Preservationists on Alert Over Potential Uptown Art Deco Demolition
Dec12

Preservationists on Alert Over Potential Uptown Art Deco Demolition

The klaxon you hear pealing across Uptown these days is the sound of Preservation Chicago having a minor freak-out over the potential demolition of the building at 1001 West Leland Avenue. To be sure, the two-story mixed-use building has seen better days.  It’s been neglected, foreclosed, abused, vandalized, and finally abandoned.  As far back as May of 2012, 46th Ward Alderman James Cappleman asked the Chicago Department of...

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Status Update: What’s Driving the Chicago Motor Club Building
Sep22

Status Update: What’s Driving the Chicago Motor Club Building

Work continues to convert one of Chicago’s best art moderne office towers into a hotel.  The Chicago Motor Club Building (68 East Wacker Place) occupies a prime location just steps from the epicenter of tourist Chicago, but those few steps make a huge difference.  Few visitors, or even locals, have actually seen it in person. It’s not just this building that suffered when obscurity knocked.  When Lakeshore East was built,...

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Lost Pieces of Merchandise Mart Found in a Suburban Garden
May22

Lost Pieces of Merchandise Mart Found in a Suburban Garden

A couple of times a month we get e-mails here from people who have found something related to Chicago or architecture or Chicago architecture and they want to know if it’s worth saving, restoring, or selling. These are almost always things like skyline postcards, or matchbooks with the logos of long-gone hotels, or sometimes receipts from stores that are long gone. Since this isn’t Antiques Roadshow and we don’t have...

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Slice of Life: Oh, Grate
Feb25

Slice of Life: Oh, Grate

Chicago is a great town for hunting for art deco treasures.  There are plenty of great buildings with art deco outsides, but wandering into their interior lobbies, arcades, and promenades is where you find the best stuff. Witness this ventilation grate in the retail corridor of 2 North Riverside.  The former Chicago Daily News building is linked to the 80’s modern Citigroup Center, but retains most of its original decorative...

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Garden in a City in a Garden

Often there doesn’t seem to be much horto in Chicago’s urbs unless you live along the lakefront. Even in neighborhoods as close as the West Loop, such iconic city amenities as a park bench are in tragically short supply. One of the few places a person can sit and enjoy summer in the city without being required to purchase a beverages is the plaza in front of Riverside Plaza (2 North Riverside Plaza).  It’s a...

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Ten Perfect Chicago Experiences
Feb25

Ten Perfect Chicago Experiences

A friend of mine is moving.  He’s trying to choose which city to move his life, family, and business to.  For various reasons, the three finalists are Los Angeles, New York, and Chicago. Listening to him talk about his decision-making process started me thinking about Chicago, and some of the — for lack of a better word — “perfect” Chicago experiences I’ve had, and try to occasionally recreate. So,...

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The Delight Is In The Details

The Chicago Tribune moved an article late last week about the newly revived Chicago Art Deco Society.  It’s a group of people trying to preserve what little Art Deco installations still exist in the city. Chicago is more of an Art Moderne metropolis, or at least it would have been if Maria Mies Ludwig Mies van der Rohe hadn’t gotten in the way.  But there are still pockets of Deco delight here and there to...

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