WBEZ | Holabird & Root http://www.wbez.org/tags/holabird-root Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Gone but not totally forgotten: Chicago Park District Administration building http://www.wbez.org/blogs/lee-bey/2013-12/gone-not-totally-forgotten-chicago-park-district-administration-building-1 <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/379274pr.jpg" style="width: 600px; height: 474px;" title="" /></div><div class="image-insert-image ">A decade has passed since the Soldier Field renovation was completed.</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">The propriety (and $600 million expense) of putting a new seating bowl half-way down into the confines of the neo-classical stadium made the project one of the most hotly-debated public projects of a generation or more. So much so, comparatively few back then noticed the redesign also meant the outright demolition of the Chicago Park District Administration Building, an unusual pre-War modernist structure designed by architects Holabird &amp; Root.</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">Built in 1939 for the then-new park district, the long, four-story limestone building, 425 E. McFetridge Dr., abutted Soldier Field&#39;s northern edge, as the image above shows.</div><p>The vanished building is worth a revisit. The old headquarters, with its strong WPA modern design and European modernist inflections, was unusual for Chicago&mdash;if only because so little on that scale was built here in the 1930s. The building lives on, thanks to a compelling set of <a href="http://www.loc.gov/pictures/search/?q=chicago%20park%20district%20administration">Historic American Building Survey</a> images on the Library of Congress website. The photos accompanying this piece come from there.</p><div class="image-insert-image ">Here&#39;s a photo of the lobby during the building&#39;s final years. You can get sense of the building&#39;s modernity with the circular recessed lights and the marble walls:</div><div class="image-insert-image "><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/376634cr.jpg" style="width: 600px; height: 487px;" title="" /></div><div class="image-insert-image ">The open staircase, with its minimalist, curved railings...nice:</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/379283pr.jpg" title="" /></div><div class="image-insert-image ">And look at this enclosed garden out back, with seating, located outside the building&#39;s basement dining hall:</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/379297pr.jpg" style="width: 600px; height: 484px;" title="" /></div><div class="image-insert-image ">Here&#39;s the park district board room:<br /><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/376636cr.jpg" style="width: 600px; height: 480px;" title="" /></div></div><div class="image-insert-image ">And here&#39;s a photo taken from the roof of the Field Museum showing the building and the stadium&mdash;pre-renovations&mdash;behind it:</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/376629cr.jpg" style="width: 600px; height: 487px;" title="" /></div><div class="image-insert-image ">The administration building was in sad shape in its last years. The park district estimated it would have then $20 million to fix up the old building&mdash;and that was in the mid-1990s.</div></div></div></div></div></div><p>It was demolished in 2001 and the agency took up residence, as renters, at 541 N. Fairbanks.</p></p> Mon, 23 Dec 2013 05:00:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/lee-bey/2013-12/gone-not-totally-forgotten-chicago-park-district-administration-building-1 The 1930s project that nearly brought Riverview to an earlier end http://www.wbez.org/blogs/lee-bey/2013-08/1930s-project-nearly-brought-riverview-earlier-end-108533 <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/IMG00243-20130826-2130.jpg" style="width: 600px; height: 479px;" title="" /></div><div class="image-insert-image ">Chicagoans of a certain age still lament the demolition of <a href="http://www.wbez.org/series/curious-city/laugh-your-troubles-away-105619" target="_blank">Riverview</a>, the famed North Side amusement park that was razed in 1967.</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">But the park would have been demolished much earlier&mdash;during the Great Depression, in fact&mdash;and replaced by a modernist housing development called Riverview Gardens, had a real estate planners of the time had their way.</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">The now-forgotten plans are contained in a trio of original leather-bound 1935 presentation documents I bought about 10 years ago. I ran across it yesterday while searching through a box of old stuff.</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">Riverview Gardens would have been 1600 units on a sprawling campus roughly bounded by Belmont, Western, Addison and the Chicago River. Surrounding the then-new Lane Tech high school, the complex would have been composed of streamlined brick buildings trimmed in Bedford limestone laid out over gridless streets. Burnham Brothers &amp; Hammond teamed with Holabird &amp; Root as the architects.</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">The project was planned by Independent Realty Trust, based at 221 N. LaSalle, which created the presentation documents I purchased. The material was addressed to the Federal Housing Administration.</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">In look and plan, Riverview Gardens was similar to the Chicago Housing Authority&#39;s Lathrop Homes built in 1937 at Diversey and Clybourn along the Chicago River. But while Lathrop was planned and built for the poor and working-class, Riverview Gardens was created &quot;for the benefit of the much forgotten class of people, namely, the white collared class,&quot; according to a project description. The project would have had garages, stores, rooftop gardens and recreational areas.</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/IMG00240-20130826-2126%20%282%29.jpg" style="width: 600px; height: 450px;" title="" /></div><div class="image-insert-image ">But why consider demolishing Riverview then, especially since the park was only 30 years old and &quot;The Bobs,&quot; Riverview&#39;s popular 11-car roller coaster with the 85-foot drop, had been built just a decade earlier? There are two possible reasons. The Depression ate into Riverview&#39;s revenues a bit&mdash;and fire in the early 1930s claimed a funhouse and one other attraction. In addition, the park sat on 74 prime riverfront acres at a time when federal housing funding was becoming available.</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/IMG00242-20130826-2130.jpg" style="width: 600px; height: 419px;" title="" /></div><div class="image-insert-image ">And what happened to Riverview Gardens? For me, the trail turned cold. The project died and Riverview itself lived another 32 years. Riverview Plaza shopping center, the Belmont District police station and courthouse, DeVry University and more occupy the site now.</div></div></div><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Wed, 28 Aug 2013 05:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/lee-bey/2013-08/1930s-project-nearly-brought-riverview-earlier-end-108533