Posts Tagged ‘saving buildings’

Test the proposal

July 24, 2009

The City of Chicago just awarded $11 million to two contractors to demolish 28 of the 29 buildings at Michael Reese Hospital, including all 8 that were designed with the involvement of Walter Gropius. This brings the total city cost for the site to almost 100 million dollars, but this does not of course begin to tally the environmental costs. Ten years ago, I watched another lakefront demolition, where dust and debris socked those watching from the lakefront.
Let’s measure this one. I would like to know where all the stuff goes and where it comes from. I would like to know how much gasoline and coal and uranium are used to take these buildings from us and give us some other ones, and I need to know how long those last and how much they cost to operate. In fairness, we need to know the environmental costs of rehabbing the Reese buildings, which could be extensive. I don’t know why you can’t make these buildings work as housing and I would like to know the REAL costs of replacing them.
MRH kaplan anglS
Please note: announcing that the new buildings will have green roofs measures nothing.


July in Chicago: Landmark Updates

July 20, 2009

lunar brit mus82
Well, it is 40 years since the moon landing, and lots of other things, like Sesame Street, Wal-Mart and Woodstock, and yes, things from that era are already being preserved – indeed the photo above I took in London in 1982. I took the photo below in 1983 in Manhattan, and captioned it in 1984 and I was struck by how much that caption is identical to the sentiments I express in this blog 25 years later.
ss spt83 unrestored
Enough with the past – what is happening in Chicago in July 2009? Well, we have the ongoing David and Goliath fight over the Gropius buildings at Michael Reese Hospital, not to mention other areas of concern – and POTENTIAL – if Chicago gets the Olympics in 2016. We will know in October, but meanwhile there are other issues, like the cheapest building in downtown, the old Chicago Post Office, a 1923/1938 Deco behemoth that can be had at auction for less than 40 cents a square foot.
old main PO
The Willis Tower became the official name of the 1975 SOM building filling the block along South Wacker between Adams and Jackson. This always seemed less a building than a zoning diagram. I watched someone’s YouTube video about Wesley Willis in tribute.
sears plus w vw09s
Joliet Prison is now assuming its rightful adaptive re-use as a tourist attraction, although access to the interior – which I toured four years ago – is not yet included. Having starred in Prison Break and the Blues Brothers, the prison features not only an original (horrifically cramped and certainly not plumbed) cell from its 1850s debut as well as a fabulous modernist chapel by Edward Dart from the 1960s.
jol pris hist cell i
jol pris ch ex
Some of the saddest news this summer is the impending demise of Kiddieland, an 80-year old small-scale amusement park that I grew up with, that my kids grew up with. It has fabulous landmark quality carousels and rides and a little train circling the whole thing. A family dispute is finally forcing the land sale on the intersection of two big roads. Thank god they waited for the 80-year low water mark in commercial real estate to do it, eh?
strem trainS
This is a damn shame. Some have suggested the county do a land swap and put it across the street in the Forest Preserve.
lit dippS
more to come….