WBEZ | Chase Tower http://www.wbez.org/tags/chase-tower Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Chase Tower: Seeds for skyscraper were planted 50 years ago http://www.wbez.org/blogs/lee-bey/2013-06/chase-tower-seeds-skyscraper-were-planted-50-years-ago-107619 <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/P5042673.jpg" title="" /></div><div class="image-insert-image ">There have been times I&#39;ve walked past downtown&#39;s Chase Tower and thought the building to be magnificent.</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">Think of that sunken plaza with the Marc Chagall mosaic. Or the way the 850-foot tall skyscraper sweeps itself upward from that plaza. It is as wide-legged as a letter &#39;a&#39; at the base then tapers with curve as it rises. Good stuff, no?</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">Then on other days, I&#39;ve been less impressed. Too much Texas granite cladding. The windows and mullions look cheaply done. The building looks more &quot;Houston,&quot; than &quot;Chicago&quot;?</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">The latest round of my mental push-and-pull over the building happened when my travels took me and my camera by Chase Tower a few days ago. Completed in 1969 as headquarters for First National Bank of Chicago, the tower&#39;s life essentially began in 1963 when the bank bought the 45-story <a href="http://www.cardcow.com/images/set11/card15115_fr.jpg">Morrison Hotel</a> at Clark and Madison. The purchase, along with that of two neighboring large buildings, gave First National ownership of a block bounded by Clark, Dearborn, Madison and Monroe.</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">The entire block was razed to build the new tower. The Morrison Hotel was the tallest building ever voluntarily demolished&mdash;a feat surpassed in 1968 when New York brought down the 47-story Singer Building in 1968.</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">Chase Tower was designed by architecture firms Perkins &amp; Will and C.F. Murphy &amp; Associates. Because branch banking was not legal when the building was designed, architects gave the tower a big ground-floor banking hall. The tower got slender as it rose and transitioned to office space. It was a darn good design solution, but I find the execution maddenlingy uneven.</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">The building looks<a href="http://www.earthinpictures.com/world/usa/chicago/chase_tower_-_view_from_the_sears_tower.jpg"> great from afar</a>. But up close, sometimes things get a little clumsy:</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/P5042691.jpg" title="" /></div></div><div class="image-insert-image ">The plaza is right-angled and symmetrical. &nbsp;Try sitting there in the summertime and all that hardscape can broil you, if the sun is in certain positions. I&#39;d like to see landscape architects revisit this space with modern eyes&mdash;and solutions.</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/P5042745.jpg" title="" /></div><div class="image-insert-image ">As the tower neared completion, a 1968 <em>Chicago Tribune</em>&nbsp;headine asked &quot;It&#39;s handsome&mdash;but is it great?&quot; Almost 45 years later, it&#39;s a question still worth pondering.</div></div><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Tue, 11 Jun 2013 05:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/lee-bey/2013-06/chase-tower-seeds-skyscraper-were-planted-50-years-ago-107619