The South Loop’s Revival Brings New Appreciation for Chicago’s Landmark Second Presbyterian Church
Jun13

The South Loop’s Revival Brings New Appreciation for Chicago’s Landmark Second Presbyterian Church

The late 19th-century Arts and Crafts movement that came out of England was widely embraced in the United States – especially in Chicago. And the South Loop has one of the largest and best preserved examples of the movement’s precepts: the interior of Second Presbyterian Church (1936 South Michigan Avenue). In March, 2013 Second Presbyterian became the only church in the city of Chicago to be designated a National Historic...

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Loved and Hated, Old and New, Chicago’s Main Library Still Exudes Controversy
May30

Loved and Hated, Old and New, Chicago’s Main Library Still Exudes Controversy

It’s a Chicago building that can’t escape notice. And once you notice it, you can’t help but react to it. The Harold Washington Library Center (400 South State Street) stands stalwart in the South Loop, once a decaying and sad part of the city, now the nexus of regeneration and vitality. Opened to the public in 1991, the design of Chicago’s central library building has always been more than a little...

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The Glessner House: How Forward-Thinking Homeowners Helped a Revolutionary Architect Make His Mark in Chicago
Apr22

The Glessner House: How Forward-Thinking Homeowners Helped a Revolutionary Architect Make His Mark in Chicago

“It looks like an old jail,” one lady commented. “It takes courage to build a house like that,” said another. “Which church is this?” a passerby inquired. “I don’t like it and wish it was not there,” complained neighbor George Pullman, who felt himself cursed by the daily sight of the John J. Glessner House (1800 South Prairie Avenue). Amidst the Gilded Age splendor that was...

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How Chicago’s Historic Fisher Building Got Its Fish, and Other Things That Make It Special
Mar12

How Chicago’s Historic Fisher Building Got Its Fish, and Other Things That Make It Special

Sited among an incomparable collection of surviving early Chicago skyscrapers, the Fisher Building (343 South Dearborn Street) doesn’t resemble any of its neighbors. Though technologically modern, its decorative scheme unabashedly hearkens back to the Gothic cathedrals of Europe. South Dearborn Street in the 1890’s was hot real estate. Until the 1880’s, the area was residential, but when Dearborn Station was built at...

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The Rise and Fall and Rise Again of Chicago’s Beloved Marquette Building
Feb28

The Rise and Fall and Rise Again of Chicago’s Beloved Marquette Building

It is one of those buildings that the unsuspecting might pass right by, its unflashy brown façade and comparatively modest scale giving no overt clues to its architectural significance and the artistic treasures it contains. But the Marquette Building (140 South Dearborn Street) is a quintessential example of an early skyscraper and the Chicago commercial style, a successful office building rich with art that honors Chicago history,...

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The Groundbreaking Inland Steel Building Becomes Fully Appreciated 50 Years Later
Feb14

The Groundbreaking Inland Steel Building Becomes Fully Appreciated 50 Years Later

It is sleek, sophisticated, and understated. It is also accessible, inviting, and delightful as it shimmers in the sun. The Inland Steel Building (officially 30 West Monroe Street) remains an epochal example of modern architecture. And while this iconic Chicago structure isn’t a skyline diva, it was bold and innovative when it arrived in the late 1950s. After the twenty-year cessation of new construction caused by the Depression...

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A Not-So-Brief History of a Chicago Landmark: The Sullivan Center
Feb07

A Not-So-Brief History of a Chicago Landmark: The Sullivan Center

  In the late 1890s, Louis H. Sullivan received a commission that would prove to be the culmination of all he had done, the last large commission of his life, and a building like none other he had created. Passing by today’s bright CityTarget store (1 South State Street), all that this building is and was and its significance is not immediately obvious. Sullivan succeeded in creating a dramatically animated structure that merged...

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