WBEZ | architecture http://www.wbez.org/tags/architecture Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en After four years on the beat, architecture blogger bids adieu http://www.wbez.org/blogs/lee-bey/2014-01/after-four-years-beat-architecture-blogger-bids-adieu-109461 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/Capture_2.PNG" alt="" /><p><p>This blog started four years ago this month.&nbsp;</p><p>During that time you&#39;ve been gracious enough to indulge me as I wrote about new buildings, explored abandoned structures, documented lesser-known streetscapes and found obscure movies and video&mdash;all in service of telling stories about Chicago&#39;s built environment.</p><p>Some of these explorations were pure fun, like the time Columbia College&mdash;which owns the former Johnson Publishing Company headquarters on south Michigan Avenue&mdash;let me photograph the building&#39;s perfectly-intact <a href="http://www.wbez.org/blogs/lee-bey/2013-01/soul-survivor-look-intact-and-avant-garde-interiors-ebonyjet-building-104868">1970s mod interiors</a>.</p><p>Others were tougher to swallow, such as the demolition of the former Michael Reese Hospital. Wrecking those buildings compounded an earlier, and greater, civic tragedy: that a world-class medical institution like Reese would be allowed to waste away in the first place. The continual erosion of building and population from the greater South Side was another point of concern.</p><p>And there are more stories: The redevelopment of the city&#39;s neighborhoods; the fate of all those shuttered schools; the midcentury architecture and classic churches at are at risk. But they are stories others will have to tell. This is my last blog post for WBEZ.</p><p>It&#39;s been a good run here and I&#39;ve been treated well. But I&#39;ve just landed a new job at the University of Chicago working with artist and placemaker Theaster Gates that&#39;ll demand my full energies.&nbsp;</p><p>After years of sounding the trumpet about the importance of assisting neighborhoods, I figured it was time to join in and do some work of a different sort.</p><p>So a hearty thanks to WBEZ and executive producer Justin Kaufmann who brought me in four years ago and named the blog &quot;Beyond the Boat Tour&quot; (I wasn&#39;t fond of that name, originally&mdash;and I caught flak from friends at the Chicago Architecture Foundation, as you might imagine). But after a while, the title grew on me. And praise is due to Digital Content Director Tim Akimoff and his team who manage a stable of bloggers of which I was proud to be a member.</p><p>My biggest &quot;thank you&quot; goes out to you readers. You&#39;ve suggested ideas, posed questions, praised what you liked and challenged what you read. All of that made me better, sharper and appreciative. And let&#39;s stay in touch. You can follow me on Twitter <a href="http://twitter.com/leebey" target="_blank">@leebey</a>, Facebook and <em><a href="http://soulcloset.blogspot.com">Lee Bey&#39;s Soul Closet</a>,&nbsp;</em>a personal blog devoted to 20th Century African-American pop culture, movies, film and ephemera, that will re-debut in a few weeks.</p></p> Tue, 07 Jan 2014 05:01:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/lee-bey/2014-01/after-four-years-beat-architecture-blogger-bids-adieu-109461 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 In Gage Park, a midcentury bank and piece of Chicago history vanish http://www.wbez.org/blogs/lee-bey/2013-11/gage-park-midcentury-bank-and-piece-chicago-history-vanish-109238 <p><div class="image-insert-image "><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/10592307763_ef9d84ee4c_c.jpg" style="width: 600px; height: 399px;" title="" /></p>The former Talman Federal Savings building, a Southwest Side midcentury modernist structure designed by Skidmore Owings &amp; Merrill, has been demolished.<p>Its expected replacement? An LA Fitness health club.</p><p>It&#39;s a sad end to a neighborhood building that not only stood on the corner of 55th and Kedzie, but also occupied the intersection of Chicago architecture and history.</p><p>Talman Federal began in 1922 at the kitchen table of 29-year-old Ben Bohac, living at&nbsp;51st and Talman. By 1955, Bohac&#39;s enterprise was one of the state&#39;s most successful savings and loan associations, with enough money and clout to hire a blue-chip architecture firm like&nbsp;Skidmore Owings &amp; Merrill to design the new building. The design won a certificate of merit award from the Chicago chapter of the American Institute of Architects in 1957.</p><p>The building is gone now, along with an addition and parking and banking annex across Kedzie. Photographer Martin Gonzalez documented Talman&#39;s demise last month.&nbsp;His photo above looks northwest, across the ruins to the former entry lobby in the background. Below is a photograph I took of the vacant, but still standing, Talman earlier this year.</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/P3199043_0.jpg" title="" /></div><div class="image-insert-image ">Another view from Gonzalez. Bohac&#39;s name was still on the building as the demo equipment rolled:<img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/10995418936_c7fa2f3107_z.jpg" style="width: 600px; height: 400px;" title="" /></div><p>Again, here&#39;s Talman when I visited the building in April:</p></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/P3198995_0.jpg" title="" /></div></div><div class="image-insert-image ">This is an image from Gonzalez showing the 55th Street frontage under demolition and with graffiti:</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/10345669655_5d57379180_c.jpg" style="width: 600px; height: 902px;" title="" /></div></div><p>Talman merged with LaSalle Bank, a&nbsp;subsidiary of&nbsp;Dutch banking giant&nbsp;ABN AMRO Bank N.V., in the 1990s, ending the empire Ben Bohac created.</p><p>Scores of 1950s and 1960s commercial buildings and churches are scattered among the pre-war Chicago bungalows and two-flats on the Southwest Side. If any good (other than the prospect of firm abs) can come of Talman&#39;s demolition, let&#39;s hope that it brings more attention&nbsp; to these neighborhoods and buildings.</p><p>Meanwhile, check out more of Martin Gonzalez&#39; work <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/25165196@N08/">here on flickr.</a></p><p><em>Lee Bey writes about Chicago architecture for WBEZ. Follow him on Twitter @LeeBey.</em></p></p> Tue, 26 Nov 2013 05:00:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/lee-bey/2013-11/gage-park-midcentury-bank-and-piece-chicago-history-vanish-109238 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 After Prentice: Northwestern shows finalists' designs for new building http://www.wbez.org/blogs/lee-bey/2013-11/after-prentice-northwestern-shows-finalists-designs-new-building-109127 <p><div class="image-insert-image "><div class="image-insert-image "><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/23.jpg" style="height: 564px; width: 300px; float: left;" title="" /></p>I spent the weekend eyeballing the three final submissions for Northwestern University&#39;s highly-publicized architectural bake-off to build the school&#39;s new biomedical research facility.</div><div><p>The finalists include three Chicago firms: Goettsch Partners is working with Philadelphia company&nbsp;Ballinger; Adrian Smith and Gordon Gill Architecture is partnered with Payette from&nbsp;</p><p>Boston; and Perkins and Will is going at it alone.&nbsp;</p><p>To make way for the building, dubbed the Feinberg School of Medicine Medical Research Center,&nbsp;architect Bertrand Goldberg&#39;s Prentice Women&#39;s Hospital is being torn down.</p><p>The winning design will be built in two phases. Construction of the 600,000 sq ft first phase is expected to begin in 2015. The space would then double &mdash; and the lab tower would grow substantially, as the Goettsch/Ballinger rendering above shows &mdash; in a planned second stage.</p><p>So what can we make of all this?</p><p>One look at the submissions shows why the university never would have reused the old Prentice building. Not that it couldn&#39;t have been, but the&nbsp;proposals&nbsp;show Northwestern is looking for a big, efficient, machine-like building somewhere between a hotel and office building in space, amenities and design. Prentice, with its concrete quatrefoil shape and relatively small size, was never going to be that.</p><p>Judging projects based on renderings is always risky, but here are some images of the proposals.</p><p>Shown above, the Goettsch design seems to me unimpressive on first glance. The angled windows reminding me of Helmut Jahn&#39;s two-decade-old <a href="http://www.lpcmidwest.com/our_properties/120-north-lasalle-street%E2%80%93chicago-il/">120 N. LaSalle Street</a>. But that&#39;s the problem with renderings &mdash; in this view below where the building meets the street, the design and the facade seem to have a lot more going for them.</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/goetsch.jpg" style="width: 600px; height: 335px;" title="" /></div><p>Next is Adrian Smith and Gordon Gill&#39;s submission, which depicts the building after the second phase is complete. The undulations in the facade are good and one of several elements designed to bring natural light into the core of the building.</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/asgg2.jpg" style="width: 600px; height: 630px;" title="" /></div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">The small park nestled under this glass spine in the Smith and Gill scheme below is also worth noting.</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/10.jpg" style="width: 600px; height: 637px;" title="" /></div></div><p>Next, Perkins and Will&#39;s facade design is the most sculptural of the three, with the curves seeming to acknowledge the old Prentice building.</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/perkins2.jpg" style="width: 600px; height: 840px;" title="" /></div><p>&nbsp;This next view shows more of a separation between the tower and its base.</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/1_9.jpg" style="width: 600px; height: 840px;" title="" /></div><p>The new structure will be a complex building, the success of which should not be judged as a beauty contest. The true heir to Goldberg&#39;s advanced-for-it&#39;s-time Prentice would be a structure that is a game changer among its building type; one so technologically advanced in architecture, engineering, energy usage and function that it couldn&#39;t have been built, say, five years ago.</p><p>It&#39;s too early to tell which of these designs are able to do that.</p><p>Northwestern has been soliciting public input on the designs, which you can see and contribute to&nbsp;<a href="http://www.northwestern.edu/biomedical-research-building-competition/">here</a>. Trustees are expected to make their choice within a month.</p><p>The designs and models will remain on public display at the Lurie Medical Research Center, 303 E. Superior until 7 p.m.</p></div></div><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Tue, 12 Nov 2013 22:13:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/lee-bey/2013-11/after-prentice-northwestern-shows-finalists-designs-new-building-109127 Will an iconic hospital emerge from life support? http://www.wbez.org/series/curious-city/will-iconic-hospital-emerge-life-support-109086 <p><p>Like many residents of Tri-Taylor, Dorota Gosztyła hopes her Chicago neighborhood will finally figure out what to do with two city blocks of brick and terra cotta rising up from Harrison Street.</p><p>&ldquo;I find the building to be beautiful, and I think it&rsquo;s a shame that it&rsquo;s just standing here vacant,&rdquo; says Gosztyła, 35. She often glimpses the old Cook County Hospital building while driving on the Eisenhower Expressway (I-290). The hospital&rsquo;s fluted columns soar three stories, lining a facade festooned with classical symbols: cupids, lions, warriors&rsquo; shields.</p><p>&ldquo;When you get a closer look it&rsquo;s a little different. It&rsquo;s definitely run-down. &lsquo;Neglected&rsquo; I would say is the perfect word to describe it,&rdquo; Gosztyła says. &ldquo;It&rsquo;s pretty sad.&rdquo;</p><p>It bothered her enough that she sent Curious City a succinct question about the building that could play a future in her neighborhood:</p><p style="text-align: center;"><em>What will become of the old (and now vacant) Cook County Hospital?</em></p><p>The building, 1835 W. Harrison St., is hard to miss. When it opened in 1914, it had space for 650 patients. Subsequent expansions made it the world&rsquo;s largest medical facility from the 1920s until the 1950s. Among the superlatives it racked up during that time: It was home to the world&rsquo;s first blood bank; Chicago&rsquo;s first HIV/AIDS clinic in 1983;<a href="http://www.wbez.org/content/why-trauma-centers-abandoned-south-side" target="_blank"> the site of the country&#39;s first dedicated trauma center</a>; and in 1973 Dr. Boone Chunprapah became the first doctor to successfully reconnect four severed fingers to a patient&rsquo;s hand.</p><p>While its architectural significance has never been in doubt, the aging structure isn&rsquo;t a sure bet for rehabilitation. New construction now surrounds the site, and it wouldn&rsquo;t be the first time Chicago has demolished a historic building in the name of progress. Gosztyła&rsquo;s question got us talking with people who know the building&rsquo;s history and its potential for redevelopment. The bottom line is that preservationists and county officials seem to agree on this: The building can and should be saved. What remains unclear, however, is just how to do that.</p><p><strong>A landmark on life support</strong></p><p>Before it made medical history, Cook County Hospital was an architectural achievement.</p><p>&ldquo;It is a terra cotta marvel. The building is enormous, at the same time as being very elegant,&rdquo; says Bonnie McDonald, president of <a href="http://www.landmarks.org/" target="_blank">Landmarks Illinois.</a> &ldquo;The mix of brick and terra cotta create a really lovely façade.&rdquo;</p><p>Architect Paul Gerhardt, who designed the building in association with Richard E. Schmidt and Hugh Garden, was known nationally for his hospital designs. Gerhardt also designed Christ&rsquo;s Hospital in Topeka, Kan., as well as Chicago&rsquo;s<a href="http://www.wbez.org/tags/michael-reese-hospital" target="_blank"> Michael Reese Hospital</a>. Cook County Hospital is one of the city&rsquo;s best and largest-scale examples of Beaux Arts architecture.</p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/RS7395_AP03063004261-scr_0.jpg" style="margin: 5px; float: right; height: 184px; width: 275px;" title="The old Cook County hospital's facade earned the beaux-arts structure landmark status. (AP Photo/Brian Kersey)" />Landmarks Illinois&rsquo;<a href="http://landmarks.org/images/COOK_COUNTY%20HOSPITAL.pdf" target="_blank"> reuse plan</a> for the building makes note of its mansard roof, made with green glazed terra cotta, and other ornamental details. But it also calls attention to the steel frame; the widely spaced columns preserve an open floorplan conducive to reuse. The preservation group&rsquo;s analysis called for turning the building into 320 residential units for medical staff, a 95,000 square foot health and wellness center, ground-floor commercial space, and 150 parking spaces.</p><p>&ldquo;Think about a historic building as a space to accommodate whatever need there is in the neighborhood, because they are highly mutable,&rdquo; McDonald said. &ldquo;You&rsquo;re able to oftentimes take a modern use and put it into a historic building.&rdquo;</p><p>Their recommendation changed slightly when the county demolished the building&rsquo;s three southern wings in 2008 (they were not original to the building,<a href="http://achicagosojourn.blogspot.com/2008/01/cook-county-hospital.html" target="_blank"> but still considered a loss</a> by preservationists). Like<a href="http://www.cookcountygov.com/taxonomy/Capital_Planning/CookCountyHospital_ReuseStudy_1109.pdf" target="_blank"> another study commissioned by the county</a>, they recommended repurposing the building primarily as office space. While the studies concluded modern medical equipment would be too heavy for the building&rsquo;s aging floors, they didn&rsquo;t rule out reuse as a hotel, dormitory, rental housing, senior housing, or educational space.</p><p>&ldquo;Our first and primary goal is to preserve the building,&rdquo; says John Cooke, the County&rsquo;s director of capital planning and policy. But that wasn&rsquo;t always the case. Under Cook County Board President John Stroger&rsquo;s administration, the building&rsquo;s future seemed in doubt. The building closed in 2002, and Stroger called for its demolition while a new hospital bearing his name went up next door. Preservationists and several board members fought the demolition idea, and in 2006 the building landed on the National Register of Historic Places. Four years later the board voted to preserve the old Cook County Hospital building.</p><p><strong>Diagnosis inconclusive</strong></p><p>Until the building is actually occupied again, its future remains uncertain. Cook County officials are waiting for U.S. Equities Realty to recommend future uses and repairs for a slew of county-owned buildings, including the old hospital. Cooke says once the company&rsquo;s report is in, the county will issue a request for proposals to solicit interest from architects and developers &mdash; likely in the spring of 2014.</p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/8681326865_54c377cf65_n.jpg" style="height: 206px; width: 275px; margin: 5px; float: left;" title="The remaining portions of the old Cook County hospital lie in the Illinois Medical District, on Chicago's West Side. (Flickr/Josh Koonce)" />The two-block long building could be subdivided into three 185-foot sections for phased development, making it less risky from a financial standpoint. And while the county isn&rsquo;t going to sell the site, Cooke says, it&rsquo;s investigating lease arrangements to encourage private development. That could mean a ground lease, whereby the county sets out what uses and spaces it wants; and a developer pays for improvements to the building, provides said space, and pays an annual fee to the county.</p><p>A<a href="http://www.cookcountygov.com/taxonomy/Capital_Planning/CookCountyHospital_ReuseStudy_1109.pdf" target="_blank"> Jones Lang LaSalle reuse study</a> puts the cost of reusing the building between $103.9 million and $120 million depending on its use. That could be reduced by as much as $50 million through the use of <a href="http://www.wbez.org/series/curious-city/untangling-tifs-108611" target="_blank">Tax Increment Financing (TIF) funds</a> from the Central West district, the study says. Historical preservation tax credits could also offset 20 percent of the total project cost. By contrast, demolition could cost as much as $13.6 million, in addition to the cost of new construction.</p><p>Is that enough to entice developers? Cooke said the County will find out in 2014. But preservationists are eager to see the mothballed building get another chance at reuse.</p><p>&ldquo;The public cares about what is happening to this important resource,&rdquo; McDonald says. &ldquo;So the sooner that we do something, the more we&rsquo;re going to help the community.&rdquo;</p><p><strong>How daunting can it be?</strong></p><p>Now the question is how (not whether) to resuscitate the building.</p><p>Though its presence can be imposing to passersby (including our question-asker, Dorota Gosztyła), the old hospital building isn&rsquo;t too intimidating to architects who specialize in adaptive reuse.</p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/10144070306_d557b76099_b_0.jpg" style="margin: 5px; float: right; height: 199px; width: 275px;" title="Dorota Gosztyła asked Curious City to look into the future of the old Cook County hospital building. The now-vacant beaux-arts landmark will see its 100th anniversary in 2014. (WBEZ/Chris Bentley)" />Joe Antunovich, president of Antunovich Associates, has tackled many such projects. His firm&rsquo;s own office, 224 W. Huron St., occupies the top two floors of a brick building more than 90 years old. In Pittsburgh, the company transformed the dilapidated Armstrong Cork Factory along the Allegheny River into 385 apartments.</p><p>&ldquo;There used to be trees growing out of the windows there. Now, after an adaptive reuse, bringing that beautiful building back, we have 385 apartments there, and now they&rsquo;re the most sought-after apartments in downtown Pittsburgh&rdquo; Antunovich says. &ldquo;So don&rsquo;t tell me that these buildings can&rsquo;t be brought back.&rdquo;</p><p>As for Cook County&rsquo;s old hospital building, he says office space is a strong possibility.</p><p>&ldquo;The old nurses&rsquo; quarters, this old decrepit building, houses the current administration for the state-of-the-art Cook County Hospital system. So if you just swapped that out and cleaned up the old building,&rdquo; Antunovich says, &ldquo;you could have a marvelous front door of the entire Cook County administration.&rdquo;</p><p>Antunovich and others hope any development will celebrate the hospital&rsquo;s history. Gosztyła, our Curious City questioner, suggests a museum dedicated to that purpose. McDonald, of Landmarks Illinois, suggested that a mobile app could spout historical facts to interested visitors.</p><p>One candidate for inclusion is a reference to the old Cook County hospital&rsquo;s role as &ldquo;Chicago&rsquo;s Ellis Island.&rdquo; A quote from Louis Pasteur is inscribed on a hospital wall, evidence of its reputation for welcoming immigrants: &ldquo;One doesn&rsquo;t ask of one who suffers: What is your country and what is your religion? One merely says, You suffer. That is enough for me. You belong to me and I shall help you.&rdquo;</p><p>By spring of next year, Gosztyła and others who wonder about the future of the building could have their answer. It might bring new meaning to those words, &ldquo;I shall help you.&rdquo;</p><p><em><a href="http://cabentley.com/">Chris Bentley</a> is a reporter for WBEZ&rsquo;s Curious City. Follow him at<a href="http://twitter.com/cementley"> @cementley</a>.</em></p></p> Tue, 05 Nov 2013 13:49:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/series/curious-city/will-iconic-hospital-emerge-life-support-109086 Architecturally-daring Gary church earns a spot on the National Register http://www.wbez.org/blogs/lee-bey/2013-10/architecturally-daring-gary-church-earns-spot-national-register-109025 <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/P3252247.jpg" title="" /></div><div class="image-insert-image ">A modernist Gary church has been listed on the National Register of Historic Places, capping a year-and-a-half long effort by the congregation to win recognition for its architecturally-daring building.</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">St. Augustine&#39;s Episcopal Church at 19th and Ellsworth is Gary&#39;s first postwar National Register listing. The church received word this month from the National Park Service&mdash;keepers of the register&mdash;that the building made the list. Designed by Chicago architect Edward D. Dart and built in 1958 for an African American congregation, the church was cited for having &quot;noteworthy iconic stylistic hallmarks of the modern movement.&quot;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">Congregation member Paula DeBois led the effort to get the church listed. Dart, a white North Shore architect working with the black professional congregation in Gary is a &quot;<span id="yui_3_2_0_1_1332894466970296">very unique and compelling American story&quot; she said when the campaign began in 2012.</span></div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">Dart designed about 100 buildings and churches including St. Procopius Abbey in Lisle and <a href="http://www.ship-of-fools.com/mystery/2000/193Mystery.html">First St. Paul&#39;s Evangelical Lutheran Church</a>&nbsp;at&nbsp;1301 N. LaSalle. He was also responsible for scores of modern suburban Chicago homes. Dart was a partner at what was then Loebl Schlossman Dart &amp; Hackl and designing Chicago&#39;s Water Tower Place when he died in 1975 at age 53.</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/P3252317.jpg" title="" /></div><div class="image-insert-image ">On a tight budget of less than $100,000, Dart gave St. Augustine&#39;s congregation a striking piece of architecture. He used brick, red oak and redwood&mdash;and then there is that remarkable, curved tent-like roof with exposed beams. The National Register listing also gives a nod to Richard Johnson, Sr., who was a member of the congregation and the project&#39;s structural engineer.</div></div><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/P3252256.jpg" title="" /></div><div class="image-insert-image "><a href="http://www.nps.gov/history/nr/feature/places/pdfs/13000758.pdf">The National Register listing</a> also notes St. Augustine&#39;s is Gary&#39;s only postwar modern church structure. And the recognition shines a little more light on the work of Dart, whose buildings have often been torn down too soon. A 1953 home he designed in Wheaton <a href="http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/suburbs/wheaton/ct-tl-wheaton-demolition-20131028,0,6212173.story">was demolished recently.</a> Dart&#39;s <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/metroblossom/444429813/" rel="nofollow" target="_blank"><span class="yshortcuts" id="lw_1332894474_1">Emmanuel Presbyterian Church</span></a>,<span class="yshortcuts" id="lw_1332894474_2"> 1850 S. Racine,</span> was wrecked in 2007.</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">And his 1972 addition to the Lorado Taft Midway Studio on the University of Chicago campus was razed in 2009 to make way for the Logan Center for the Arts.</div></p> Tue, 29 Oct 2013 05:31:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/lee-bey/2013-10/architecturally-daring-gary-church-earns-spot-national-register-109025 Bridges that span the river and the decades http://www.wbez.org/series/curious-city/bridges-span-river-and-decades-108903 <p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/topper%20bridge%20house%20mindfrieze%20flickr.jpg" title="The Kinzie Street rail bridge and deteriorated bridgehouse. (Flickr/Mindfrieze)" /><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fapi.soundcloud.com%2Ftracks%2F114901925&amp;color=ff6600&amp;auto_play=false&amp;show_artwork=false" width="100%"></iframe></p><p>If you&rsquo;re admiring great architecture in the Loop, chances are you&rsquo;re looking at skyscrapers. But if you crane your neck a bit less, you might notice an often overlooked catalogue of Chicago&rsquo;s architectural movements. It&rsquo;s the parade of bridgehouses along the Chicago River. Art Deco, Beaux-Arts, Modernism &mdash; all the major architectural styles that typify the city are on display in the bridgehouses that line the river.</p><p>It can be enough to drive one to distraction, as it once did for Jim Brady.</p><p>&ldquo;I almost had an accident one time when I thought I saw a light in one of them,&rdquo; Brady says. &ldquo;I had to put my eyes back on Wacker Drive. So I never answered my question of if there&rsquo;s any life up there.&rdquo;</p><p>Brady, a journalist turned telecommunications specialist who lives in River Forest, tried to rectify this when he asked Curious City:</p><p style="text-align: center;"><em>&ldquo;Who stays in guard houses along Chicago bridges, and what do they do all day?&rdquo;</em></p><p>As we found out, the quick answer to Jim Brady&rsquo;s question is: Most of the time, nobody! But these beautiful structures still serve a function. Stories about the downtown river bridges and the workers who once tended them solidify the claim that Chicago&rsquo;s relationship with its river is every bit as notable as the one it has with Lake Michigan.</p><p><strong>Bridges to innovation</strong></p><p>Chicago has the most movable bridges<a href="http://www.landmarks.org/ten_most_2013_chicago_bascule_bridges.htm" target="_blank"> of any city in the world</a>. There are 37 in total, including 18 along the river&rsquo;s main branch downtown. Most are of a style called Bascule, from the French word for teeter-totter &mdash;&nbsp;drawbridges that lift up instead of swinging to the side.</p><p>Like a lot of its most impressive feats of architecture and engineering, the city&rsquo;s record-setting collection of drawbridges has its origin in a very practical concern.</p><p>&ldquo;We had all these big boats coming through and a pretty narrow river, so you couldn&rsquo;t really build those big bridge spans that would clear those large boats,&rdquo; says Ozana Balan-King, a <a href="http://www.chicagoriver.org/" target="_blank">Friends of the Chicago River</a> employee who helps run the&nbsp;<a href="http://www.bridgehousemuseum.org/home/" target="_blank">&nbsp;McCormick Bridgehouse &amp; Chicago River Museum</a>.<img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Jim Brady and bridge museum lady.jpg" style="height: 231px; width: 320px; float: left;" title="Our question asker Jim Brady with Ozana Balan-King, who helps run the McCormick Bridgehouse &amp; Chicago River Museum. (Flickr/Chris Bentley)" /></p><p>She adds that since our bridges needed to move out of the way quickly, &ldquo;A lot of the movable bridge innovation in the world has really taken place here in Chicago.&rdquo;</p><p><strong>Now, a bridge for two seasons</strong></p><p>In 1920, the modern Michigan Avenue bridge&rsquo;s first year of operation, it opened 3,377 times. Back then bridgehouses were staffed around the clock and opened on demand. But the law began to favor landlubbers over boat traffic on the Chicago River, especially as commercial shipping shifted south to the Calumet Harbor.</p><p>Now bridges open only two times per week during a few months of the year:<a href="http://www.cityofchicago.org/city/en/depts/cdot/provdrs/bridge/news/2013/apr/spring_bridge_liftsmarksstartoftheboatingseason.html" target="_blank"> Between April and June</a>, bridges open on Wednesday and Saturday mornings to let sailboats into Lake Michigan. On the same days<a href="http://www.cityofchicago.org/city/en/depts/cdot/provdrs/bridge/news/2013/sep/fall_bridge_liftschedule.html" target="_blank"> from late September until mid-November</a>, they open again so sailboats can return to the Chicago River system before winter.</p><p>That system has been in place since 1994. Since they&rsquo;re no longer staffed 24 hours a day, bridgehouses are usually unoccupied, though the 18th Street bridge is still staffed around the clock.</p><p>During bridge lifts, seven crews from the Chicago Department of Transportation work to open and close 27 city-owned bridges. Crews leapfrog one another to keep the process moving, but it can take up to five hours. They start between 9 and 10 a.m. to avoid the worst of the morning and afternoon rush hours.</p><p>Boat owners can talk to their boatyards about signing up for a bridge lift. To find out when lifts are scheduled, CDOT spokesman Peter Scales says to<a href="http://www.cityofchicago.org/city/en/depts/cdot/provdrs/bridge/news/2013/sep/fall_bridge_liftschedule.html" target="_blank"> look out for press releases</a>. James Phillips, who runs the website<a href="http://www.chicagoloopbridges.com/" target="_blank"> ChicagoLoopBridges.com</a>, also<a href="https://twitter.com/chicagobridges" target="_blank"> tweets the dates of confirmed bridge lifts</a>.</p><p><strong>The grinding gears of bridge duty</strong></p><p>Back when bridgehouses were staffed, bridge tending often meant more than just making sure boat traffic ran smoothly.</p><p>&ldquo;There was always something burning in this area here,&rdquo; said Bruce Lampson, 67, a former bridgetender. &ldquo;I had two telephones: one directly to City Hall, and one to &mdash; in those days &mdash; the Illinois Bell Telephone Company.&rdquo;<img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/WEB lampson-at-z-1 by Virginia Lampson_Bruce mom.jpg" style="float: left;" title="Bruce Lampson operating the former Z-1 bridge. His mom came to visit and snapped a few shots. (Courtesy Virginia Lampson)" /></p><p>From 1961 until he was drafted by the Army in 1965, Lampson ran the Z-1 bridge that used to carry railroad tracks northeast across the river just north of Kinzie Street. He grew up in the area and had learned to operate the bridge by watching people work the control panel when he was a child. Instead of going to high school, Lampson lied about his age and got the job when he was just 14 years old.</p><p>&ldquo;I was very tall for my age,&rdquo; he says. &ldquo;They never asked any questions. They just asked, &lsquo;Can you operate a bridge?&rsquo; &rdquo;</p><p>He worked from 6:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. for six days at a time, earning two days off and $65 &mdash; not much less than his mother made working as a secretary in City Hall. In addition to opening the bridge, he sometimes had to direct street traffic with red flags when extreme heat or cold would jam the gates that kept motorists from driving into the river at the neighboring Kinzie Street bridge. But, he says, sometimes they did so anyway. He says he was once at his post on the east bank of the river when a man committed suicide.</p><p>&ldquo;I watched a man jump off the [Kinzie Street] bridge, go down, pop back up almost back up to the bridge, go back into the water and that&rsquo;s it. I never saw him. He just floated away under the water,&rdquo; Lampson says. &ldquo;I&rsquo;ve seen cows, horses, livestock floating down. I&rsquo;ve seen pieces of boats floating down. Anything that floated would float past you like that.&rdquo;</p><p>Z-1 was a bob-tail swing bridge that spun sideways instead of lifting up like a bascule bridge. It no longer exists, but the Z-2 bridge on North Avenue has a similar design.</p><p>In the summer of 2013, Chicago Tribune reporters Hal Dardick and John Byrne <a href="http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2013-07-06/news/ct-met-dick-mell-interview-20130706_1_alderman-70-jobs-popsicle">interviewed departing Alderman Richard Mell</a>, who says he &quot;put four kids through college as bridge tenders&rdquo;:</p><p style="text-align: center;"><em>&ldquo;I would get them on the second shift, from 3 to 11, where they could do their homework. Or 11 to 7, where they&#39;d sleep, and they were getting electrician&#39;s pay, and it was great. I helped.&rdquo;</em><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/z-1-bridge%20by%20Virginia%20Lampson%20web.jpg" style="height: 251px; width: 320px; float: right;" title="A look at the former Z-1 bridge. (Courtesy of Virginia Lampson)" /></p><p>Boat traffic on the Chicago River has dried up a bit since then, and the crew that operates the city&rsquo;s movable bridges has followed suit. Darryl Rouse, CDOT&rsquo;s Assistant Commissioner and Superintendent of Bridges, said his staff is down from hundreds of employees during the 1970s to just 51 today. The days of sleeping or doing homework on the job, he says, are long gone &mdash; the crew is too small, Rouse says, to give bridge tenders any time to slack off.</p><p>If our question asker, Jim Brady, wants a glimpse of the way things used to be, he can drop by five bridges in the Calumet system that are staffed 24 hours a day. Milwaukee also<a href="http://milwaukeeriverkeeper.org/content/milwaukee-bridge-overview"> still has several staffed bridgehouses</a>, although many of that city&rsquo;s bridges are operated automatically or by remote.</p><p>But maybe the bridgehouses themselves are enough, as Jim Brady and I learn when we tour the Bridgehouse Museum.</p><p>Brady leans out the window over Michigan Avenue. &ldquo;It&rsquo;s a part of Chicago that Chicago can just walk right by if you&rsquo;re late for your 10 a.m. appointment,&rdquo; he says. &ldquo;There&rsquo;s a lot going on that we just don&rsquo;t see.&rdquo;<a name="bridgevideo"></a></p><p><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/a6r_Wee7BxA" width="420"></iframe><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/mJhnaTKEPOU" width="560"></iframe></p><p><em><a href="http://cabentley.com/">Chris Bentley</a> is a reporter for Curious City. Follow him at <a href="https://twitter.com/Cementley">@Cementley</a>.</em></p></p> Fri, 11 Oct 2013 13:06:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/series/curious-city/bridges-span-river-and-decades-108903 Best selfies on Facebook: Water Reclamation District photos http://www.wbez.org/blogs/lee-bey/2013-09/best-selfies-facebook-water-reclamation-district-photos-108684 <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/541053_423591327732094_1704436682_n.jpg" style="width: 600px; height: 841px;" title="" /></div><div class="image-insert-image ">We rarely see the Wrigley Building as it is shown in the above photo from 1922.</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">Looking eastward down the Chicago River, we see the Wrigley&#39;s south tower is complete while the future landmark&#39;s north tower is about two years from being built. And in the decades to come, virtually every structure surrounding the Wrigley Building in this picture would be cleared away and replaced with something bigger and better, thus transforming the waterside industrial district into one of the most beautiful urban riverfronts in America.&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">So who took the photo? Was it the Wrigley Company, looking to show off its building? Maybe a passing photographer? Neither. The photograph was commissioned by the Chicago Sanitary District, the predecessor to today&#39;s Metropolitan Water Reclamation District. The government agency is responsible for handling the county&#39;s wastewater and storm runoff. That would include the Chicago River, which the agency famously reversed in 1900.</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">The MWRD posts historic photographs of its work about once a week on its<a href="https://www.facebook.com/MetropolitanWaterReclamationDistrict"> Facebook page.</a></div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">Here&#39;s a 1916 photo of the Jackson St. bridge over the Chicago River, looking south. The district built the bridge in 1915. The span is still there, but Postwar skyscrapers dominate the vista now:</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/6308_467003593390867_783281850_n.jpg" style="width: 600px; height: 373px;" title="" /></div></div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">The district was installing a sewer line on Halsted Street, near 31st &mdash; you can see the material to the right &mdash; in this 1923 photograph. The photographer also captured the long-gone Milda Theater at 3142 S. Halsted. The 900-seat house closed in the 1950s and the building lived on as office space until it was demolished for a police station in 2004:</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/60756_417304868360740_534784175_n.jpg" title="" /></div></div><div class="image-insert-image ">The well-received 2011 book&nbsp;<em>Lost Panoramas: When Chicago Changed its River and the Land Beyond&nbsp;</em>showcased stunning photography commissioned by the district between the 1890s and 1930s. The photos show the wilderness and natural vistas outside of Chicago that were altered by the engineers and armies of workers who built the complex system of canals and infrastructure that reversed the flow of the Chicago River.&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image "><div class="image-insert-image "><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">And a similar transformation was happening in Chicago also, as the photograph of the Wrigley Building shows: A new Chicago rising from the old; the past yielding to what is to come.</div></div></div></div><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Tue, 17 Sep 2013 05:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/lee-bey/2013-09/best-selfies-facebook-water-reclamation-district-photos-108684 George Schipporeit, architect of Lake Point Tower, dies http://www.wbez.org/blogs/lee-bey/2013-08/george-schipporeit-architect-lake-point-tower-dies-108566 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/Screen Shot 2013-08-30 at 11.05.13 AM.png" alt="" /><p><p><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="450" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/iMFbr8Pjtbs" width="620"></iframe></p><p>Lake Point Tower was George Schipporeit and John Heinrich&#39;s first commission as architects &mdash; and it was a knock-out: a 70-story skyscraper, completed in 1968, that would become one of the most beautiful buildings on the Chicago skyline.</p><p>Schipporeit, who was also an associate professor at IIT&#39;s College of Architecture, died Thursday. He was 80. (Heinrich died in 1993 at age 65). Schipporeit&#39;s work would include the residential tower Asbury Plaza at 750 N. Dearborn and the dark brown, 22-story former <a href="http://www.chicagoarchitecture.info/Building/1365/Bank-One-Building.php">Chase Tower</a>&nbsp;in Evanston.</p><p>But Lake Point Tower would be Schipporeit&#39;s best-known and most spectacular work. Schipporeit and Heinrich &mdash; both students of architect Mies van der Rohe &mdash; took the modernist box and gave it curves, creating a skyscraper that rivaled the best efforts of their teacher.</p><p>Which brings us to the video above. It&#39;s the first part of a 1969 documentary, <em>Lake Point Tower: The Story of Building a Building.&nbsp;</em>Schipporeit narrates the documentary and fills it with rich observations and details. Looking at it now, the documentary is a fitting tribute to Schipporeit, Heinrich and the team that created the architectural masterpiece at 505 N. Lake Shore Drive.</p><p>Here&#39;s the rest of the documentary:</p><p><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="450" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/DogZD_UdaNI" width="620"></iframe></p><p><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="450" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/q10NnA6UGXk" width="620"></iframe></p></p> Fri, 30 Aug 2013 04:12:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/lee-bey/2013-08/george-schipporeit-architect-lake-point-tower-dies-108566