The positively horizontal, vaguely industrial, commercial building at 935 North Rush Street is about to start a new chapter in its already interesting life.
Most recently, it was an Urban Outfitters location. But U.A. moved up the street to 1100 North State Street a few years ago. Now permits have been issued to start construction on the second of two new tenants to fill the retail space: a new Christian Dior store.
We’re going with “store” and not “boutique” because in recent years, certain luxury houses, like Dior, have embraced architecture as an expression of their brands. Recently we strolled along Omotesando Dori in Tokyo, where more than a dozen high-end brands compete side-by-side to attract attention with their innovative and sometimes mind-bending displays of architecture.
Were not saying it’s proof that good architecture equals increased profits, but there’s a reason that certain retailers are expanding their enthusiastic architecture footprints, while bean-counting corner-cutters like Sears and Macy’s are shuttering stores left and right.
Chicago’s most recent taste of this trend is a few blocks away, at 633 North Michigan Avenue, where Burberry tried to go all-out with a new flagship store in 2012. Alas, Callison Barteluce Architects had to tone down the design to meet midwest sensibilities. Still, it’s a magical expression of the Burberry tartan in architectural form, even if delivery trucks trundling down the adjacent alley keep knocking into the pointy bits.
The Windy City is already well on its way toward getting its next taste of architecture as retail magnet, again on Michigan Avenue. This time down at number 401, where construction crews are busy burrowing into the weir at Pioneer Court for the new Foster+Partners-designed Apple Store. Check out the progress photo from Building Up Chicago below.
So, what’s in store for 931 North Rush Street? When we last updated you on this project back in April of 2015 we had renderings showing the entirety of the Bertrand Goldberg-designed building (known as Walton Gardens when it opened in 1956 as the home of Universal Records), as a big glassy, faceted jewel box illuminated from within. That, of course, didn’t happen as the north half of the building (933 North Rush Street) became a Versace boutique in April.
Luckily, a new rendering surfaced recently, with a date of May which shows the building visually divided between two retail tenants. Whoever made the rendering must be a Downton Abbey fan, since the Versace store has been replaced by the fictional “Lord & Grantham” shop. Appropriately, the companion Dior space is named “Cora.”