Posts Tagged ‘Fan Jianhua’

I & M Canal

April 10, 2009

I gave a tour of the I & M Canal National Heritage Corridor on Wednesday – well, half of it, since it is a 100 miles long and you can only do about half of it in a day. We went through Willow Springs, Lemont and then spent time in Lockport and Joliet, visiting OF COURSE the Gaylord Building in Lockport and the Rialto Square Theatre in Joliet. I have been doing this tour for OVER 25 years, so it provided some reflection on how much progress there has been over that period of time, but I also noted – having done the same tour for the Art Institute last summer – how much progress there has been in the last 10 months.
rialto-09s
There is now a “Rialto Arts District” featuring three galleries around the Rialto Square Theatre in Joliet. There are even more sculptures and murals in that town (and a few less landmarks). The best change is undoubtedly the reopened Public Landing in Lockport, which provides incredibly great vistas of the Gaylord Building and most importantly, from an interpretive point of view, allows you to see how the Gaylord and Norton buildings functioned during their heyday as transshipment warehouses for grain and goods traveling from farm to canal to market.
gaylord-from-ldgs
When I first took a tour group along this route in the fall of 1983, the Gaylord Building was a rotting hulk and a fifth of Joliet’s residents were unemployed. I remember how impatient I was in my 20s at the progress of this grand experiment – the I & M Canal National Heritage Corridor – which Jerry Adelmann envisioned. But it has happened. And I’ve gotten older and perhaps less impatient.

Speaking of Jerry, our friend Professor Fan Jianhua of Yunnan will be speaking today at Noon in the 112 S. Michigan Avenue Building about the Architectural Treasures of Weishan. Yunxia “Jingjing” Gao and I will be taking 14 students to Weishan this May to continue work on the preservation of the Weishan Heritage Valley – a national heritage corridor in China which has some roots in Lockport and Jerry’s work. We met with the students Thursday night and they are stoked. Our project will be trying to figure out ways to modernize traditional courtyard homes with modern conveniences, like plumbing.
silk-rd-gates
This is a VERY busy semester. I looked at my “to do” list and it had 20 categories – not 20 things to do, 20 CATEGORIES of things to do – like my three classes, my program, my consulting job, my six or seven boards, and all those extras like tours and lectures. more to come….

End of March

March 31, 2009

March is going out more lionine than lamblike and perhaps April will be less hectic – it looks like I am staying in town all month (unless you count two tours to Lockport and Joliet for AIC). Our Masters in Historic Preservation program has a lot going on this month, starting next Monday, April 6 when my seminar class presents our ideas for interpretation of the Armitage-Halsted district to Alderman Vi Daley, the CTA and members of the Sheffield community. This class has done a great job of tackling a range of interpretive elements, from website and brochure and banners to a couple of installations at the Armitage L station designed to get people looking at the amazing buildings of the Armitage-Halsted historic district, with their Renaissance (Baroque) inspired architectural details in metal, stone and brick. Here are a few samples of these delicious buildings:
917-armtgs
1967-halsted-1892
852-54-w-armitgs
I was one of the expert witnesses for the district when the Commission proposed it to the City Council back in 2002-03 and it is nice that Alderman Daley wants to promote it some more, because it is largely unmarked and it is special – only 18th Street in Pilsen and Milwaukee Avenue in Wicker Park comes close in terms of a 19th century commercial streetscape in Chicago. We have some neat ideas (I’m holding the surprise until later) on how to get people to LOOK UP and see the architectural sumptuousness circumscribing their everyday.
2100-halsted-1888
Then, a week from Friday, on April 10, we are having a lunchtime lecture at the School’s ballroom at 112 S. Michigan Avenue from Professor Fan Jianhua, who has been our key sponsor for the Yunnan Initiative in China, in concert with the US-China Arts Exchange. Professor Fan published our students who came to Weishan photographing in 2006 and promises to help again when we return this summer.
dscf7271
dsc_0953sml
This last image is one Felicity Rich shot in 2006 – nice view to the North Gate building (1390, dude!) which is a national landmark in China, and rightly so – second largest gate tower after Tien An Men. And it is older.

So, then the following weekend we are doing our practice tours for our six neighborhoods – South Chicago, Auburn-Gresham, Quad Communities (Bronzeville), Pilsen, Albany Park and the Indo-American Museum. This is a project of the Burnham Centennial. These tours go live during Chicago Great Places and Spaces on May 16 so BE THERE!
gothic-deco-lawrs
albany park on lawrence
79th-deco-goths
auburn gresham on 79th
20th-flats-cottages1
pilsen 20th street
st-vitus-prp-muralss
Pilsen Resurrection Project – former St Vitus
ains-bungas
bungalows north
ada-bungs5s
bungalows south

April 28 we are having the amazing Doug Farr of Farr and Associates – you saw his Zero Energy House on Channel 11 TONIGHT – speaking in the museum’s Fullerton Hall in conjunction with our evening green preservation class. Two nights later we will have our students’ thesis presentations and the awarding of their pair of Peterson prizes for measured drawings by Walker Johnson, FAIA. In between I have my three classes, a couple of meetings for our China Study Trip and a couple of Gaylord Building meetings.

Then in May it gets busy…


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