Architecture & Public Art (outdoor), Chicago
The final member of my Off the Beaten Path group of neighbours is Soldier Field, a quite impressive piece of work near McCormick Place that we passed daily on our bus rides. I didn't know quite what to make of this first view of the Soldier Field sports stadium, opened in 1925 as a memorial to American soldiers lost in WWI. According to Wikipedia, it turns out that the space-age looking parts are due to an upgrade in 2003 that made the seating arrangements much more comfortable while at the same time dropping the actual seating capacity by 5,444 to its present level of 61,500. The 2nd photo gives a better look at what the place used to look like in the days when it was declared a National Historic Site. Not everyone is pleased with its new look, hence its new nickname of the 'Spaceship on Soldier Field'!
Over the years the stadium has held a number of venues including college football games, the Jack Dempsey-Gene Tunney heavyweight boxing championship match, a NASCAR race, 1994 World Cup of Football matches as well as numerous rock concerts including the Grateful Dead, Pearl Jam, Rolling Stones and Bon Jovi. It has also been home to the National Football League's Chicago Bears since 1971.
Looking out the bus window was as close as I got to seeing Soldier Field.
When Erie on the Park Condominiums opened, many people were shocked because of the"industrial look.
The architect, Lucien Lagrange, usually did not do this kind of work; however, he was interested in the use of "powerful steel structural expression".
Most critics feel that Lagrange did a great job using the steel structure here at Erie on the Park.
His choice to use steel instead of concrete framing was good because it better addressed stresses, especially wind, on this narrow parallelogram-shaped site. Using steel required fewer columns which offers flexibility to "maximize residential layouts, unit heights, and balcony options".
Look at the photograph, and you will see that the use of the exposed exterior bracing lead the eye upward to the open steel frame at the top. I personally like the blue-tinted glass and bands of steel. It's especially good for city dwellers who enjoy a contemporary look.
I took the photo from the architectual tour boat. I'm not sure of the exact address.
I did not know where to place this tip. It's a little-known building so I decided to choose "Off the Beaten Path".
This particular building is especially designed for large, full-floor tenants. It's located on an "ideal" site facing the open corridor of the Chicago River.
191 North Wacker Drive is a tall, silver-blue glass box slaab on its western facade. Theis tall box is separated from the rear section by a notch that is about five feet wide and two feet deep. This eastern section contains mechanical systems that are enclosed in transparent glass.
I especially admire the open "grid work" at the top.
It's wonderful how other buildings are reflected in the "glass skin" at 191 North Wacker Drive.
The same architectural firm of Kohn Pedersen Fox designed three office towers in a row: 333 West Wacker Drive; 225 West Wacker Drive; and 191 North Wacker Drive.
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.
On the bridge on the northeast and northwest corners of Michigan and Wacker, there are two monuments to the Fort Dearborn Massacre.
Fort Dearborn stood pretty much where this bridge is today. In 1812, the inhabitants of this fort were forced to evacuate and were massacred by the Indians as they fled.
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.
Downtown Chicago is covered with a wide variety of different statues, including one built by the famous artist, Picasso.
Though you'll find yourself frequently looking up at the breathtaking skyscrapers, do take the time to look at some of the statues too!
This is really all there is. There is a plaque about the size of a dinner plate that explains what it is, but doesn't go into depth. He is rising out of a mound of shoe soles, some with holes in them, and his suit is made of them too. This is in Bronzeville, at King and 26th.
My thanks to VT member SamBarnett, whose pages I like a lot, and reminded me that this little gem of an off the beaten path place existed.
Benito Juarez (1806-1872) was the Mexican President who successfully fought off European attempts to establish a "protectorate" with Maximillian of Austria as Emperor during the 1860s.
What's he doing on Michigan Avenue, in a quiet courtyard next to the Wrigley Building? Well, let's just say that Mexican-Americans are an important constituency in the Windy City.
(For the time being, the Benito Juarez statue is only a stone's throw away from the "Bob Hartley-on-the-Couch" Statue, which is actually closer to the street and thus more visable.)
You don't have to go all the way to the Louvre in Paris to see the famous Winged Victory of Samothrace. We have our own replica statue here in Chicago -- and it's in Gold! The Goddess of Victory (known as Nike, in Greek) is shown here in the form of a winged woman. It is located in the Citadel Center, at the northeast corner of the intersection of Dearborn and Adams. It is in the lobby area, so you can view it at any time. Venez voir! Come see!
See "shopping" for another picture of the Carson-Pirie-Scott department store. This is a shot of the terra-cotta tiles used to decorate buildings once they figured out how to use a steel frame to bear the load. Chicago is known as the home of this late 19th century school of architecture:)
The old Water Tower and Chicago Avenue Pumping Station are the only public buildings to survive in the area destroyed by the Fire of 1871. Both structures were designed in a castellated-Gothic Revival style. The tower represents a fanciful interpretation of a medieval fortress or, in a quote attributed to the famed critic Oscar Wilde, a "monstrosity with pepper boxes stuck all over it."
Nonetheless, both buildings have come to symbolize Chicago's fierce drive to continue, as well as rare monuments to the 19th century.
The Water Tower was originally built to house a 138-foot standpipe, which became obsolete and was removed in 1911. The district also includes a turn-of-the-century fire station and two small parks
Located at Michigan and Chicago Avenues
Year Built: 1869, Water Tower/pumping station; 1904
Designated a Chicago Landmark on October 6, 1971
Information obtained from CityOfChicago.org
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.
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
Chicago has a history of neighborhood mural art. This example is one of a series that line a block on W. Superior St leading to the gallery area. I thought it was there during construction -- but there's none I can see behind it and they've been there for years!