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.