A brief pause

I try to keep a regular schedule for posting, but with the holidays underway and family obligations pulling me this way and that, I need to take a short break. I’ll be back at it come January.

Till then, thanks to everyone who’s been reading (and especially those who have been commenting) this year. I hope you’ve enjoyed it as much as I have!

In the mean time, have a few older photos that reflect the current weather.

River bridge

Lobby of light

Weather Bell in the weather

Green Line pulling out

Federal Center Plaza and Post Office

From the EL

Advertisements

Public Storage Mutilates for Commerce!

Y’know what company really hates architecture? Public Storage.

IMG_2717
Clark Street, Edgewater

These guys ram their unified corporate paint scheme over every building they get, with a disregard for aesthetics and architectural detail that borders on the criminal.

IMG_1568
S. Ashland Avenue

IMG_0801a
Archer Avenue

IMG_0716
N. Broadway, Edgewater

Seriously. It melts my brain.

IMG_0286b

IMG_2719

IMG_0720a

IMG_2713

IMG_1570

What crime did these poor warehouse buildings commit to have their ornament slathered over in such a fashion? Who did they offend?

Lakefront towers

With the weather having taken its inevitable late-fall turn for the crappy, I’d like to skip up and down the lakefront a bit in photographs, and remember both warmer, bluer and greener times, and also some of the lovely highrises that one glimpses while running Lake Shore Drive.

IMG_7142

One of the first and most obvious lessons here is the evolution of scale. Just contrast the historicist towers – generally from the 1920s and earlier – with their post-war successors. The size of the latter tends to be hugely inflated.

IMG_7742

IMG_6026

IMG_1254

IMG_7371

And yes, the post-war buildings often are a lot uglier. The Modernist ethos of minimalist design soon transmogrified into an ethos of minimal designing. On the flip side, they usually have more generous windows – more light coming in, better views looking out.

But not all pre-war high rises are delicate little flowers! Some are massive chunks of masonry.
IMG_7343
3750 N. Lake Shore Drive / 1540 N. LaSalle

IMG_7385

The lakefront, being Chicago’s greatest amenity, has long attracted its greatest wealth. Apartment houses were dressed up to the nines, as if for a night on the town.
IMG_9567

IMG_7144

IMG_7332

The Belden-Stratford Apartments, a U-shaped Beaux Arts courtyard building with a Second Empire mansard roofline, is one of my favorites.
IMG_7401
1922 – Fridstein & Company

IMG_0962

Some of the MidCentury buildings are interesting in their own right.
IMG_9305
3470 N. Lakeshore Drive – Raggi & Schoenbrod, Inc., 1967

This one, at Sheridan and Bryn Mawr, is one of the finest towers on the lakefront. Its clean horizontal banding make it an outstanding example of International style architecture.
IMG_8648
“The Statesman” – 5601 N. Sheridan – Milton Schwartz & Associates, architects, 1964

IMG_7051

And this pair of conjoined towers may look like an overmassed monstrosity, but take a longer look. There’s a lovely offset grid of windows, and those two mechanical penthouses on top, with their curved brick walls, just make the whole thing come together. The penthouses cap off wide brick bays that act like visual wrapping paper – a pair of bows tying the whole package together.
IMG_7341
3950 N. Lake Shore Drive – Shaw, Metz & Dolio, 1957, originally with rooftop dining. Built on the site of 1910 Richard T. Crane mansion.

IMG_9536

And whatever you think of it, you surely must admit that it’s far better than the dreadful concrete skeleton that stands behind it.
IMG_9539

The towers tend to get shorter as one moves further north. Here’s a couple of my favorite Rogers Park high rises, long past Lake Shore Drive’s end.

IMG_1418a

IMG_1420a

IMG_4633
The Farcroft – 1337 W. Fargo Avenue – Charles Wheeler Nicol

IMG_4640

IMG_6102

Learn a bit more about this last one, with its delightful bosses, here.

Lake Street Church, Evanston

IMG_3004

Lake Street Church is Evanston’s oldest (designed 1872 by architect Cass Chapman) and, for my money, the most beautiful. It’s Victorian Gothic – tall, narrow windows with pointed arches, and a general sense of verticality. The exterior is a simple affair of plaster (not original; when opened, the building’s brick walls were exposed), with only a few bits of ornament emerging at the corners.

IMG_4003

The simplicity without anticipates the elegance within. The sanctuary is a space defined by dark wood and stained glass in the earth-hued range of tones that inspired both the Prairie and Arts and Crafts movements.

IMG_4949a

IMG_4930

The element that most defines the space is the 2nd-level gallery, which wraps nearly the entire space. According to the head usher, it originally wrapped the entire space until a later remodeling (confirmed by a Tribune article from the building’s 1875 opening.)

IMG_4960

IMG_4920a

The head usher shared a couple of other interesting tales. This was the church of Jimmy Carter’s daughter, so the President and his wife would occasionally attend services. This would bring the Secret Service pouring in, of course. Being a community church, most of the congregation was recognizable by face to its ushers. A stranger in the gallery turned out to be one of the agents.

IMG_4918

IMG_4922A

IMG_3240

Lake Street Church was originally the First Baptist Society of Evanston, organized in 1858. Today the church is the oldest public building in Evanston, and an officially designated city landmark.

IMG_4973A

IMG_3298

A later addition forms a courtyard space north of the sanctuary, and contains offices and meeting rooms. The stone Gothic design works well enough with the older building, but lacks its powerful and charming Victorian verticality.

IMG_3113