Tuesday, September 30, 2008
Tuesday, September 16, 2008
Tuesday, September 9, 2008
The idea of the project seems to bee aimed to revive neglected city spots and turn them into architectural, artistic and social places of attraction.
Do not miss your chance to see the RedBall. You can actually follow the RedBall throughout the month of September:
Thursday, August 14, 2008
Even the closing which fell on the superstitious “Friday 13 Th” didn’t arrows hesitation about his choice. A year later problems with leaking windows outshined the beautiful design of the building, state of the art amenities and relatively low, fixed assessments Dzurison was so lured by.
“It turns out window sets are not designed to be set together,” says Dzurison trying to reserve his laughter caused by an anxiety.
Estimates of repairing the leaks range from $4 million to $8 million. This means that condo owners face a new special assessment of as much as $45,000 per unit.
“These problems are fixable, though, and I am staying in the building,” concludes Dzurison.
Water leakage being one of the major problems for the majority of the residents has affected not only individual units but the base of the building, meeting room, and parking garage.
“Warren knew units had problems and still sold them without a disclosure about the problems,” said Kelly, one of the residents who preferred not to reveal her last name.
Even though Kelly is renting out her apartment she has been involved in the battle against the developers from day one.
“I love South Loop but this has been the biggest stress in my life,” confesses Kelly who will be putting her condo on sale after the resolution with the developers.
Jean Kin moved into the building in 2003. She was soon relocated to another apartment in the building because of the water pouring into her unit every time it rained. Within a year she could move back to her original apartment but the water outflow is still there.
“Chicago City inspectors should have been doing their job. They should have noticed the leakage,” says Kim who suggests allotting association’s flower budget to hire a PR firm to raise awareness about their issues. By this, Kim wants to solve not only their problem but to help future buyers avoid going through what the residents of 1717 S. Prairie Avenue building are.
“There is so much buyers do not know about their (prospective) homes,” says Kim. “There are seven pending law suites against Warren (and his partner) but no centralized information about developer’s record.”
Hesitation versus Determination:
Some of the residents are not sure if the law suite is going to solve their problems. They fear the developer will file for bankruptcy and leave the residents with no financial resolution. Moral side, though, may be soothed. Or, will it?
Other residents are determined to inform people about the frivolity of developers, constructors and city inspectors and ready to go all the way until their demands are met.
Diane Anderson who is a board member of the building association says that all five board members were in favor of pursuing the law suit.
Anderson explained that their end goal is to have the city government issue an ordinance regulating responsible completion of projects and provide a five year warranty for the buyers.
The hearing on the case is scheduled for September 2008. And that is when the residents and the developers will most likely learn about yet another portion of expenses. Will the noble end goal be reached? Remains a question.
Wednesday, August 13, 2008
The battle between the residents and the developers Warren Barr and William Warman of 18th Prairie II LLC Legacy started in 2004, only two years after the completion of the building. At first by picketing in front of the sales center of the LLC and now through a lawsuit filed at Circuit Court of Cook County the residents are trying to hold the developers responsible on 16 counts.
Among them are documented facts that during the course of the sales of units the developer knowingly and purposely misrepresented that the building had severe water infiltration problems.
If you are wondering where the constructors and the city inspectors stand in this rather complicated situation… Well, the residents state that the city claimed they “didn’t have enough inspectors” to come and ensure the building was fit for occupancy.
It s interesting how we think and talk about the city. As if it is an absolute power or just something we can not deal with. This case was not an exception. The city and its negligent inspection policy stays excluded as a participant and responsible side.
The constructor and the developer are accusing each other but it is the developer the residents were initially dealing with. So, all the rocks fall on the developer.
Residents accuse Warman and Barr of reprehensively using Association funds to pay their expenses which were not reimbursed to the Association.
The high-rise has 177 condos ranging from 900 square feet starting at $285,000, to 2,500 square feet priced at $1.5 million. At present only four of the 177 units are not occupied. The developers were not paying assessments for the unsold units, thus depriving the Association of assessment income.
Official documents establish that the developer owes and declines to pay the Association charges for natural gas, electrical service and scavenger service and for real estate taxes from 2003 and 2004.
And this is only a modest enumeration of developer’s renowned inadequacy.
Tuesday, July 22, 2008
Monday, July 21, 2008
“I once met an elderly lady in the lobby who used to lease office space back in the 80s who decided to move back this time as a resident once the building was renovated and turned into a residential building.” In how many buildings can this happen?
Wednesday, July 16, 2008
Are you a Chicagoan? A visitor, maybe? Do you know the city you live in or have just visited?
The $25 million renovation will be paid with park, city and possibly state funds. Additional$1 million has been generated from the Lollapalooza music festival and $8 million from an endowment for the fountain.
Details of the project are still in discussion phase. It is known that the officials are considering a more dramatic lighting show that would coordinate with lighting installed along Congress Parkway.
The fountain closes Sept. 2, about two months earlier than last year. Renovation will start after the Labor Day.
While the fountains are working and the weather is fabulous benefit from the Grant Park events.
This rather costly but promising renovation is meant to draw more visitors to the city and impress the panel of International Olympic Committee experts scheduled to visit in the spring.
Friday, July 11, 2008
How would you describe Chicago and its architecture?
That is a very broad question!
Chicago has its origins as a boom town. It exploded from a modest frontier trading post into the fast-growing city in the history of the world between 1800 and 1840 as the construction of the Illinois and Michigan Canal brought a flood of land speculators here to the wild interior of the country. Although many modern-day Chicagoans are completely unaware of this history I think the “boom town” mentality informs Chicago’s personality to this day.
It seems to me that Chicagoans generally are more interested in and proud of their architecture than residents of many other cities.
There have been several times in history when Chicago played an important role in the art and science of architecture.
In the late 1800s some of the most important innovations in high-rise (“skyscraper”) and residential architecture were pioneered here, both in technology and design at firms like Adler and Sullivan, Holabird and Roche, Burnham and Root, and of course Frank Lloyd Wright.
In the 1950s and 60s Mies Van Der Rohe and later Skidmore, Owings and Merrill pioneered the stripped-down style that came to be called “Modernism”.
Most Chicagoans are proud of the excellent collection of buildings in our downtown area. And architects generally seem to respect Chicago’s history of fine buildings. Unfortunately the boomtown mentality in our recent real estate market was bad for our built environment. The explosion of condo development on the edges of downtown in recent years has given the city a disappointingly large number of mediocre buildings.
Can you compare Chicago to any other city?
I have heard people say that Toronto has some similarity to Chicago. It’s a waterfront city on the Great Lakes with a dramatic downtown skyline. Cleveland is another example of this.
But with the exception of New York (which is of course much larger) there’s no other American city with anything like the scale of our downtown. L.A. which has a larger population is a sprawl city without a concentrated downtown.
The building boom in some Asian and Middle Eastern cities today in some ways is similar to what happened in Chicago after the Great Fire of 1871. Like Chicago, these cities are trying to assert their greatness with huge urban developments and astonishingly tall buildings that push the envelope of technology. The scale of what’s happening today in places like Shanghai and Dubai dwarfs what Chicago did during its boom a hundred years ago.
You know so much about Chicago, what have you learned/discovered recently that surprised you the most?
I rode a tugboat up the Illinois Waterway from Joliet into the South Loop. I had absolutely no idea there was so much maritime activity still surviving here. Huge barge tows, amazing shipping terminals, a lock almost as big as those on the Panama Canal and a hydroelectric dam built in the early 1900s. I was astonished.
How do you see Chicago (its architecture) in the 21 century? Is there a particular trend you have noticed Chicago architecture is following?
Chicago may have clung a little too tightly to its history of great buildings and so it was slow to embrace international architects and new, avant-garde design.
But recently international architects have been getting lots of commissions here. So we now have (or soon will have) excellent buildings by architects like Rem Koolhaas, Frank Gehry, Santiago Calatrava, Renzo Piano and others.
There have also been some excellent new buildings from locally based architects including Helmut Jahn, Studio Gang and Krueck + Sexton.
In all of these projects architects have embraced technologies that allow them to create forms that would simply have been impossible before the era of computer-aided design. New technologies in the engineering of glass and framing also allow new artistic possibilities.
As everywhere else, the interest in sustainable “green” architecture has firmly taken hold here.
Having explored all the possible and impossible tour routes in Chicago what would you recommend Chicagoans as well as visitors to see in the city?
The lakefront and river tour boats are also wonderful ways to experience the city.
Thursday, July 10, 2008
Jim Peters, urban planner and academic is named the President of Landmark Illinois, a Chicago-based non-profit with a mission to preserve state historical heritage.
With a staff of 12 and an annual budget of about $2 million the group has been fighting for the preservation of such historic buildings as Soldier Field, Cook County Hospital and Mies van der Rohe's Farnsworth House.
Peters will assume his responsibilities on July 15Th.
Peters has a rich input the preservation of the historic buildings.
He has been Landmarks Illinois' director of preservation planning since 2001 and has taught historic preservation as an adjunct instructor at both the School of the Art institute of Chicago and the University of Illinois at Chicago.
He will leave both academic positions because of the responsibilities of his new job. He will also be Landmarks Illinois' chief executive officer.
It will be interesting to follow Peters' initiatives in regards to Chicago Athletic Association and Chicago Tribune Towers fate now that developers and real estate agents are targeting these two historic buildings as their next victims in the race for more profit.
Tuesday, July 8, 2008
"Urbs in Horto" translated from Latin means "City in a Garden". Chicago has adopted this motto since 1937 and today the Chicago Park District consists of 552 parks with over 7,300 acres (30 km²) of municipal parkland. Millennium Park is one of the most famous gateways for Chicagoans and city visitors.
Revel Chicago hopes this short preview will stimulate you to go out and enjoy your city in a garden. There is a lot to do in the park. Take a look.
Friday, July 4, 2008
Zoka Zola Architects + Urban Designers propose three to eight changes to the current Chicago Zoning Ordinance to make the city more environmentally friendly, energy efficient and affordable.
“It may take you a lifetime to see the plan come to life,” Zola’s friends would tell her when she was just starting on the plan.
Zola, award winning architect and lecturer with an international experience thought about this project when she moved to the United States in 1997.
“Why do this houses need side yards?” wondered Zola.
Puzzled with the question Zola took upon developing the plan of 21 Century Chicago. This project has very little to do with her main specialty as an architect. Still the temptation to see Chicagoans enjoy bright, warm, green houses was stronger than the conventional scope of her specialty.
When in 1904 Daniel Burnham and the Commercial Club of Chicago were planning the city among the issues they intended to solve were the growing population and the improvement of the city’s commercial well being.
After more then a century Chicago is facing different issues: environment preservation, further population growth, energy preservation, lack of architectural creativity in town house design. Most resent is the rise in gas prices which is going to affect our lifestyle.
Zola sees the solutions to modern life challenges through altering city’s planning regulations.
Zola envisions 21 century Chicago as green, bright, energy sufficient and architecturally various city.
Among the suggested changes are:
- Green houses on top of garages
- Yards with trees (new houses will have to have trees for the new tenants)
- Brighter basements (with a floor no more than 2-6 ft below the ground) with an allowance to be used as separate residences
- Front yards, on the other hand will be reduced to 10 ft.
- Side yards will no longer be a must
The range of benefits these changes can bring is wide.
- Chicagoans will lose less heat
- The houses will be better lighted with natural light
- This will lead to energy savings in summer and winter seasons
- Houses will have better views
- The city will have twice as many trees which mean fresher air
This plan will provide better fire safety and easier rat control
Ac According to Zola’s plan the units will be more affordable as a result of increase in the allowance of shallower basement units and parking spots per building. The City of Chicago can thus save substantial amounts of money and use if for affordable housing and further improvement of the city.
Edward Kus, former Executive Director of the Mayor’s Zoning Reform Commission sees Zola’s plan environmentally responsible. Despite of that Kus predicts a lot of resistance from both the developers and neighborhoods due to certain habits people are reluctant to give up.
This plan has a lot of benefits, but it is unrealistic,” said Kus.
When Kus was working on the amendments to the 1957 Chicago Zoning Ordinance his team met with neighborhood representatives, architects and developers to find out what the city needs were.
“C Chicagoans want side yards to have relative privacy. People want parking spaces, they do not want to park on the streets,” explained Kus who was the Zoning Administrator of the City of Chicago in 2001.
ZolZola's plan satisfies these needs with the availability of garages. Her plan foresees more flexibility on side yards thus giving the developers and inhabitants a choice between wider houses and side yard availability.
Zola’s city plan has been presented to all possible instances from Chicago Mayer Dailey’s office to individual developers.
Thus far two individual clients have expressed interest in developing their project following Zola’s model. This precedent gives Zola a hope that little by little individual interest will grow into a future city zoning vision.
Thursday, July 3, 2008
The study looked at 10 criteria. Among them:
- architecture awards
- “green” design and
- public transit systems
RMJM selected 10 cities to draw comperisons. Zogby International in its turne interviewd 1000 residents of those cities on architecture and design. Chicago came out on top giving New York and Boston second and third places.
The Top Ten Cities for Design:
1. Chicago, IL
2. New York, NY
3. Boston, MA
4. Los Angeles, CA
5. Portland, OR
6. San Francisco, CA
7. Seattle, WA
8. Denver, CO
9. Philadelphia, PA
10. Washington, D.C.
The study found that Eighty-seven percent of Chicago residents think that the architecture in their city is excellent or good, versus 63% of New Yorkers and 64% of Bostonians.
The study also names three “Cities to Watch:” Minneapolis, Minnesota; Baltimore, Maryland; and Phoenix, Arizona.
Friday, June 27, 2008
The Merchandise Mart in Chicago IL is the World's Biggest Green Building.
You probably did know that The Merchandise Mart had its own zip code. From 1963 to 2008 July only the Merchandise Mart and its neighboring Apparel Mart had the 60654 ZIP Code due to its 4.2 million gross square feet occupancy. You have most likely noticed that the 25 stories commercial giant spans two city blocks.
What is probably going to be news for you is that the 78-year-old world's largest commercial building is now the world's biggest Green Building!
This came as a result of several factors:
- replacing most of the building's 4,000-plus windows and upgrading rusty motors to taking better care of dust mops
- upgrading a 1980s ice-storage cooling system to serve Mart's cooling needs
- installation of individual meters to track water, electricity and other utility consumption
Want to know more about your biggest Green neighbour? here you go.
Wednesday, June 25, 2008
Yet another historical building to be put for sale.
The Chicago Co. is likely to put Neo-Gothic Michigan Avenue home of the Chicago Tribune and Los Angeles Times' downtown Times Mirror Square complex on sale in an attempts to maximize the value of the company's assets.
Tribune Tower may be best known for the many historic stones attached in its limestone exterior. This 40-story building was completed in 1925. It was one of the first Chicago skyscrapers built north of the river.
Phil Rosenthal, Chicago Tribune media columnist, has details in his report .
This news is expected to raise heated debates among Chicagoans taken into consideration the historic value of the building, real estate market situation.
How do you, readers of Revel Chicago, see the situation?
What is your attachment to the building?
What is your first reaction?
Tuesday, June 24, 2008
Monday, June 23, 2008
Recently the building has attracted the attention of not only the eyes of revelers of Chicago but specialists. That is to say preservationists and potential developers. The latter want to buy the building and preserve some interior space of the main building and build a 19-story hotel tower Preservationists, however debate to preserve the ornate structures unaltered. You can read more here.
Built in 1899 The Sullivan Center (formerly known as the Carson, Pirie, Scott and Company Building) is a commercial building at 1 South State Street. It was used for retail purposes from 1899 until 2007. At present it is under redevelopment by Joseph Freed & Associates, a real estate developer based in Palatine, IL. It is still unknown what the building will host in the future.
The Santa Fe Building, also known as Railway Exchange Building, is a 17-story office building in the Historic Michigan Boulevard District. This building is identifiable by its logo “Santa Fe” on the roof. It can be seen from the Grant Park and even Lake Michigan. Originally the building was designed as railway exchange. Today one of the tenants of the building is the Chicago Architecture Foundation.
The Chicago Theater located on North State Street in the Loop community area was constructed in 1921 at a cost of US$4 million by architects Cornelius W. Rapp and George L. Rapp. The Chicago Theatre was one of the first theaters in the nation to be built in the classical revival French Baroque style and is the oldest surviving example of this style in Chicago.
The One North LaSalle Building At 530 ft and 48 stories was for some time one of Chicago's tallest building.
Inland Steel Building was an integrated steel company that reduced iron ore to steel. The company was active in 1893-1998 and was headquartered in Chicago. Current Indian metal giant Mittal Steel acquired Inland Steel in 1998.
Chicago’s Federal Center Building is last but not the least in the top 10 architectural sight in the city. Principal architect Mies van der Rohe designed the building on two main principles: “less is more” and “God is in the details.” The Federal Center consolidated over thirty agencies formerly scattered throughout the city in substandard leased space. This glass-steel design is landed on a one-block site, bounded by Jackson, Clark, Adams, and Dearborn streets.
According to Kim Clawson, the Vice Chairman of the Chicago Committee on High Rise buildings, there is a widely accepted perception that the skyscrapers are the most American type of architecture. This is explained by the American culture of commerce. No wonder the majority of the top 10 historical buildings are commercial constructions.
Best historical architectural sights start with the Monadnock Building built in 1893. It is one of the tallest masonry load-bearing wall structures in the world. However Philadelphia City Hall holds the world title. Monadnock is a proto-skyscraper in the Loop district of downtown located at 55 E Jackson Blvd. It is across the street from the Federal Center, the Union League Club and the Standard Club.
Marquette Building is next in this short-list of architectural sights in Chicago. The building was designated in 1975 by William Holabird & Martin Roche. It was named after Father Jacques Marquette , the first European settler in Chicago, who explored the Chicago region in 1674. The building was one of the early steel frame skyscrapers of its day, and is considered one of the best examples of the Chicago School of Architecture.
The Reliance Building is the first skyscraper to have large plate glass thus putting a start to a new trend of glass surface skyscrapers of the 20th century. It is located at 20 North State Street. As of 2006 it houses the Hotel Burnham.
The Fisher Building is the oldest 18 story building in Chicago that has not been demolished. It is a 20-story, 275 foot tall neo-Gothic landmark building built in 1986. Today the building houses apartments on floors 3-20 and commercial stores on the 1st and 2nd floors.
Friday, June 20, 2008
Let’s start this journey from a large view and then explore endless architectural treasures of Chicago one by one.
Adler planetarium peninsula at 1300 S. Lake Shore Drive presents a rare view on the Chicago’s skyline. If this spot is not in your way North Avenue Beach has another chance to see how different yet concord a story Chicago buildings tell. Michigan Avenue bridge although often crowded is a good spot to inhale the convergence of the historic Wrigley building (1891) And the modern Trump Tower still under construction.
Tom Skilling of Chicago Tribune explains this phenomenon as " a magnification of Chicago's shoreline resulting from a temperature inversion where warm air is layered above colder air found near the surface of the lake. This inversion bends rays of light from the city back toward the colder, denser air above the lake creating a "towering" effect where objects become magnified and stretched like high walls. This type of mirage is sometimes called a Fata Morgana (Italian for Morgan the fairy). The name comes from fairy-like castle mirages that often appear over the Strait of Messina separating Italy and Sicily. Morgana was the mythical fairy who lived in a crystal palace beneath the waves."
In 1942 Victor Lindlahr gave the notion of “You Are What You Eat” nutritional prominence. Sixty-six years later let’s try and alter the phrase and put the emphasis on aesthetic value: You Are Where You Live.
If you happen to live in the City of Chicago you must be an enthusiast of cultural diversity. Chicago’s architecture creates the historic record of the cultural, socio-economic and aesthetic values of this range.
Chicago is a unique cradle of architectural variety. Designers from all the corners of the world granted their signature buildings to this city. Each building helps tell the story of the city in its own distinctive way. Old Greek revival style structures stand in harmony with modern skyscrapers making Chicago’s skyline a distinctive image one can associate only with this Windy City.
Chicago’s architecture can take you to a long journey of lines and shapes, styles and inspirations. Take a moment and enjoy the diversity of Chicago that is reaching higher and higher to the sky here at Revel Chicago.