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Honoring Chicago's Architecture Through Print and Preservation!

The two best ‘chroniclers’ of architecture in the country, namely my friends William Zbaren and Robert Scharoff, have a new book coming out this Fall, stay tuned for more information as the date draws near!

Robert’s writing and Bill’s photography have won acclaim for past projects on Detroit and St. Louis and Lucien Lagrange, this new book will be out just in time to find its way to the coffee tables of discerning archiphiles for Christmas!

I have been reading up on the Farnsworth House.  What a unique structure!  The restoration and preservation of the Farnsworth House is one of the most uplifting stories in the sometimes sad legacy of those Chicago landmarks that have fallen to the wrecking ball.  Millions were devoted to raising it to survive the flooding of the Fox River, which flows only yards away from this famous structure.  The picture shows just how close it can come!

I can only hope that the tear down of Goldberg’s Prentice Women’s Hospital building won’t end up being as infamous as the destruction of the Stock Exchange Building, designed by Loius Sullivan and engineered by Dankmar Adler, completed in 1894 and regrettably destroyed in 1972.  Adler specified foundations that were more like the cylindrical caissons used in building bridges, and the foundations were dug by hand all the way down to the bedrock!  Thankfully we have the Trading Floor of this memorable building preserved at the Art Institute!

It’s amazing how networks and connections come together in the most unusual ways.  A friend of mine of mine recently took me on an insider tour of the Lincoln Park 2550 building, and shared that several of their ancestors had been doctors at Columbus Hospital, the building that used to be where 2550 stands now.

The nuns who ran the hospital wanted to be sure that whatever was built on their site would be something they would be proud of, and that the developer would preserve the Cabrini Shrine in the courtyard directly west of the 2550 building (shown above).  Like any huge project there were bumps along the way but as the scaffolding has come down it is clear that the Shrine has been respectfully preserved and stands as a unique showpiece that distinguishes the 2550 development!

Two big congratulations are in order, first to our wonderful Blackhawks for their tremendous Victory, and secondly to Marilu Roffe for her Tony award for “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf”!

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