540 West Madison...

The new LaSalle Bank Building at Madison and Clinton is nice during the day, but it is quite the stunner at night when standing under the "point" looking up at the stainless steel structure.

Same view, different angle...

Taking a step back towards the corner, one can see where I captured my first two pics.

I was trying to capture the shadow of the tree on the stainless, but the whole thing is a bit blurry... Although I still like the photo.


Union Station...

Union Station sits on the outside rim of the Loop in a somewhat less than prominent location on S Canal St. between Jackson and Adams. This is the last remaining of Chicago's "Roman Revival" train stations (Northwestern station was leveled in the 1980's).

The architecture is quite simple, yet classic. Just like Chicago, not too pretentious. A characteristic I like about this place.

It's not hard to imagine the millions of people that have traveled through this building. Sadly, today's travelers hardly ever see the great waiting room, they enter from stairs and escalator's to the lower levels a block or more away next to the river on Madison, Adams and Jackson.

The view down W. Quincy St from S. Jefferson with the Sears Tower looming in the background. A nice little mini canyon, that the hoards of commuters have probably never seen from this angle. (Which is OK with me, I am sure the scenery in Schaumburg or wherever the trains travel to is just as lovely.)


Wabash Ave Bridge, a bridge to nowhere...

For the next several years, the recently restored Wabash Ave Bridge will lead to nowhere. While the bridge will be open, there is no street to drive on once you drive across the river due to the construction of the Trump.
So for now, I get to enjoy the bridge with no traffic.

The paint on the bridge is fresh and shiny... For awhile at least...

Here you can clearly see that the bridge leads to a giant pit (right).


Unknown Loop Streets #3... "W. Arcade Place"...

Squeezed between Madison and Monroe, and stretching for three and a half blocks, from Wacker to Madison, West Arcade Place has charms all it's own.

Cobblestones are not a common sight in the center of the Loop. The poles used to tether your horse are not old, they certainly wouldn't stop a determined horse.

This is the only north/south section of W Arcade Place, where it turns in the center of the block. It looks more like an alley, but it is an official street.

The East end of W. Arcade Place ends up on Madison between Clark and LaSalle.


Park, Park, Park...

Parking lots have been around for a long time. The new ones have rather mundane signs most of which are not photoworthy (not even for digital).

These two signs have character, and have hung around for a while.

Other side of the same sign. Did that say "80 cents First Half Hour" at one time? Isn't it now more like $8.00 for the first half hour?

The bulbs inside the letters flash (when working) in a seemingly random pattern known in the sign industry as "Scintillating". This along with the flashing arrows made for quite the spectacle. I am sure this was key to attracting business 50 years ago.


When the weather is crappy... Head to the Shedd...

Spent time at the Shedd Aquarium yesterday (along with half population of the region.). It was my first visit since moving her in '99. While I felt the admission price, even with the resident discount, was a bit steep, I had a great time. This in spite of the huge crowds of tourists and suburbanites.

This is a pic of these wonderfully transparent and bright blue glowing fish. I can't remember what species they were, I saw too many fish to remember.

More pretty fish, anemone's and coral.

Penguins having a great time.

My "friend" led me to the Beluga Whale's first when we got there, and then I had to visit them again right before we left.
You can just see the intelligence in their eyes.

I love their "perma smile".

(Don't worry fans, This stray away from architecture is only temporary.)


Blair Kamin and The Tribune Tower (Part II)...

So I came home tonight to a message on my phone with my caller ID saying "Tribune". I first thought... Why are they calling me again? Will they ever leave me alone? I went through such a hassle with their sales people when I subscribed to the paper, and had to beg to get them remove me from the list, and stop calling me.
Turns out it was a message from Blair Kamin. He was requesting the correct spelling of my last name. He is doing an article about people with temporary views. Which would be me... I would be honered to be mentioned in an article by him.

So tonight, I felt the need to dig up a couple of pics of the Tribune Tower (of which I have too few) and also post a rendering of what could have been.

Although a bit dark, I shot this last summer after leaving a bar after a company party with a few drinks under my belt. It was the only one of about a half dozen that even remotely came out.

The Tribune Tower was the result of an international design competition in 1922. My personal first choice would have been this entry by Walter Gropius. It was way ahead of it's time, and I believe would have stood the test of time if given the chance. Imagine such a modern tower in the mid 1920's. Instead they made the "safe" choice, and went with something that was familiar to all, a gothic skyscraper, you know, just like the ones in the middle ages.

(Obviously this is not my photo, so I must admit to swiping it off the net. Thank God for Google Image Search.)


Blair Kamin and Block 37...

I had the pleasure of meeting Blair Kamin (Architectural Critic for the Tribune) this afternoon on my way home from work. I was rounding the corner of Washington onto State when I saw him standing there, and without hesitation, I said hi to him. We chatted for a few minutes and briefly discussed Block 37. He said he is doing some work related to B-37, and I took the chance to offer a few of my thoughts. So today's post is for Blair Kamin and B-37. I have always thought highly of him, and am so glad I got the opportunity to meet him on my home turf.

This pic was taken last night during the gala event celebrating the 50th anniversary of our first King Daley's assent to the throne. There were plenty of local celebs there, and at 10 grand a table, I sure hope the food was good.

This was last week when they were setting up the tent for last nights gala event.

A pic from last winter. I will miss the view when B-37 is finished, although I think that will be a while.

Last Summer when B-37 hosted Gallery 37.


Calder, Meis and the Sky II...

A couple of months ago (Feb-17), I posted a few pics I took at the Federal Plaza of the work of Calder and Meis. This past Sunday, I took advantage of the weather and did my best to capture more of the juxtaposition of the curvaceous deep orange/red Calder against the backdrop of the rhythmic simplicity of Meis.

(Read story of being detained again at bottom.)

A bit closer up

One Meis reflecting in the other

Oh, and the sky, what a beautiful sky it was.

I was once again detained while taking photos. While on the East side of the Dirkson Federal Building, I was tapped on the shoulder by a Federal Marshall demanding to know what I was photographing. Being a bit pissed about being interrupted, I just blurted out that I am a private citizen taking photos for my personal use, and he had no right to stop me. Well... He demanded my identification, and led me around to the other side of the building where I had to meet with the supervisor to explain why I was there, and what I was taking photos of. I calmed down a bit, explained that I am an architectural geek, and get off on taking photos of great architecture. All the while the Marshall Guy had my ID. After taking down my address, and running a check on my in the computer, and looking at all of the photos I had on my camera, I was handed my ID, and released. I was required to make sure that I understood that I am allowed to take photos of the building, but I cannot take images of security cameras, entrances, or any other thing related to security. Well, since I could care less about how they do security, I assured them that I would stick to the artistic photos of the building as a whole.
I understand the need to protect our borders, and ensure that Federal Buildings are not blown up or attacked in any other way... But I resent the fact that I no longer have the freedom in this free country to aim my camera any where I want.



I was walking by Bank One Plaza (or is that One Chase Plaza?) yesterday when I was captured by the Daffodils. Growing up on the West Coast, I never fully understood or appreciated the concept of four seasons quite like I do here in Chicago.

Mini lavender Pansies.

It just feels so good to see such beauty after the end of each winter.


Unknown Loop Streets #2... "W. Court Place"...

"For your Pleasure"....
This is the second in a series of actual streets on a map that nobody really knows about. Taken in West Court Place (Between Washington and Randolph from Lasalle to Wells).
The back of the old Bismarck Hotel still has clear signage from a different time.

Something tells me that "Old Vienna" had tasty treats along with air conditioning, and it was right around the corner!

West Court Place, ancient on the left, modern on the right.


One Chase Plaza...

The soon be known name for Bank One Plaza. My initial reaction to this building when I first laid eyes upon it was "What the F*ck?" But as the years have slipped by, I have developed a real appreciation for this place. Stand with your back against one of the vertical piers and tilt your head back for the trip.

Looking up from Clark and Madison.

From the north side of One Chase Plaza.


Details Details Details...

So much of our world around us is filled with detail we never see. Do you suppose the architects of these buildings ever considered that virtually nobody will ever really see the extensive detail near the top of their structures? This corner taken at LaSalle and Monroe.

This charming building is mid block on LaSalle between Monroe and Madison.

And finally, this building top is mid block on State between Madison and Washington.



The Citicorp Bldg and the new LaSalle Bank Bldg from the Chicago Daily News Bldg.

Madison and Canal Street intersection reflected in the Citicorp Bldg.


Modern - Clean...

Lakeside Motel on Sheridan Road about 5450 North. It looks like the kind of place that Maryann and Ginger would have spent the night before that fateful voyage. (Only it would have been the "Oceanside Motel".)

I want those mosaic tiles for my place!

When this was last painted, they intentionally picked out detail in white. Good choice!