Gropius in Chicago

Grahm Balkany, a student at IIT, the school designed by the great Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, has uncovered a surprising amount of evidence that Mies’ fellow modernist Walter Gropius had a hand in as many as 8 of the buildings at Michael Reese Hospital, the venue for the planned Olympic Village 2016. While the 2016 committee has always said they would save the main building, by local hospital heavyweights and sometime Prairie specialists Schmidt, Garden and Martin, the Gropius buildings are a big question mark at best. I saw Balkany’s presentation and it was very impressive – Gropius’ name appears on drawings as well as that of his firm and local planning director Reginald Isaacs. And as Balkany told the Landmarks Illinois’ Issues Committee, once you start looking at the buildings….
mrh-kaplan-bess
These are the only Gropius buildings in Illinois, much less Chicago, and they are part of a near South Side that is an essay in modernist planning, flanked by Prairie Shores, Lake Meadows, and to the west, IIT.
mrh-gropius-31st-bs
All of a sudden, it seems near South side Chicago is a Gropiusstadt, and the parallels in materials and idiom between the works of the Bauhaus’ first and last directors is stunning.
mrh-steam-plants
iit-typicals
ok, that is Mies
mrh-bldgs
gropius
iit-modeules
mies
mrh-friends
gropius
It’s like a showdown between two architectural Olympians, and it’s all here.

The Gropius in Chicago website is at http://www.savemrh.com/home/

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