WBEZ | diamond bank http://www.wbez.org/tags/diamond-bank Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en A midcentury gem: Chicago's Diamond Bank http://www.wbez.org/blogs/lee-bey/2013-03/midcentury-gem-chicagos-diamond-bank-105868 <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/P2277808.jpg" style="width: 600px; height: 408px;" title="" /></div><div class="image-insert-image ">I&#39;d passed the corner of Clark and North countless times without noticing--really noticing--the Diamond Bank building on the intersection&#39;s northwest corner.</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">Built in 1961 as North Federal Savings &amp; Loan, the two-story modernist building is visually overshadowed by the huge, Byzantine-styled Moody Church just to the north. But as I discovered last week, the glassy, transparent and well-kept bank building is worth a look--inside and out.</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image "><div class="image-insert-image ">The building was designed by Naess &amp; Murphy on the heels of the firm&#39;s better-known works such the Prudential Building and the former Sun-Times Building, 401 N. Wabash. While those buildings read as updated pre-World War II structures, North Federal was full-on modernism,with a glass curtain wall wrapping around the long rectangular structure and exposed exterior columns creating an unobstructed banking floor inside.</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">By the 1960s, Naess &amp; Murphy would become C.F. Murphy Associates, a modernist powerhouse with work that includes the stellar CNA Building at Jackson and Wabash, McCormick Place&#39;s Lakeside Center, the Daley Center and more.&nbsp; North Federal is a small, but noteworthy step in the firm&#39;s evolution.</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image "><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/P2277730.jpg" style="width: 600px; height: 447px;" title="" /></div></div><div class="image-insert-image ">The building&#39;s design phase began in 1959, according to the city&#39;s landmark commission&#39;s report on the bank. The report also said the look was influenced by Manhattan&#39;s Manufacturers Trust bank building, designed by Gordon Bunshaft of SOM. <a href="http://www.postalesinventadas.com/2012/08/manufacturers-trust-bank-dear-charles.html">Agreed</a>, but Bunshaft&#39;s columns are inside the curtain wall, allowing the box to read a bit purer.</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">Diamond Bank looks good on the inside as well. The interior&#39;s decor has been updated, but the midcentury bones, spirit and layout are still evident. Praise the bank for not cluttering up this view with window signs:</div></div><div class="image-insert-image "><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/P2277834-Edit-Edit.jpg" style="width: 600px; height: 450px;" title="" /></div></div><div class="image-insert-image ">...and for keeping this ceiling of suspended light diffusers, which also have a sculptural effect:</div><div class="image-insert-image "><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/P2277882.jpg" style="width: 600px; height: 808px;" title="" /></div></div><div class="image-insert-image ">A staircase wraps around an exposed elevator core--that is covered in gold ceramic tile. That terrazo floor is pretty cool, too.</div><div class="image-insert-image "><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/P2277901.jpg" style="width: 600px; height: 493px;" title="" /></div></div><p>Diamond Bank had been considered for landmark status a few years ago as part of a designation honoring neighborhood bank buildings. But the building was denied because it was the only midcentury building in the proposed designation.</p><p>Architect <span data-ft="{&quot;tn&quot;:&quot;K&quot;}" id=".reactRoot[56].[1][2][1]{comment114226092097409_26372}.0.[1].0.[1].0.[0].[0][2]"><span class="UFICommentBody" id=".reactRoot[56].[1][2][1]{comment114226092097409_26372}.0.[1].0.[1].0.[0].[0][2].0"><span id=".reactRoot[56].[1][2][1]{comment114226092097409_26372}.0.[1].0.[1].0.[0].[0][2].0.[0]">Mits Otsuji</span></span></span> designed the bank while at Naess &amp; Murphy, according to Vince Michael, architecture historian and executive director of the Global Heritage Fund.&nbsp; As for C.F. Murphy, the firm became Murphy/Jahn and now, <a href="http://www.jahn-us.com/">Jahn</a>.</p></p> Mon, 04 Mar 2013 05:00:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/lee-bey/2013-03/midcentury-gem-chicagos-diamond-bank-105868