Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Chicago- discovery

The recorded history of the city of Chicago begins in the 1600’s when the city was called Chigagou, which means “wild-garlic place”. Native American people generally avoided settling in the swampy, boggy and muddy areas that covered the land as much as twenty miles inland from the Lake of the Illinois (present day Lake Michigan). In 1673, Father Jacques Marquette and Louis Joliet, two Frenchmen, passed through Chigagou, and met with the local Illinois Indians. Marquette and Joliet, though not the first white men to see Chigagou, were the first to map the territory. They had hoped to find a river connecting the Mississippi River to Lake Michigan, but instead found a swampy area which required a five to ten mile portage between a portion of the Des Plaines River and what would become known as the Chicago River. The reason that only one river (the Chicago) flowed into Lake Michigan dates back to glacial times when most of the metropolitan area was submerged beneath Lake Chicago. The beaches and sand dunes associated with this lake left ridges that kept water from flowing east into the lake. Joliet realized in the 1670’s that if a canal could be built through the portage, the city could become the great city of the Midwest. Though he never saw his dream realized, Joliet’s vision was finally completed in 1848. The Illinois and Michigan canal was an all water route, between Lake Michigan and the Illinois River, that finally connecting the Great Lakes to the Mississippi River. Coinciding with the increases in trade brought on by the construction and completion of the canal, improvements were needed along the lakefront to allow ships to call on Chicago as a port city. The original shoreline of Chicago is unrecognizable today under the skyscrapers, museums and parks that have been constructed on the 5.5 square miles of landfill created since the 1800’s (see Figure, Chrzastowski,1998). Man-made alterations included new piers, beaches, peninsulas, and even changing the course and flow direction of the Chicago River.

zreference: Shoreline process in Chicago

Monday, March 19, 2007

wrigley- Not a landmark building?

Published by Blair Kamin
Tribune architecture critic
Published July 1, 2005

Mayor Richard M. Daley's recent assertion that the city will not seek landmark status for the iconic Wrigley Building takes us straight through the looking glass and into the realm of the ridiculous. It reveals how utterly arbitrary the process of conferring protected status on Chicago's architectural treasures can be.

Asserting that the city continues to have no interest in pursuing landmark designation for the Wrigley Building, Daley said of the Wrigley family: "That family has really kept that icon up. . . . There isn't one piece of public taxpayer money involved. That's pretty significant."

This was a classic Alice-in-Wonderland argument -- an insidious way of turning reality on its head.

Nowhere in the official criteria for designating Chicago landmarks does it say that a building's owners can avoid the restrictions that come with landmark status by maintaining their properties without public funds.

A potential landmark must meet at least two of seven criteria established by the city. Among them: being an important work of architecture (which the Wrigley surely is -- the building, a skillful transformation of Spanish and French precedents, is a major 1920s skyscraper and even appeared on the cover of the Art Institute's 1987 book, "Chicago Architecture 1872-1922").

Here is a sampling of the other standards:

- Whether a building is a critical part of the city's heritage (check: The Wrigley inaugurated a spurt of development north of the Chicago River in the 1920s).

- Whether a building was designed by an important architect (check: The Wrigley's architects were Graham, Anderson, Probst & White, the firm that succeeded the practice of Daniel Burnham).

- Whether a building is part of a distinctive city district (check: The Wrigley is one of four great 1920s towers that create an extraordinary visual drama around the Michigan Avenue bridge).
** The FOUR buildings are: [1] Wrigley building -1920 ... [2] Tribune Tower [1925]...
[3]333 N Michigan Avenue [1928] .... [4] London Guarantee Blg/ 360 N Michigan Avenue [1923]
Michigan Avenue bridge was completed in 1920 ...

- Whether a building has a unique visual feature (check: If the Wrigley's clock tower isn't unique, then what is?).

It is absurd for the city's roster of protected structures to incorporate such everyday structures as warehouses, powerhouses, bridges and ballparks but not a major commercial monument such as the Wrigley Building.

How can Wrigley Field be a landmark, but not the Wrigley Building?

In recent years, the city has pursued the enlightened policy of taking pre-emptive action, as condominium conversions loomed, to protect significant historic structures, such as the wall of historic buildings along Michigan Avenue that lines Grant Park.

Nobody wanted to see balconies, with bicycles and barbecue grilles, gracelessly stuck onto the walls of these notable structures. Nobody should wish such a fate on the Wrigley Building. And that is to say nothing of the potential issue raised by the blazing spotlights that make the building a beacon at night: There could be pressure to turn them off if they keep condo residents awake.

As one longtime city observer wrote in a letter to me: "Do you remember the dark Wrigley Building during one of the severest energy crises? Very sad."

The city's inconsistency on designating landmarks, as made clear by Daley's comments on the Wrigley Building, is sadder still.

Think tanks: Originally designed to hold water for fire protection and manufacturing needs, water tanks etch a distinctive skyline silhouette in both Chicago's downtown and its neighborhood commercial districts. The city once had thousands of the picturesque rooftop structures and hundreds remain, yet only about 130 of the water tanks are known to be actively used today, according to Tim Samuelson, the city's cultural historian.

Now the Chicago Architectural Club and the City of Chicago are sponsoring a design competition to explore the reuse or preservation of historic water tanks. Santa Monica, Calif., architect Thom Mayne, who was just in Chicago to receive the 2005 Pritzker Architecture Prize, will chair the jury for the contest. The top three plans will receive prize money of $3,500, $1,000 and $500. The deadline for submittal is Oct. 11. For details, see www.chicagoarchitecturalclub.org.

Happy 125th: Throughout its life, the venerable Chicago architectural firm of Holabird & Root has made an enormous impact on the Chicago cityscape. Its sparkling list of credits includes the Marquette Building, the original Soldier Field, the Chicago Board of Trade, the Palmolive Building and the Northwestern University Law School.

The firm has never hewed to a single aesthetic ideology. Instead, it has consistently turned out high-quality designs in styles ranging from Chicago School to Beaux-Arts to Art Deco to postmodern and modern.

This year, Holabird & Root is turning 125, and the public, fittingly, will have a chance to partake in the celebration of the firm that has done so much to shape its surroundings. On July 16, the Chicago Architecture Foundation will open a retrospective exhibition on the firm's work, featuring photographs by Hedrich Blessing. The exhibition will appear in the foundation's John Buck Company Lecture Hall gallery. It runs through Feb. 12, 2006.


Chicago - Color coded landmarks

The Chicago Historic Resources Survey (CHRS), completed in 1995, was a decade-long research effort by the City of Chicago to analyze the historic and architectural importance of all buildings constructed in the city prior to 1940. During 12 years of fieldwork and follow-up research that started in 1983, CHRS surveyors identified 17,371 properties which were considered to have some historic or architectural importance. The CHRS database identifies each property's date of construction, architect, building style and type, Chicago Landmark status (LM), inclusion in the Illinois Historic Structures Survey (ISS), and property identification numbers (PIN). A color-coded ranking system was used to identify historic and architectural significance relative to age, degree of external physical integrity, and level of possible significance.

RED (RD) properties possess some architectural feature or historical association that made them potentially significant in the broader context of the City of Chicago, the State of Illinois, or the United States of America. About 300 properties are categorized as "Red" in the CHRS.

ORANGE (OR) properties possess some architectural feature or historical association that made them potentially significant in the context of the surrounding community. About 9,600 properties are categorized as "Orange" in the CHRS.

GREEN (GN), YELLOW-GREEN (YG), and YELLOW (YL) properties are those generally considered either too altered or lacking individual significance to be included in the CHRS database. However, properties with this color ranking that are included in the ISS or located within designated or potential Chicago Landmark districts were included in the CHRS.

BLUE (BL) properties are those constructed after 1940. These properties are considered too recent to be properly evaluated for architectural and historical significance and were generally not included in the CHRS database. However, properties already considered for individual Chicago Landmark designation and properties located within designated Chicago Landmark districts are included in the CHRS.

The on-line version of the CHRS is designed to provide Chicago residents, community groups, businesses and other interested parties with easy access to the database. By making it available on the Internet, the Department of Planning and Development, Landmarks Division, hopes to increase architectural awareness in city neighborhoods, assist independent preservation efforts, and provide greater insight into city history. The CHRS was published in book form in 1996. It is no longer available for sale, but bound copies may be found at Chicago Public Libraries, university libraries, historical societies, and major research institutions in Chicago. (Search the database)

In addition to the information contained in the on-line version, the published report includes community histories, a guide to various architectural styles in Chicago, and more than 1,000 photos and illustrations, as well as cross-indexes by such categories as street names, community areas, architects, building styles, and building types. The published report also contains a complete explanation of the methodology and research information that was used by the CHRS surveyors.

LIST of chicago landmark buildings: