The Last Days of Michael Reese Hospital
Oct06

The Last Days of Michael Reese Hospital

Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s recent announcement that the city is going to finally push the abandoned Michael Reese Hospital site into the development pipeline has got a lot of people thinking.  Architects are dreaming of the sorts of outstanding things they could do with such a large, blank canvas.  Developers are thinking of the oodles of money they can make turning the wasteland into the Next Big Thing™.  And the rest of us, are just...

Read More
City Hall Starts Process to Finally Do Something with Former Michael Reese Hospital Site
Oct03

City Hall Starts Process to Finally Do Something with Former Michael Reese Hospital Site

For as much as Chicago as a whole, and its mayors in particular, talk about how much the city loves the lakefront, there sure is an awful lot of abandoned land along the lake. One of those eyesores may finally be put to use, as Mayor Rahm Emanuel has announced that the city will soon accept proposals for redeveloping the 49-acre Michael Reese Hospital site in Bronzeville. The medical center was a going concern from 1881 until 2008...

Read More
IIT Breaks Ground On Its First New Academic Building in 40 Years
Aug25

IIT Breaks Ground On Its First New Academic Building in 40 Years

The architecture petting zoo that is the Illinois Institute of Technology will soon have a new star attraction: The Ed Kaplan Family Institute for Innovation and Tech Entrepreneurship.  IIT broke ground on the new academic building today, marking its first new learning facility on campus in 40 years. As we know, groundbreaking ceremonies are often divorced from actual construction work, and according to the Chicago Tribune, that work...

Read More
Five Chicago Buildings Up For National Landmark Status
Jun07

Five Chicago Buildings Up For National Landmark Status

Chicago is a city of landmarks — Local, state, and national.  And some of our cherished local buildings are up for national recognition through inclusion on the National Register of Historic Places. Late last week, the Commission on Chicago Landmarks approved the following five buildings to be sent to the Illinois Historic Sites Advisory Council: The Congress Theater (2117 North Milwaukee Avenue) Ebenezer Missionary Baptist Church...

Read More
IIT’s Main Building to Become Student Housing
Feb15

IIT’s Main Building to Become Student Housing

One of the great architectural institutions that helped transform Chicagoland is undergoing a change, itself.  The Illinois Institute of Technology wants to renovate the Main Building at 3300 South Federal Street into residences.  Right now, according to I.I.T.’s web site, it is used for “student services.”  It was built in 1892, and named a city landmark in 2004. The plan is to completely re-do the inside of the...

Read More
Brick Jockey Building Downtown Chicago One Lego at a Time
Jun08

Brick Jockey Building Downtown Chicago One Lego at a Time

Who of a certain age doesn’t love Legos?  As children we used piles of the multi-colored magic to turn our fantasies into reality, while barefooted nocturnal fathers cursed the tiny bricks, and indifferent mothers Hoovered them into clattering oblivion. No such tension exists in the Bronzeville home of Rocco Buttliere, where the IIT student is re-creating Chicago’s architectural nexus out of thousands of shiny plastic...

Read More
It Looks Like Any Other Hardware Store, but There’s a Jazzy Surprise Inside Meyers
Nov26

It Looks Like Any Other Hardware Store, but There’s a Jazzy Surprise Inside Meyers

The Ace Hardware web site gives you the hours of operation at Bronzeville’s Meyers Ace Hardware Store, and a reminder that Ace is the helpful hardware place. What’s not covered in the online write-up is that Ella Fitzgerald, Count Basie and Dizzie Gillespie each spent time in the building at 315 East 35th Street. And they weren’t looking for crescent wrenches. You see, Meyers Ace Hardware is in the space that was once home to the...

Read More
New Serpentine Suspension Bridges Bronzeville to Lakefront
Aug05

New Serpentine Suspension Bridges Bronzeville to Lakefront

Construction has begun on a new pedestrian bridge connecting Bronzeville with Lake Michigan. The current bridge is a rusted relic of the area’s past.   The new design is sleek, modern, and very visible as an architectural landmark with its cable-stayed design.  Its long approaches and span curve gently as they cross Metra and Canadian National railroad tracks as well as South Lake Shore Drive before arriving at the lakefront....

Read More
IIT College of Architecture Creates New Mies Crown Hall Americas Prize
Mar26

IIT College of Architecture Creates New Mies Crown Hall Americas Prize

Watch out Pritzker family because the College of Architecture at the Illinois Institute of Technology is adding another architecture prize to the Chicago mix. The Mies Crown Hall Americas Prize (MCHAP) and the MCHAP for Emerging Architecture will be awarded every two years with the intent of, “recognizing the most distinguished built constructs of the North and South American continents,” the College of Architecture Dean Wiel Arets...

Read More
The Chicago Building That Inspired A Song And A Poem
Mar16

The Chicago Building That Inspired A Song And A Poem

Chicago buildings lay claim to many architectural firsts. Some structures past and present were cultural touchstones as well. One even had a song named after it—“Mecca Flat Blues.” Later, it became the setting for a major poem, “In The Mecca” by Gwendolyn Brooks. The Bronzeville apartment building at 34th and State Streets has been gone for more than 60 years, but it was significant for both its design and sociological reasons. Mecca...

Read More