seeing the world and the floor

One of the best things about my job is that I get to tour wonderful old buildings regularly. Monday I was with my class in River Forest where we are doing a quick survey on behalf of the Village’s new Historic Preservation Commission. Thanks to the astute research of Nicola Spasoff, we identified a several-block section of homes by local builders Buurma Brothers, which have a wonderful aesthetic and planning unity – they are sort of between styles – kind of Four Square but always with tile roofs, porte cocheres and red wirecut brick, a little too big for four squares and bearing a collection of ornamental details from Prairie to Renaissance. But there are several blocks of them, which creates a unity (and of course an economic value) that is rare.
Buurma section of River Forest
Then Tuesday I joined Drea Howenstein’s and Patrick Rivers’ class at the South Side Community Arts Center, where we got a top-to-bottom tour from Director Faheem Majheed and consulted with Lisa Stone on their archive, for which they got a Partners in Preservation Grant. This place – a Victorian mansion redone in the “new Bauhaus” of 1941 on the inside – is dripping with history – a huge old kiln in the basement, darkrooms that once housed Gordon Parks, and stacks of artwork from the Center’s 68 years of history.
new bauhaus sscac
I also liked the cool linoleum floor in the basement.
ccol floor sscac
Wednesday by bicycle to Cicero to see Mary Queen of Heaven Church, a 1929 Colonial Revival treasure by Joseph McCarthy, Cardinal Mundelein’s “court architect” and what a treasure it was,being protected by the incredibly astute Fr. Esequiel Sanchez. This was one of those places where they never screwed it up – it seemed like the narthex ceiling still had the original paint…
narthex ceiling MQOH
The design was a stunning testament to the Americanization of the Catholic Church – just look at this interior and you would think you were a New England Protestant…
Interior, Mary Queen of Heaven
We also dug the linoleum floor, which I have to admit might not be saved in either place, but how often do you get to see this?
linoleum c. 1929, MQOH
It is easy to get people interested in stained glass and even bauhaus design. Linoleum floors are mostly for the geeks…

okay wordpress, you get kudos if these images work out. Fnewsmagazine is on its own now, and somewhere there is a legal hound who needs a new task….

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