo;d the idea of an architectural swap play with the people who want to protect the building? Jonathan Fine, the executive director of Preservation Chicago, was blunt: &quot;They already have a world-class piece of architecture. It&rsquo;s called the former Prentice Women&rsquo;s Hospital.&quot;</p><p>Like others in the <a href="https://www.facebook.com/pages/Save-Prentice/146981851986833">Save Prentice Coalition</a>, he thinks Goldberg&rsquo;s building can&rsquo;t be replaced. &nbsp;&quot;This is truly a unique building,&quot; insists Fine. &quot;It cannot be mistaken for any other building on the planet. That&rsquo;s how important this building is, and it should be saved.&quot;</p><p>When I asked Naylor whether he thought Prentice was irreplaceable, he laughed, then added, &quot;You could say that about a lot of buildings.&quot;</p><p>He says Northwestern will hold a design competition for a new building, and he&#39;s confident they&#39;ll find a successor to the Goldberg structure.&nbsp;He says the university did that for their forthcoming <a href="http://www.northwestern.edu/newscenter/stories/2012/09/architecture-competition-prentice.html">School of Music and Kellogg Management buildings</a>, and those contests resulted in good architecture.</p><p>Fine counters that in Chicago, new construction has rarely measured up to what came before.</p><p>&quot;If you look at the replacement for the Stock Exchange it&rsquo;s a mediocre, terrible building,&quot; he said. &quot;If you look at what replaced the Garrick Theater, another Adler and Sullivan masterpiece, it was a parking garage.&quot;</p><p>The one point on which both sides might agree, is that whatever building ends up near the corner of Huron and McClurg, people will notice. Says Naylor&nbsp;&quot;It&rsquo;s a significant building for the university, for the Streeterville community and the city of Chicago.&quot;</p><p>So &ndash; what about Chicagoans?&nbsp; Do they think Goldberg&rsquo;s building could be swapped out? Arts intern Rebecca Kruth took to the streets around Prentice and found a mix of views.</p><p>Jenna Duffecy was with a group of friends. She described Prentice as a &quot;comic book mental hospital.&quot;&nbsp;Duffecy thinks a new structure would &quot;fit in better with the look down here,&quot; adding &quot;Northwestern usually presents as a fairly classy institution, and I appreciate the more modern buildings they usually have.&quot;</p><p>But Katherine Bookout sees value in Goldberg&rsquo;s iconoclastic design:</p><p>&quot;I mean Northwestern University has a beautiful campus but the other building is different,&quot; she said. &quot;And different is good. There are things in Chicago that aren&rsquo;t Northwestern and that&rsquo;s a positive thing.&quot;</p><p>So what will happen to Prentice? All eyes on are on the Commission on Chicago Landmarks, which could prevent immediate demolition by ruling to grant the old hospital preliminary landmark status.</p><p>Though the commission has yet to take up the issue, both sides hope it will be on the agenda at the next meeting, Oct. 4.</p></p> Fri, 21 Sep 2012 09:14:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/alison-cuddy/2012-09/architectural-swap-meet-102583 Chicago’s endangered buildings, young and old http://www.wbez.org/series/dynamic-range/chicago%E2%80%99s-endangered-buildings-young-and-old-98441 <p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/cuneo%20hospital_preservation%20chicago.jpg" style="width: 620px; height: 358px; " title="According to Preservation Chicago, Frank Cuneo Memorial Hospital was ‘the most modern of hospitals’ when it opened in 1957. Now it’s on the group’s list of endangered buildings. (Preservation Chicago/Stacey Pfingsten)"></div><p>Historic preservationists are in a strange spot these days: Some of them are fighting to save buildings younger than they are.</p><p>That’s according to Jonathan Fine, head of <a href="http://preservationchicago.org/">Preservation Chicago</a>. His group released its annual list of the <a href="http://preservationchicago.org/chicago-seven/2012">7 most endangered buildings in Chicago</a> earlier this month, and at least one of the picks on this year’s list is younger than Fine himself. (That would be 37-year-old <a href="../../blog/lee-bey/2011-06-15/national-trust-places-old-prentice-hospital-its-most-endangered-list-87870">Prentice Women’s Hospital</a>, the Bertrand Goldberg-designed structure that made the list for a second year.)</p><p>Fine says he’s noticed other trends from year to year: vanishing urban corners, for instance, gobbled up by teardowns and replaced by chain pharmacies like Walgreens or CVS. Or churches, which as houses of worship subject to the separation of church and state, aren’t eligible for government assistance. And what Fine calls “meds and eds”-- buildings whose preservation becomes more difficult when powerful, clout-rich universities and hospitals want to expand their campus footprints.</p><p>This year’s list draws from some of those trends, and also features several buildings that will be familiar to readers of <a href="../../blogs/lee-bey">Lee Bey’s blog</a>:</p><p>►A collection of <a href="http://preservationchicago.org/chicago-seven/2012/heritage/74">five historic movie theaters</a>, including <a href="../../blogs/lee-bey/2012-04/commission-puts-landmark-status-picture-portage-theater-98015">the Portage</a>, which recently received preliminary landmark status, and the West Side’s Central Park Theater, which according to Preservation Chicago, is thought to be the country’s first movie palace.</p><p><a href="../../blogs/lee-bey/2012-04/unity-hall-early-birthplace-black-chicago-politics-jeopardy-98035">►Unity Hall</a>, a building included in the city’s historic Black Metropolis-Bronzeville District, which honors sites significant to the African-American experience in Chicago and the Great Migration.</p><p>►Three hospitals, including Prentice and <a href="http://preservationchicago.org/chicago-seven/2012/heritage/72">St. Anthony</a>, which sits at the entry point to Douglas Park along the Emerald Necklace network of boulevards and will soon be vacated for a new campus.&nbsp;</p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/gethsemane%20church_preservation%20chicago.jpg" style="float: right; height: 274px; width: 300px;" title="Gethsemane Missionary Baptist Church made Preservation Chicago’s list of the most endangered buildings this year. Constructed in 1869, it’s the oldest building on the list. (Preservation Chicago/Darris Harris)"></div><p>One structure on the list is notable precisely because it directly contradicts Fine’s crack about saving younger buildings: A construction date of 1869 makes <a href="http://preservationchicago.org/chicago-seven/2012/heritage/70">Gethsemane Missionary Baptist Church</a> one of the city’s few remaining buildings built prior to the Great Chicago Fire of 1871, making it one of the oldest buildings around here. “To lose [a pre-fire building], regardless of the modesty of the design, would be a great loss to the city,” Fine says.</p><p>There will be <a href="http://cowdery.home.netcom.com/maxnews.html">a community meeting this Thursday</a>, April 26, at Powell’s Books to help decide the fate of Gethsemane Church. In the meantime, listen to Fine’s description of the building’s history and the case for saving it in the audio above.</p><p><a href="../../series/dynamic-range"><em>Dynamic Range</em></a><em> showcases hidden gems unearthed from Chicago Amplified’s vast archive of public events and appears on weekends. Jonathan Fine spoke at an event presented by the </em><a href="http://chicagoarchitecture.org"><em>Chicago</em><em><u> </u>Architecture Foundation</em></a><em> in April. Click </em><a href="../../amplified/chicago%E2%80%99s-7-most-threatened-historic-places-2012-what-cost-preservation-98055"><em>here </em></a><em>to hear the event in its entirety.</em></p></p> Sat, 21 Apr 2012 10:09:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/series/dynamic-range/chicago%E2%80%99s-endangered-buildings-young-and-old-98441 Unity Hall: An early birthplace of black Chicago politics in jeopardy http://www.wbez.org/blogs/lee-bey/2012-04/unity-hall-early-birthplace-black-chicago-politics-jeopardy-98035 <p><div class="image-insert-image "><p style="text-align: center; "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/P4072428.jpg" style="width: 485px; height: 489px; " title=""></p><p>Looking at two buildings on the "most endangered buildings" list Preservation Chicago released this month, I paused at the irony:</p><p>In the Six Corners area on the North Side, a ministry <a href="http://www.wbez.org/blogs/lee-bey/2012-04/commission-puts-landmark-status-picture-portage-theater-98015">wants to buy</a> and sink millions into the Portage Theater--even though the theater is viable and functioning as...well... a<em> theater.</em> But on the South Side's, the historic 125-year-old Unity Hall has been used as a church for decades and is listed for sale at $225,000, but can't draw a congregation who can fix it up.</p><p>Until it can, Unity Hall, 3140 S. Indiana, waits there empty, its facade hides behind a mask of protective scaffolding; its upper windows shuttered as if in shame.&nbsp;</p><p>And there<em> is </em>something shameful about a building like Unity Hall falling into such neglect. The building is a city landmark--the bronze plaque sits right beneath a mailbox at the top of the front steps--and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. As a protected city landmark the vacant hall can't be easily torn down. But the building could fall prey to "demolition by neglect," in the words of <a href="http://www.preservationchicago.org/chicago-seven/2012/heritage/75">Preservation Chicago</a>, taking down an important piece of Chicago history with it.</p><p style="text-align: center; "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/P4072417_0.jpg" style="width: 471px; height: 510px;" title=""></p></div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">Built in 1887 as the Lakeside Club, a Jewish social club, the building has a distinguished later history beginning in 1917 as Unity Hall, home of a black political organization called the People's Movement Club. From behind the building's sober Queen Anne exterior, Oscar S. DePriest formed a powerful political operation that made him the first black person elected to the U.S. House from a Northern state and made politicians of every color recognize, if not court, the black vote in Chicago. The model continued until the 1960s under DePriest's successor U.S. Rep. William L. Dawson.</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">A deep building with meeting rooms and an auditorium that seats 500, Unity Hall was also used for other public gatherings before being converted into a church after World War II. The Moorish Science Temple of America operated an auxiliary at Unity Hall in the 1920s and held its week-long national convention there in 1928:</div><div class="image-insert-image "><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div></div><div class="image-insert-image "><div class="image-insert-image "><div class="image-insert-image "><div class="image-insert-image " style="text-align: center; "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/unity%20hall%20moorish%20convention_0.jpg" title=""></div></div></div></div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">The gathering of people outside Unity Hall's entrance starkly contrasts with the scene outside the building last weekend.</div><div class="image-insert-image "><div class="image-insert-image " style="text-align: center; "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/P4072412.jpg" style="width: 453px; height: 353px;" title=""></div></div><p>Unity Hall is one of eight buildings and a monument that compose the National Register's Black Metropolis historic district in Bronzeville. Most of the buildings, including Unity Hall, were in peril or in demolition court when I wrote about Bronzeville preservation efforts 16 years ago as Chicago <em>Sun-Times</em> architecture critic.</p><p>Today things are significantly better for almost all of the buildings because residents, the city and other institutions rallies around them. The once-battered Eighth Regiment Armory at 35th and Giles--the first armory in the country built for a black regiment--is now the restored Bronzeville Military Academy. At 37th and State, the Art Deco former home of the black-owned <em>Chicago Bee</em> newspaper is public library. The tattered but historic "Colored Man's" Wabash YMCA is now a sparkling, functioning Renaissance Apartments and Fitness for Life Center, serving the community. The Supreme Life Insurance Building at 35th and King Drive was restored to its original 1921 glory and is a mixed-use building that includes a bank, offices and the Bronzeville Visitor Information Center.</p><p>Time will tell if Unity Hall has a prayer.</p></p> Sun, 08 Apr 2012 23:25:59 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/lee-bey/2012-04/unity-hall-early-birthplace-black-chicago-politics-jeopardy-98035