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Architecture Week

Friday, December 2, 2011

The walls talk in Sleep No More

Posted By on 12.02.11 at 08:00 AM

Sleep No More
  • Alick Crossley
  • Sleep No More
Sleep No More is a fairly hot ticket in New York right now—and a fairly expensive one, too, considering that it's running way, way off Broadway, in a Chelsea warehouse that the current occupants have styled the "McKittrick Hotel" (possibly in homage to Kim Novak's hideaway in Alfred Hitchcock's Vertigo). Yet the comments I've been reading online suggest that people go back to see this eccentric riff on Shakespeare's Macbeth over and over again, despite the cost. That's because the show is as much a scene as it is a performance. And an evocative scene, at that.

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Thursday, December 1, 2011

The Brand Brewing complex: To raze or not to raze?

Posted By on 12.01.11 at 09:00 AM

Brand Brewing administration building
  • ChicagoGeek via Flickr
  • Brand Brewing administration building
Several local preservation groups have been working for the past couple of months to try to save a 19th-century building complex on the 2500 block of North Elston, former home of the long-defunct Brand Brewing, from demolition. Key Development Partners LLC bought the complex earlier this year and applied for a demolition permit, which has been on hold by the City of Chicago since the end of August. On Monday, the city released the permit from its hold list, which means that the buildings can now legally be destroyed. That doesn't necessarily mean the end of the structures, though: in a community meeting on November 21, Alderman Joe Moreno pledged to block the zoning changes necessary for new construction until a solution is reached.

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Wednesday, November 30, 2011

The nostalgia of architecture and the architecture of nostalgia

Posted By on 11.30.11 at 08:00 AM

Last month, former Reader staffer Whet Moser wrote about the architectural firm of Hausner & Macsai for Chicago magazine’s 312 blog. Having spent most of my life on the north side of Chicago, it was revelatory to discover how many buildings that had long fascinated me could be attributed to two architects. Specifically, the Harbor House at 3200 N. Lake Shore Drive—which anyone who has ever disembarked from Lake Shore Drive at Belmont will recognize instantly—and 1150 N. Lake Shore Drive are two buildings of which I’m particularly fond; while they share some similarities, the sensibilities of the two buildings are disparate. 1150 N. Lake Shore Drive is an elegantly curved high-rise that resembles a free-standing, sideways arch, while Harbor House is a blobby, grotesque fun house, a three-tiered apartment complex with curved squares jutting out of the front.

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Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Tigerman, extracted

Posted By on 11.29.11 at 08:00 AM

As noted in my story from last week, the 25 essays in architect Stanley Tigerman’s book Schlepping Through Ambivalence were just published by Yale University Press—but they weren't just written. They represent nearly a half century of what Tigerman calls his “bewildering ruminations.” Among them, a string of biting rants about the lock Mies van der Rohe’s disciples had on Chicago architecture for a big chunk of the 20th century. Yale dean and starchitect Robert A.M Stern has called Tigerman "a mensch," but he's a mensch in wolf's clothing.

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Monday, November 28, 2011

Starting today on the Bleader: Architecture Week

Posted By on 11.28.11 at 12:30 PM

Today we start round two of our weekly online-only feature "Variations on a Theme," in which we devote digital ink to a topic that fascinates us. This week, it's architecture.

Every weekday morning and at various points throughout the week, Reader staffers and occasional guest contributors will produce a post—a personal essay, a longer-form reported story, a photo gallery, or something more off-the-wall—on a respective theme. The theme will often tie into the previous week's lead feature story, but not always. We'll be creating a unified online issue that supplements what we do in print and sustains the conversation around topics we think matter. Every entry in our "Variations on a Theme" series will be updated with links to the rest of the week's entries at the bottom of the post, and you can read an aggregated feed of the week's entries by clicking the tag at the top of each post.

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On first looking onto Toronto's skyline

Posted By on 11.28.11 at 08:00 AM

  • Wikimedia Commons
A couple of years before I moved to Chicago I visited its cinematic alter ego, Toronto, and like many another visitor rode a ferry from downtown to the Toronto Islands a few hundred yards offshore. The view of the city from the islands is much like the one of Chicago from the tip of Navy Pier, except that between myself and Toronto’s skyline there was nothing but open water. Two tall buildings unlike any others that rose from the city's center quickly held my gaze—they were slender ebony towers that reminded me of the monoliths in 2001: A Space Odyssey. I hadn’t seen buildings quite like this before, and I was stirred.

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