Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Toy King in Chicago Spire

Ty Warner, owner and founder of Ty Inc., which manufactures and distributes Beanie Babies, Ty Girls and other plush items will be one of the first tenants at Santiago Calatrava's Chicago Spire at 400 N. Lake Shore Drive.

Multi-millioner toy manufacturer Warner signed a contract to buy the 10,000-plus square-foot, two-story penthouse at Spire. Originally the unit was priced at $40 millions. What Warner paid remains undisclosed.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Boom Towns Exhibition

You are in the Boom Town and have a unique chance to learn about the iconic works of architecture from late 19Th-century Chicago with parallel works in today’s China and the Middle East, two other Boom Towns.

You will see how buildings you pass by daily are contrasted with those in China and Middle East. Adler & Sulivan’s 1894 Stock Exchange Building will appear next to Goettsch Partners’ stock exchange complex on Abu Dhabi’s Sowwah Island.

William Le Baron Jenney’s 1885 Home Insurance Building will be compared with Skidmore, Owings & Merrill’s Burj Dubai, now the tallest structure ever constructed on earth.

Opening Reception will be held in Atrium Gallery , Tuesday, September 23, 5:30pm–7:30pm.

Daily exhibition will be open free from September 23 to November 21.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Follow the RedBall

Native of Chicago Artist Kurt Perschke inhibits our Windy City with a mobile sculptural performance now widely known as RedBall.

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:

1 Millennium Park

3 Spertus Institute

5 Wishbone on Washington

6 Field Museum

7 Grant Park Underpass

10 Wacker & Wabash

12 LaSalle Bridge

13 Damen & North Ave

14 Chess Pavilion

17 Union Station & Jackson

19 Hyde Park Art Center

20 ITT Campus Center

23 19 S. LaSalle

24 Federal Plaza

25 Cultural Center

Thursday, August 14, 2008

1717 S Prarie Avenue Residents Speak Up

Tom Dzurison, recently retired high school teacher, meticulously researched the market before purchasing his two bedroom apartment at 1717 S. Prairie Avenue in 2004. His online and in person innumerable inquiries about similar buildings in the neighborhood made him a savvy buyer. At least that was the impression.

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

Dream Home Wet Reality

1717 S. Prairie Avenue Tower Building residents bought something they didn’t get. Instead of a dream home with a view on Lake Michigan the residents got leaking windows, erratic pipes and skyrocketing assessments. Let alone the emotional trauma.

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

Quiz Answer: The Clarke House Oldest in Chicago

Last week, Revel Chicago asked our readers which was the oldest building in our city. Surprisingly or not there were no answers posted which can mean several things. Either no one knows the right answer or no one wanted to take part in the quiz. Worst case scenario: no one visited Revel Chicago during the last week.

At any rate Revel Chicago is stimulated to post even more interesting pieces of news, attract your attention and share news and well forgotten stories about Chicago.

The Clarke House is Chicago's oldest building. Next week, stop by to learn more about the oldest tenant of the Windy City.

Monday, July 21, 2008

When History Meets a Resident.

Like old manuscripts historic buildings have special stories to tell. So do the residents of historic buildings. We study and preserve manuscripts, learn the lessons of life and pass the written treasures to new generations. We cherish manuscripts like a jewel of a crown. Do we value architectural structures as much as we do our written heritage?

National Register of Historic Places indicates 84 celebrated buildings in Chicago 83 of which do not have their duplicate anywhere in North America. This means that there are at least 83 stories to tell and pass along.

When nations were being concurred one of the first things to save were books because those would preserve the history of the nation, culture, time and help build the future. In the case of buildings they stand to watch the progress of humanity and remind of the past and values of the previous generations. We try to preserve historic buildings but very often we fail and succumb to tearing those down. But those buildings affect not only the city but individual lives as well.

Linda Hogopian, Global Account Executive of Marriott International, Inc. spends most of her working day in Wrigley Building where her office is now located. “Every time I walk the hallways in this building I truly feel honored since I know history was made here for several companies and of course the one and only Wrigley Company,” says Hagopian.

The Wrigley Building is one of North America’s most famous office buildings. The construction of the building began in 1920s when Michigan Avenue was still called Pine Street. The building was one of the first tenants of what came to be known as “The Magnificent Mile”.

Charles Beersman, chief designer, combined French Renaissance ornaments and an inspiration of Seville Cathedral’s Giralda Tower in Span to give Chicago the luminous white Wrigley Building.

“There is a barbershop on the 3rd floor. Every time I walk by, I smile, I wonder how many important businessmen got there haircut there during the 20's, 30's. I also think of how many heartfelt stories were shared during a haircut especially during the depression,” says Hagopian.

Elizabeth Archer, Regional Leasing and Marketing Manager for Green Village has been living in a historic Fisher Building for the last two years. Archer confesses that living in a building which was once the tallest building in the world she is set back in time. “Building’s terra-cotta carvings of various creatures get me the sense of history,” says Archer. Eagles, dragons and mythical creatures are guarding the fa├žade of the building.

This tall neo-Gothic landmark building in the Chicago Loop Community area was custom-built by paper magnate Lucius Fisher. The original building was completed in 1896 by D. H. Burnham & Company. The building was added to the National Register of Historic Buildings on March 16, 1976.

In 2000 Kenard Corporation restored the exterior terra cotta and wood windows and converted the office space to apartments, while preserving the lobby and hallways.

“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?

“I do not see myself living in a modern type construction,” says Archer.

Not all residents of historic buildings enjoy the unique treasures of old historic buildings as much as Hagopian and Archer do.

Wallie Bracket, DePaul University Graduate Student of Journalism gives a different perspective of living in old, historic buildings.

Bracket has been living in East Park Towers since 2005. The building was part of series of hotel apartment buildings in the Hyde Park built between 1918 and 1929. The East Park Tower is a unique U-Shape red brick building with terra cotta trim. William P. Doerr Designed the Georgian style building which is now listed in the National Register of Historic Places in Chicago.

According to Bracket you can sometimes hear mysterious cracks. No, the sounds are not associated with ghosts but rather with poorly preserved foundation and flooring. “The elevators are not working well, you get stuck very often. I cannot wait to move into a new building with the state of the art gym and security system,” says Bracket who is terminating his leasing contract in August of this year.

Cracks and modern day amenities can be handled by the management of the building. Costly? Yes, maybe. But worth preserving the history which affects individual lives just like old manuscripts do.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Chicago Quiz

Are you a Chicagoan? A visitor, maybe? Do you know the city you live in or have just visited?

Share with Revel Chicago your knowledge of the oldest construction in the City of Chicago by answering the question at the bottom of the page:

Which is the oldest construction in Chicago?

It is The Clarke House? The Old Water Tower? Or The Fisher Building?

Learn the correct answer next week on July 22nd.

Buckingham Fountain $25 Million Renovation

The 81-year-old Buckingham Fountain located in Grant Park will be renovated for the second time in 15 years to produce even more fabulous water show.

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

Q&A: Revel Chicago with Geoffrey Baer

Geoffrey Baer expert of the Windy City, host and producer of well known Hidden Chicago, Foods of Chicago, Chicago by “EL” and many other programs at WTTW11 found time to share his views about our city with the readers of Revel Chicago.

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?

Take the “L”! Follow the Brown Line and Orange Line all the way to the end. Amazing journeys. The Blue Line out through Pilsen, the Red Line through the North Side and the Green Line through the West and South Sides are also fascinating trips.

The lakefront and river tour boats are also wonderful ways to experience the city.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Jim Peters Landmark Illinois' new President

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.
Peters plans to give renewed attention to the group's statewide efforts. Among the scope of his attention will be the saving of mid-20Th Century modern buildings and the move toward "facade-echtomies," in which developers save only the facades of historic buildings--often with government approval.

Peters prefers "behind-the-scenes persuasion" to fight for property rights movement that has stymied efforts to create suburban landmark districts.
From 1990 to 2001 Peters worked in the city's planning department and a Deputy Commissioner for the Landmarks Division.

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

Millennium Park at a Glance

"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

Zola’s 21st century green Chicago

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 studio-house is live example of her project. This self sustainable, ecological and aesthetic building is located on 1737 W. Ohio Street. Known as Pfanner house it represents the philosophy of openness to one another. Zola compares the openness of the space with healthy lungs where the breathing is pleasant and smooth.

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

Chicago: Best Architecture and Design City

Chicago is named the best city for architecture and design according to an independent study conducted by RMJM Hillier, the North American division of the worldwide architecture firm RMJM.

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

Did you know? Biggest Green is in Chicago

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

Tribune Tower Possibly on Sale

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?

Monday, June 23, 2008

Historical Buildings in Chicago

Many historical buildings are concentrated on the Michigan Avenue. Among them the landmark Chicago Athletic Association building at 12 S. Michigan. This 11-story building is built in the Venetian Gothic style, which is rare in Chicago. The construction dates back to 1890 and is likened to the Doge's Palace in Venice.

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.

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.

Historical Buildings in Chicago

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

Best skyline views

Best skyline views

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.

Around sunset Chicago's skyline is the most beautiful with the play of the sun rays adding their colors and shades. Some may witness a picture resembling "bar code".

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.