Architecture & Public Art (outdoor), Chicago
If you're in the University of Chicago area, have a look at this massive concrete sculpture (it was originally supposed to be carved in granite).
It dates from 1915, sculptor Lorado Taft (whose workshop was nearby) and was intended to commemorate the first 100 years of peace between the US and the UK. The sculpture and its pool lie at one end of Midway Plaisance: another 'matching' sculpture was intended for the other end, but was never completed
Father Time, on one side of the pool, watches 100 figures representing different eras as they 'pass by'.
It's a huge piece of work...more than 120 feet long...and, rather ironically, the ravages of time on the concrete are visible despite the restoration/renovation which took place in 2005.
There's a lot more information about the sculpture on the wiki page below. If you are in the area, it's worth having a look, if only to be impressed by the size.
I've passed by the Charnley-Persky House before, access is only available to the public on a couple of days and at very limited times so I had never been inside. We were able to visit during Chicago's Open House weekend when they open up many places like this for free. I imagine that the paid tour is more comprehensive, the tour listed on the website says it takes 60 minutes and we were done visiting in less than 20 minutes. The noon tour on Wednesday is free, otherwise the admission is currently $10.
The house was designed in a colloboration of Louis Sullivan and Frank Lloyd Wright when Wright was working under Sullivan, you can see evidence of both architects style, the ornamentation that Sullivan became known for and the horizontal planes that Wright would become known for later in his Prairie style. I wasn't overly impressed with the house, it's not that large of a house once you factor in the
The house was built for James Charnley in 1891-1892, Seymour Persky was the philanthropist that saved the house. It is located in the Gold Coast neighborhood of Chicago at 1365 N. Astor Street
I was surprised at how easy it is to enter the lobby areas of some Chicago buildings and have a browse around without being thrown out. The Marquette is most definitely one lobby into which you should go.
The building itself dates from 1895, and has a terracotta facade. That in itself is not its main point of interest for me: it's the bronze panels on its exterior, and the rather wonderful Tiffany glass mosaic inside the lobby.
Both tell the story of Joseph Marquette who, with one Louis Joliet, was tasked with the exploration of what is not Illinois by French King Louis XIV. They arrived in 1873 and, with the friendly assistance of local Indians, arrived in what is now Chicago (an area which they claimed for France) and then moved on. That first small settlement (perhaps 300 people) was abandoned as funds dried up.
The bronze panels are superbly created, but the Tiffany mosaic panels are just stunning. I wish my camera had been able to do them justice, but it was on its last legs.
You'll find the Marquette building at 140 S Dearborn Street in the Loop. Try not to miss it: it's fascinating (as is the story of Joliet and Marquette)
This is an odd one (though not as odd as the Miro, imo).
Picasso's 50-foot-high sculpture was 'a gift to the people of Chicago' and has no official title. Like the Miro, it was not constructed by the artist: Picasso never visited Chicago. He just gave the design plan, and US Steel built it.
It has stood in Brunswick Plaza since 1967 and may look to you like a horse (as it did to me). Or not.
It certainly provided some children with good sliding surfaces! :-)
Brunswick Plaza is on Dearborn Street, in the Loop.
This 39-foot-high sculpture is supposed to represent a 'great earth mother'. It's actually called 'Miro's Chicago' (although it was originally called 'The Sun, the Moon and one star')and was not actually constructed by the artist: he merely donated his design to the city.
It's stood in the city since 1981. The body is concrete and ceramic tiles, the head with its' tiara' are made of bronze.
I can't say I was hugely impressed: modern art rarely 'does' it for me. But I felt it was worthwhile seeking out the three main pieces within the Loop (see the other two tips).
You can find Miro's work between the Cook County Administration building and the Chicago Temple Building, in Brunswick Plaza on Dearborn Street, in the Loop.
Just wandering home to my friend's condo... Lots of fun architecture and city art! Good times!
Home to Second City, Zanies Comedy Club, the Red Orchid Theatre, the Bijou Theatre, & the Stanley Paul Orchestra, all on Wells Street. On North Avenue, you can find tickets to "Tony & Tina's Wedding" at Piper's Alley and the Black Orchid Classic Nightclub, as well as the Old Town Ale House, which I have featured in the Nightlife area.
The Dewes mansion at 503 W. Wrightwood is often derided by more discerning architectural critics. The AIA Guide to Chicago refers to it as the "Prussian confection" while others kindly call it "eclectic."
But despite its apparent lack of decorative clarity, the building is impressive. Walk past the mansion and you may experience the odd sensation of thinking you have left Chicago and suddenly been transported to Munich or Berlin.
Architects Adolph Cudell and Arthur Hercz designed the Dewes mansion, and it was completed in 1896. The Dewes mansion was built for Francis J. Dewes, a brewer.
Taken as a whole, the building is an unusual example of a German inspired style, influenced by the neo-Baroque architecture of Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Paris at the end of the nineteenth century. The exterior of this lavish gray-stone is decorated with carved stonework and ornamental cornices and lintels. The entrance to the mansion is flanked by caryatids, tall female figures acting as columns, supporting a balcony over the doorway. At night the entrance is illuminated by floodlights, adding to the impression that you have stumbled upon a European embassy.
Inside, the mansion is a virtual catalogue of European architectural styles. German Gothic Revival competes with Rococo and neo-Baroque motifs. Each room is more grandiose than the last.
Francis J. Dewes lived in the mansion until his death near the end of World War I. Afterwards, the building served for a time as the headquarters of the Swedish Engineers Society of Chicago. But today the Dewes mansion is a special events venue, available to rent out for lavish weddings and the types of parties you and I don't get invited to.
St. Andrew's Greek Orthodox Church is a beautiful church and is worth a look if you are in the neighborhood near the Loyola campus. The parish was founded in 1926 and the church at the present location was completed in 1956. The style is a little more modern than what you would expect in an Orthodox church, but it is still full of beautiful icons and decorations. I really like the half arches on each side of the pews.
5649 N. Sheridan. Hollywood & Sheridan, a few blocks south of Loyola campus.
The statue is of General John Alexander Logan who fought in the Civil War on the side of the Union (north) and went on to be an Illinois Congressman. But what I thought was interesting about his story was that he came up with the idea for Memorial Day, a Federal holiday that falls on the last Monday in May every year.
The first Memorial Day was celebrated in 1868 although back then it was known as Decoration Day. In 1882 it was changed to Memorial Day and it became a Federal Holiday in 1971.
Also interesting is that it was designed by two men, one to sculpt the man and the other to sculpt the horse.
It was unveiled in 1897 and is in Grant Park near the corner of Michigan Avenue and 9th Street. It shows a triumphant Logan on his horse holding an enemy (Confederate) banner seized while he was in command during battle.
I snapped this picture thinking it was a statue of Civil War general Ulysses S. Grant since it is sitting in Grant Park. I'm sure most people passing by, if they give it any thought at all, assume the same thing. A statue of Grant resides in Lincoln Park near the zoo, Grant Park was not established at the time the statue was dedicated.
As it turned out, the IEEE exposition and convention I attended in Chicago was being held along the Lake Michigan shoreline not very far south of the historic skyscraper area in and around the Loop. The four large buildings that make up the complex, joined by either the Grand Concourse or two separate Skybridges over highways have a combined area of 2,670,000 square feet (248,000 m²), making this the largest centre of its type in the United States and 3rd largest in the world. I can believe it after wanding around aimlessly a few times in the vast open spaces with levels and escalators seemingly going in all directions! Only the little map in my 5th photo and the well marked room and floor levels kept me from possibly disappearing forever.
Although McCormick Place can trace its roots back to 1960 when a newspaper magnate built the first building, it had a set-back in 1967 when that building burned to the ground. The City of Chicago then took over the task of rebuilding it to its present stature with a replacement East building opening in 1971, North building in 1986, South building in 1997 and finally the West building in 2007.
I never made it past the North and South buildings because that is where the IEEE action was taking place. The convention centre has numerous restaurants scattered throughout and also the attached Hyatt Regency McCormick Place hotel. An efficient fleet of full-sized tour busses had been arranged to run regularly between the downtown hotels to deliver we delegates to the bowels of the complex each day.
The James Charnley House (now the Charnley-Persky House) is a three-story brick residence that was designed in July 1891 and completed in May 1892. It is one of the few major residential commissions realized by Louis Sullivan, who is considered one of the most important American architects of the 19th and 20th centuries. It is also a benchmark in the early development of Frank Lloyd Wright, who, as a draftsman and designer in Adler & Sullivan's office, contributed to the finished design. With the exception of the Auditorium Theatre, it is one of the only surviving examples of a design to which both Sullivan and Wright made substantial contributions.
In Charnley House, Sullivan rejected the historical details common to the Victorian architecture of their era, in favor of abstract forms that later became the hallmarks of modern architecture. For that reason Wright proclaimed the Charnley House to be the "first modern house in America."
On the corner of 94th and Ewing (Schuba's site lists this one at 92nd and Ewing but it is 94th and Ewing), there's a bar with a globe above the door with the words "Trademark" and "Schlitz". This is one of several former Schlitz, a Milwaukee based brewer, tied-houses that can be found in Chicago, the other notable ones are Shuba's and Southport Lanes.
A tied-house was an arrangement many brewers had with their customers. The company rented these taverns to merchants and provided them with all of the equipment to run a tavern in exchange for a promise to sell Schlitz products exclusively.
The tied-house inspired the saying "I own you lock, stock and barrel." In a tied-house arrangement, the brewer advanced money for tavern construction (lock), provided the fixtures (stock), and an initial inventory of beer (barrel).
We recently came across another as we were traveling in the Uptown neighborhood on Broadway at Winona, apparently there are a lot of these left from many breweries according to Forgotten Chicago
Commissioned by the City of Chicago in 2004, The Illinois Federation of Labor History, Chicago Fraternal Order of Police and the Chicago Department of Transportation. Bronze monument commemorating the 1886 Chicago Haymarket riot, an internationally significant and volatile event in the struggle between business, labor, and law enforcement. Bronze on cement pedestal. 9' x 16' x 14.5H.
In a section of Chicago that takes in the Lincoln Park and Old Town area is a stretch of commercial buildings that dates from the 1800's. I've tried to capture in these series of photos some of the buildings you might see while taking a walk down this couple of block stretch.
One of the buildings is the Aldine located at 909 W. Armitage in the heart of the Lincoln Park shopping district, this building is a classic, Romanesque example of 19th century Chicago commercial architecture. In the 1930's Aldine Halls and Tavern occupied the first floor; the owner lived above. In 1968 the Old Town School of Folk Music moved in.
Another shot shows some unique GO CUBS artwork fashioned out of the remnants of old Illinois license plates.
Enjoy the pictures.
The guide on our river cruise said that each of the bridgehouses on the Chicago River was required to be unique. I'm not entirely sure that's true but I thought this mini house in the 1st photo was different than most of the stone and concrete bridgehouses.
The second photo is of the Bataan-Corregidor Memorial bridge that crosses the River at State Street which was the first bridge built in 1864.
The third photo is of one of the gatehouses on the most traversed of all the Chicago River bridges, the crossing at Michigan Avenue. The bridgehouse on the southwest corner features a scene from the massacre at Fort Dearborn which was located near where the bridge is now.