Montrose and Clarendon: 'Mad Men' meets 'Logan's Run' (and not in a good way) | WBEZ
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Montrose and Clarendon: 'Mad Men' meets 'Logan's Run' (and not in a good way)

(photo by Lee Bey)

 A reader told me to go look at the vacant Columbus Maryville complex on Montrose just west of Lake Shore Drive. "I'm not sure what they were trying to do there," he said. "It's like they were going for something Utopian."

Developer Marty Paris announced plans this year to raze the former children's shelter for a $350 million residential/retail project, according to Crain's, so I decided to have a peek while I could.

I was captivated by the Eisenhower-era modernity of the building on the northeast corner of Montrose and Clarendon.‚  Architect‚  Edo J. Belli whose firm helped usher in a kind of ecclesiastical modernism to Roman Catholic Chicago architecture designed the 1957 building. Belli's work included St. Patrick's High School, 5900 W Belmont and the uber-Googie St. Joseph's Hospital at 2900 N. Lake Shore Drive.

But across the street is a building worthy of the "Architecture You Despise" post I did in January: a mid-1970s addition to the campus that is so What the Hades?-ugly, that once it is demolished, the ground it sat on should be salted down to make sure another building like this doesn't grow in its place. Behold (and be holding your nose when you do):


(photo by Lee Bey)

Wait, there's more:


(photo by Lee Bey)

The buildings were originally Cuneo Hospital.‚  The modernist east building was a 140 bed women and children's hospital when was dedicated by‚  Cardinal Samuel Stritch in 1957.‚  I could find no information on the 1973 addition,‚  other than a news story that mentioned in passing the hospital's completion date. The buildings are linked by a bridge over Clarendon. I've not seen two subjects so tied together and yet so at odds with each other since, well...this.


(photo by Lee Bey)

Anyway, here are a few more building details.


(photo by Lee Bey)


(photo by Lee Bey)

I like this. The roofline is like an artist's palette:

(photo by Lee Bey)

Jokes aside, I can see how my reader might have thought a Utopian vision informed the campus. The 1973 addition tries hard to be visually something other than a hospital with its curves, angles and recesses. I imagine the odd shape was the architect's way of getting more daylight into the building, a tactic that is becoming more widespread now. Except the facade screams "1970s!" like satin baseball jackets and an autographed picture of the Hudson Brothers.

The proposed new development is slated to be called Lake View Station. Paris hopes to break ground this year, according to Crain's.

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