A Sneak Peek: New Chicago Architecture Projects
Many cities with an architectural history as rich as Chicago’s might be content to just sit on their laurels, basking in the successful glow of some of the most recognizable and innovative buildings in the world. But not the Windy City. Here’s a closer look at the latest architecture initiatives sure to take Chicagoans (and the world) by storm.
A proposed overpass that would make Chicago a national leader in innovative transportation infrastructure won approval this week from the Chicago Plan Commission. The overpass would extend for half a mile and run parallel to North Lake Shore Drive from the Chicago River on the south to Jane Addams Memorial Park on the north. It would relieve the traffic-heavy points in the 18-mile lakefront trail, including the one at the lower level of Lake Shore Drive Bridge.
Chicagoans looking for the trendiest piece of architecture to rest their heads and lay their belongings down at night are in luck. Two new Loop buildings, at 215 W. Washington and the 200 block of North Wells and West Lake Streets, respectively, are bringing new meaning to the term apartment complex. 215 West is composed of three distinct parts: A ground floor lined with storefronts, above that a 600-space parking garage and above the garage, a thin slab housing 389 apartments. Due to the difference in the size of their floor plates, the slab’s eastern edge seems in danger of falling off the garage, if not for a big steel truss that joins it to the rest of the building and lends a dramatic architectural feel. The 42-story 200 Squared is also divided into threes: a glassy ground floor, a 547-space garage and a thin glassy slab that contains 329 apartments.
A $40 million renovation to Union Station is currently underway and expected to be complete in 2012 or 2013. For the first time since the 1960s, this summer air conditioning will be installed in the Great Hall. Other improvements include new restrooms on the concourse level, the expansion of existing lounge space and a new lounge below the staircase where scenes from the film The Untouchables were filmed.
The Ambassador East Hotel
Built in the Gold Coast in 1926, the hotel and its legendary Pump Room restaurant are now owned by New York hotelier Ian Schrager, who has major renovations planned for the property. While the hotel is remaining open through the work, the Pump Room restaurant, a former celebrity mainstay that saw the likes of Frank Sinatra and Mick Jagger throughout the years, has now closed. Schrager plans to rechristen the hotel at 1301 N. State Parkway in September. Renowned for starting the boutique hotel trend, Schrager has not yet disclosed his plans for the renovations, or even the hotel’s new name, but rest assured it will be incredibly stylish and the epitome of luxury accommodations.
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