Posts tagged with "landmarks illinois":

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Landmarks Illinois releases list of most endangered places

Landmarks Illinois has announced its 2017 list of Most Endangered Historic Places in Illinois. The list includes ten structures ranging from buildings to infrastructure across the state. Launched in 1995, the Most Endangered list highlights historic sites in severe need of “responsible stewardship, creative reuse plans and/or advances in public policy” “This year’s most endangered list includes a variety of iconic places that define our Illinois communities and our state’s heritage,” said Bonnie McDonald, president & CEO of Landmarks Illinois. “From historic bridges, to a round barn, to mid-century modern buildings, the sites on our 2017 Most Endangered list are wide-ranging and demonstrate the need for financial incentives and private-public partnerships. Landmarks Illinois stands ready to help all of these historic properties find productive and creative reuse opportunities.” The 2017 Most Endangered Historic Places in Illinois list includes:
  • James R. Thompson Center, Chicago, Cook County. Designed by Helmut Jahn.
  • O’Hare Rotunda Building, Chicago, Cook County. Design by Gertrude Kerbis.
  • Singer Pavilion, Chicago, Cook County. Designed by Loebl, Scholssman, and Bennett.
  • Ryan’s Round Barn, Johnson-Sauk Trail State Recreation Area, Henry County.
  • McKee House, Lombard, DuPage County.
  • Norway Temperance Hall, Norway, LaSalle County.
  • Federal Historic Tax Credit, Statewide.
  • Historic Bridges, Statewide.
  • Route 66, Statewide.
  • World War I Monuments, Statewide.
Each of these sites is threatened by neglect or purposeful attack. The James R. Thomson Center, the post-modern civic building in Chicago’s downtown, has been targeted by Illinois’s Governor Bruce Rauner. If the governor has his way, the building, which contains the state’s government offices, would be demolished or sold to make way for a new skyscraper. Of note, the Federal Historic Tax Credit is not a specific site, but a program that affects historic places across the country. The tax credit is part of the National Parks Service which is facing major budget cuts under the current federal administration. Route 66, which begins at the steps of the Art Institute of Chicago and runs to the Santa Monica Pier, faces a similar challenge. The National Park Service’s Route 66 Corridor Preservation Program is due to expire in the next three years. If the program is not renewed, the historic highway, which is already in despite need of maintenance, faces an uncertain future. You can learn more about all the sites at the Landmarks Illinois website. You can find the complete list here.
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Crumbling temples, South Side landmarks, neon signs top list of Chicago’s “most threatened” buildings

Preservation Chicago Wednesday named the seven Chicago structures on their annual list of the city's most threatened historic buildings, calling attention to vacant or blighted buildings from Englewood to Uptown that include a crumbling masonic temple, defunct factories, and even a South Side city landmark. 1. South Side Masonic Temple, 6400 S. Green Street

Architect Clarence Hatzfield's 1921 temple was built in a very different Englewood than today's. At the time, the South Side neighborhood was home to the second busiest commercial corridor in the city after downtown. Vacant for decades, the classically detailed building has an outstanding demolition permit.

“It's a prominent and vibrant structure that really deserves a reuse plan,” said Preservation Chicago's Ward Miller. The building made their list in 2004, as well as similar watch lists from sister organization Landmarks Illinois in 2003–2004 and 2009–2010. “We really think this is the last call for the Masonic temple,” Miller said. 2. Main Building, 3300 S. Federal St. This vacant, red brick structure is visible from the Dan Ryan Expressway, its 1890s splendor a unique presence on the mostly modernist campus of the Illinois Institute of Technology. IIT, which owns the Chicago landmark, has not been an absent landlord, however, renovating its interior over the years and recently putting out a request for proposals on the Romanesque revival structure. Nonetheless structural issues threaten this Patten & Fisher building that predates the 1893 Columbian Exposition. 3. A. Finkl & Sons Company Buildings, Kingsbury & The North Branch of the Chicago River Comprising 28 acres of land along the north branch of the Chicago River, this defunct industrial complex has an uncertain future. Once a symbol of Chicago's industrial might, this former manufacturing corridor churned out leather and forged steel. Now it's flanked with wealthy residential communities, its original industrial tenants gone for greener pastures. In 2014 Finkl & Sons moved their operations to Chicago's southeast side, provoking questions about the site's future that Robin Amer explored in detail for the magazine Rust Belt. 4. Agudas Achim North Shore Synagogue, 5029 N. Kenmore Ave. An historic synagogue on a residential block in Uptown, Agudas Achim boasts an unusual blend of architectural styles, mixing Spanish and Romanesque revival flourishes with Art Deco detailing. Brilliant stained glass windows and strange details in the 1922 building's 2,200-seat sanctuary shine through the building's dilapidation, which is substantial after years of vacancy. 5. Clarendon Park Community Center, 4501 N. Clarendon St.

The Clarendon Park Community Center and Field House, originally called the Clarendon Municipal Bathing Beach, is now a community center and field house. When it was built in 1916, its Mediterranean-revival, resort-style design was meant to remind Chicagoans of Lake Michigan's splendor. That meant it was also supposed to erase memories of cholera outbreaks and squalor along the shores of a rapidly industrializing, young city.

Changes to the structure, particularly in 1972, led to water infiltration and roof issues, as well as alterations to the building's historic towers and colonnades. It sits in a tax-increment financing district adjacent to another threatened building, the historic Cuneo Hospital. Miller suggested the two could be saved and redeveloped together.

6. Pioneer Arcade & New Apollo Theater, 1535-1541 N. Pulaski Rd.

Another former commercial corridor that has fallen on tough times, the area around North & Pulaski in West Humboldt Park retains several important works of 1920s architecture that include some of the city's best Spanish Colonial Revival design.

Restoring the commercial structures to their former glory may prove challenging, but Preservation Chicago hopes previous attempts to redevelop individual buildings could coalesce into a larger restoration project using national and local historic rehabilitation tax incentives.

7. Neon signs

Not a building but an essential part of the city's built environment, Chicago's de facto public art gallery of neon signs overhanging public streets is under threat. Donald Trump's sign notwithstanding, many of the commercial advertisements on Chicago streets are beloved local icons. Many are also code violations in waiting, so the challenge is to find and fix up historic signs while scrapping rusted-out, replaceable ones. DNAinfo Chicago collected a few of their readers' favorite neon signs, which you can see here.

Visit Curbed Chicago for a map of city showing all seven buildings. More information on the list can be found on Preservation Chicago's website.
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Wrecking Keck & Keck? Chicago preservationists target North Shore landmark ordinance

One of the Chicago area's last remaining homes by brothers and modernist architects George Frederick and William Keck faces likely demolition later this year, despite a long-running preservation campaign to save it. The 1955 Blair House at 925 Sheridan Road in Lake Bluff, Illinois could earn designation as a local landmark, but that distinction may do little more than delay the inevitable, preservationists said, since the Chicago suburb's landmark ordinance lacks legal teeth. In 1957 Architectural Record named the Blair House "A Residence of Exceptional Distinction.” Landmarks Illinois named it one of their most endangered places in 2012, citing the home's forward-thinking design and pristinely preserved interiors. The Keck's custom-designed many of their homes down to the furniture, experimenting in the Blair House with sustainable technologies that are now commonplace, such as double-glazing, abundant natural light and radiant heat. A travertine fireplace and elegant stairway are among the home's celebrated features. Ed McCormick Blair, the original owner, died in 2010. He left the house to his estate, representatives of which plan to demolish the structure and sell the land for redevelopment. The value of the property, which is part of a 19th century farm on the shores of Lake Michigan, has been assessed at $4.9 million. For four years the estate has sought $9,995,000 for the five-bedroom house and 27 acres of land, a price which has not been met by the market. The property's realtor did not return requests for comment. Owner Ed Blair Jr. submitted an application to demolish the building in December. Under Lake Bluff's rules, that permit was subject to a 90-day review because the building is more than 50 years old. If the building receives landmark designation, Blair will have to submit an additional request, but he is not prohibited from knocking down the historic structure after a 120-day period that Lake Bluff officials say provides for public dialogue. Speaking to the Chicago Tribune, Blair said the proceeds of the house's sale will go to charity. "The land is worth more without the house than with it," he told Genevieve Bookwalter. "The purpose is not to honor my father by keeping the house; it's to honor my father by following his wishes." But preservationists say demolishing the home would mar the region's architectural legacy. “The concept of this jewel of a house being demolished has just got us beside ourselves,” said Jack Schuler, a neighbor whose property shares history with the Blairs'. Along with John H. Bryan, Schuler and Blair Sr. purchased portions of the 250-acre Crab Tree Farm in 1985. The farm, currently in conservancy, is among the last working farms bordering Lake Michigan. Brandon Stanick, Assistant to Village Administrator of Lake Bluff, said the village's requirement for public dialogue balances property rights with preservation. “There's a strong property rights feeling in the village," he said. "The advisory review process in place is meant to be a compromise between the two extremes.” Schuler said the controversy lays bare the problems with the landmark provisions of Lake Bluff. The Blair House is one of several historic homes in the leafy, upscale suburb. Preservationists worry more will be demolished if the landmark ordinance remains merely honorific. “If this was Lake Forest this house would be preserved,” said Schuler.
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These are the ten most threatened buildings in Illinois

Preservation group Landmarks Illinois identified its ten most endangered historic places in the state Tuesday, a list which includes the embattled Uptown Theatre, a Jens Jensen landscape, and Chicago’s Central Manufacturing District on the Southwest Side. “The sites named to the list are all exceptionally important to not only local residents, but the local economy,” said Bonnie McDonald, Landmarks Illinois’ president (Read AN’s Q&A with McDonald here). “By calling attention to the potential for their reuse and revitalization, we are encouraging job creation and economic development across Illinois—something everyone can support.” The group has been issuing the list since 1995. Of the buildings called out for preservation each year, a third of the properties have been saved, less than a quarter have been demolished, and the rest remain up in the air. Half of this year’s list falls in the Chicago area, including Jens Jensens’ Camp Algonquin in suburban McHenry County. The 116-acre camp along the Fox River was established in 1907 but closed in 2011 amid financial difficulties. Its 47 buildings are in various states of disrepair and many are slated for demolition. In March, State Senator Pam Althoff introduced two bills to fund their rehabilitation. Downstate properties include Hotel Belleville, a 1931 Art Deco building on Belleville, Illinois’ town square. The city, about 16 miles southeast of St. Louis, recently issued a Request for Proposals for the redevelopment of the building. Read more about the 10 historic places on Landmarks Illinois’ website:
  1. Camp Algonquin
  2. Central Manufacturing District 
  3. Halsted and Willow Gateway 
  4. Hamilton Primary School 
  5. Hotel Belleville 
  6. McAuley Schoolhouse 
  7. Old Millstadt Water Tower 
  8. Robertson Building
  9. Uptown Theatre 
  10. U.S. Marine Hospital 
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Prentice, Back in Court, Wins Just Another 30 Days

Cook County Judge Neil Cohen swatted down Friday a lawsuit preservationists filed to save Prentice Women’s Hospital, but ordered an extension of the threatened Goldberg building’s stay of demolition for another month. Preservationists sued to overturn a decision by the Chicago Commission on Landmarks that ultimately denied protection for Prentice in November, asserting the commission violated its own rules of conduct by considering economic concerns over architectural merits. “The Supreme Court says I can't overturn decisions of legislative bodies based on their failures to follow procedure,” Judge Cohen said, offering the National Trust for Historic Preservation in the United States and Landmarks Illinois another month to amend their complaint. "We appreciate the care with which Judge Cohen is considering the case," read a statement from the Save Prentice coalition. The group unveiled Jan. 3 a series of proposals for preserving Prentice while meeting Northwestern University's development goals. Michael Rachlis, who is representing the preservation groups in court, said he will consider raising due process issues when the matter returns to court on Feb. 15 at 10 a.m.
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Five Pritzker-winning architects join “Save Prentice” campaign

Bertrand Goldberg’s Prentice Hospital has become the cause célèbre for architectural preservationists from across Chicago and beyond, now garnering five more Pritzker-toting allies amid mounting pressure for demolition. Robert Venturi, Tadao Ando, Jacques Herzog, Pierre de Meuron, and Eduardo Souto de Moura added their names to a letter sent to Mayor Rahm Emanuel last month from more than 60 architects, including Frank Gehry. Dan Coffey and Jack Hartray of Chicago, George Miller of New York City, Denise Scott Brown of Philadelphia, and Bjarke Ingels of Copenhagen also joined the chorus of designers calling on Chicago city officials to grant the iconic cloverleaf structure landmark status. The National Trust for Historic Preservation recently completed a landmark recommendation report, but Chicago’s Commission on Landmarks, the City Council, and the mayor will ultimately determine whether its owner can proceed with its plans to demolish. AIA Chicago and Landmarks Illinois have long supported landmark designation for the building, which Northwestern University wants to demolish so it can construct a medical research tower. Preservationists counter Northwestern owns vacant land nearby that should be considered for new construction. Reuse options for Prentice, vacant since 2007, abound—a reuse study by Landmarks Illinois found rehabilitation as a lab, office or residential tower would take less time and cost less than new construction on the site. Goldberg designed the hospital to actualize his vision for community-building through architecture. The four bays in the building’s unique quatrefoil floorplan were meant to preserve sightlines and encourage interaction between and among patients and staff. Its concrete shell, designed uncharacteristically for the time with the aid of computers, is a unique feat of engineering permitting column-free floors. It was hailed as a structural engineering milestone upon its completion in 1975. “The legacy of Bertrand Goldberg’s Prentice Women’s Hospital is unmistakable,” the letter reads. “Chicago’s global reputation as a nurturer of bold and innovative architecture will wither if the city cannot preserve its most important achievements.” There is a Commission on Chicago Landmarks meeting this Thursday, and Prentice supporters are trying to put the issue on the agenda, but the Commission has not responded. They have not weighed in on the issue in more than a year, even ruling a coalition representative who tried to broach the topic out of order during the last meeting. UPDATE: The Commission's agenda does not include Prentice.
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Architects to Chicago Mayor: Save Prentice!

More than 60 architects flocked to the side of Bertrand Goldberg’s embattled Prentice Women’s Hospital Wednesday, calling on Mayor Rahm Emanuel to ensure the concrete cloverleaf’s permanent place in Chicago’s skyline. “The legacy of Bertrand Goldberg’s Prentice Women’s Hospital is unmistakable. It stands as a testament to the Chicago-led architectural innovation that sets this city apart,” reads the open letter, whose cosigners include Frank Gehry, Jeanne Gang and the partners of SOM. “Chicago’s global reputation as a nurturer of bold and innovative architecture will wither if the city cannot preserve its most important achievements.” Northwestern University, Prentice’s owner, announced their intention to tear down the vacant hospital last year. But Alderman Brendan Reilly helped secure a stay of execution for the building, galvanizing a preservation movement that has earned the support of the Chicago AIA, Landmarks Illinois and AN's editorial page. Prentice Women’s Hospital moved to a new facility down the street in 2007, opening up the distinct building to arguments of functionality in a high-density neighborhood. Coming from a major research university, Northwestern’s demolition plans suggest preservationists stand in the way of progress. But a reuse study by Landmarks Illinois found rehabilitation as a lab, office or residential tower would take less time and cost less than new construction on the site. Preservation would also “provide visual relief,” they wrote, “for this portion of the Streeterville community, which is increasingly dominated by dense and boxlike high-rises.” Indeed Prentice’s structurally unique cantilevered concrete shell is an architectural asset in the neighborhood. It is the only hospital Goldberg designed for his hometown, and its quatrefoil plan emerged from his belief that architecture should strengthen community  through human relationships. The worldwide list of architects calling for its preservation shows Prentice continues to bring the design community together, almost 40 years later.