Partners Progress

Well, we are two days into the Partners in Preservation voting (see post above and vote at http://www.partnersinpreservation.com) and time for a quick crit of the results so far – with over a month to go.

On Leong/Pui Tak in Chinatown has the early lead thanks to an aggressive mareting campaign among members and friends – and hey, it is worthy – some of the best terra cotta in town. They started off with 16% and still lead at 12%.

Lisa Stone and all my friends at SAIC are doing a good job keeping Roger Brown in the Top 10 (currently 8th), and Frank Heitzman and Laura Thompson have managed to get Pleasant Home in the top 10 as well.

The striking thing to me about the results: Traditional high-style architecture is drawing the votes – Frank Lloyd Wright’s Unity Temple and Robie House are Numbers 2 and 5, and the Cultural Center is number 4. These are buildings that were the subject of preservation interest and advocacy in the 1950s, the 1970s, the 1980s and again today. A similar argument could be made for the architecturally stunning if less famous Humboldt Park Receptory and Pleasant Home. I guess I was expecting m0re support for “community” landmarks like the South Side Community Arts Center, Independence Park Bungalow or Holy Trinity Russian Orthodox (which thanks to Louis Sullivan could also be in the high style category). The GAR Hall in Aurora at Number 6 is the highest in this category, and props to Homan Square for bringing Lawndale up to Number 11 – how did the West Siders top the two South Side African American sites? On the other hand, High Modernist architecture – represented by Building 42 at great Lakes Naval Center – is lingering at Number 18.

And then there is the Viking Ship at Number 3! This is I believe the only one from Landmarks Illinois’ current Most Endangered List, so perhaps the earlier publicity helped. The only sculpture, the Fountain of Time, is Number 10, although its size and construction make it arguably a building.

Predictions? I think Chinatown will hold serve for at least a while, and my gut says the Wright buildings will also persevere. Roger Brown may dip as SAIC students and faculty get into the semester, although that could have the opposite effect as more people visit the site may keep it in the top 10. I think that those sites regularly open to the public, like Pleasant Home, Unity Temple, Robie House and the Cultural Center, will have the advantage in the coming weeks, making it harder for places like Great Lakes Building 42 and the ABLA Animal Sculptures, currently in storage. to compete. We should see a shift in standings after the open houses next weekend. Stay tuned.

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