Burberry’s Beautiful Boulevard Building Battered, Bruised and Bandaged

Damage to the Burberry Flagship Store.  Straight and shiny check on the right. Mangled check on the left.

Damage to the Burberry Flagship Store. Straight and shiny check on the right. Mangled check on the left.

It’s not easy being beautiful.  Sienna Miller may fly first class, but she still has bad hair days, breaks the occasional nail, and can get her stiletto stuck in a subway grate just like the rest of us.

Damage to the Burberry Flagship StoreSuch is the case with the beautiful Burberry Flagship Store at 633 North Michigan Avenue.  Since its opening last year, we’ve received several complaints about the shiny store from employees who speak of its physical problems.

While those alleged defects are likely not noticeable to someone who’s not in the market for a $9,000 giraffe-inspired Prorsum trenchcoat (fall is always animal prints), what is noticeable to every Joe Lunchbucket who walks down Michigan Avenue is the damage to the building’s facade.

A good portion of the north side of the building features the same Burberry trademark check pattern, expressed as a three-dimentional chrome overlay on the building’s already insanely polished exterior walls.  But the corner where the alley meets the street is also apparently where the grime meets the shine.  It has been battered repeatedly, and severely, presumably by trucks making deliveries through the alley.

The damage is so bad, and happening so often, that Burberry has had to wrap a twisted section of chrome in a grotesque poultice made of spray foam and duct tape.

Who’s to blame?  It’s hard to say.  We’ve heard employees try to blame the package delivery guys.  But in our observation, they tend to park elsewhere, and approach the Burberry store with boxes loaded on carts.  However, we have spotted very large freight trucks – 18-wheelers, even – barreling out of the alley onto Michigan Avenue with little regard for pedestrians, let alone  any delicate architecture that may meet their mud flaps.

The fact that the twisted member has been only bandaged, and not repaired, for months is an indication that this isn’t a simple matter of submitting pictures to the insurance company and fixing the building.  Let’s hope that Burberry is applying to the city for a permit to put a bollard there to protect its corner; though the CDOT may be reluctant to further narrow an already perilously slender alley.

Nevertheless, the patch job is an embarrassment of a far greater note than a simple chipped nail.

Author: Editor

Editor founded the Chicago Architecture Blog in 2003, after a long career in journalism. He can be reached at chicagoarchitectureinfo@gmail.com.

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