Child at Play...

I mentioned in my last post that I don't often take pictures of people. I often prefer the absence of people in my images to force you to see the space or the building. That said, I am again doing a post with images of people, well, a mother and child in particular.

A few weeks back while walking through Grant Park near Michigan Ave just south of Congress, I noticed a mother and child (center) nestled among the new spring flowers in the distance. I was quite captured by this and as we walked toward the General John Logan Memorial in the distance, I took several shots of these two playing in the grass.

Zooming in, it looks as though they are right in the middle of the flowers.

Now up at the base of the memorial looking back.

As I was getting ready to put the camera away, I caught them playing paddy-cake. If this child's mother is indeed as loving as has appeared here, he is a very lucky child.

This is slightly unrelated, but I shot this fountain as I was walking towards the memorial. You can see it in the first image on the left.


Random Mondays... 05.29.06...

Looking through my images over the past few weeks, I noticed more images with people than usual. Now, those who know me, know that I usually don't take a lot of images with people as the subject matter. But, I thought I would share a few shots from the past couple of weeks.

First, a family posing in front of Cloudgate (The Bean) about ten days ago, with three different people taking pictures.

Reflection in blue.. Folks passing time at the Crown Fountain. This was the same day as above, as you can tell, it was quite cold.

At the LaSalle Bank Theater on Friday, these two were filling out entry forms for prizes in the newly added bar area of the lobby.

This thoroughly bored man standing at the corner of State and Monroe was trying to give away gifts to those who signed up for a Zales Card. Little does he know that the people that want to shop at Zales can do it at their local mall.

While waiting for the train on the platform at Madison and Wabash yesterday, I saw this presumably homeless woman, putting on make in the mirror of a Lexus. At least she knows her expensive vehicles.

OK, so this doesn't have people in it (except for the passengers in the car). I was in Naperville on Saturday, when we came across this vintage Burger King still in operation. I know... Why the hell was I in Naperville? Long story.... And yes I did have my passport.


Inland Steel... Part IV... Images from the past...

Part I, The Lobby
Part II, The Offices
Part III, The Views

Part of the tour last Saturday of the Inland Steel building (see previous entries) included several images from the archives. I didn't spend as much time looking at them as I wished, but here are a few shots of what I did spend time looking at.

First was this large image taken not long after completion.

This construction photo was fantastic. It would have been better if I had been wearing a dark shirt that day.

An image of what I would guess to be the original model.

And finally, one of the original blueprints on display. This was when blueprints were still blue.


Majestic-Shubert-LaSalle BankTheater, Facelifted...

I took the opportunity to tour the just reopened LaSalle Bank Theater. Built in 1906 as the Majestic, and knon for decades as the Shubert, LaSalle Bank just spent 14 million dollars on a facelift to have their name on the marquee for the long term.

The facelift for the most part was done well. I feel as though it was more of a renovation, than a restoration. But that is not necessarily a bad thing. With a renovation, they were able to keep most all of the original features, including minor blemishes from time. Outside of a lot of unexpected sheetrock, they did the right thing overall. With a restoration, it would have become a precious museum piece, and looked fake and new, and would have cost three times as much.

The building was open today from noon till five, and will be open again on Saturday from noon till five as well. I took about 125 shots of the interior, several of which are here on my Flicker site. Here is a sampling of some of the better ones.

I found it a real challenge to take the interior shots without a flash or a tripod, but thanks to the anti shaky feature on my camera, I was able to capture several with a 1/4 second shutter, which came out quite nice.

This shot was as I was descending the stage, looking directly up the side of the proscenium with the box seats to the left.

From the balcony, looking down on the seats below.

I was thinking that there would be a sign for the second balcony, or at least another as ornate as this one, but couldn't find it.

Up on the stage, you got to take a good look at the "ropes" and all the rigging that make changing scenery seem so easy. It was very interesting in that they mostly did a restoration of the original equipment, rather than replace it all with modern rigging. ( I suspect the old stuff is better anyway.)

And finally back out onto the street. The building isn't completed yet, it is being converted into a Hampton Inn Hotel. They have gone to a lot of trouble to hide the construction going on around the entrance.


Hyatt Center (revisited)...

I have done previous posts about or including the Hyatt Center (here, here, and here), but couldn't help but take more shots on the way home from work tonight.

The street wall along Wacker is finally whole with the completion of 111 S Wacker and the Hyatt Center. Standing on Wacker in front of 10 South this afternoon, I was noticing the clouds contrasting with a deep blue sky, which led me to notice the Hyatt Center.

Where there were four when I moved here in 1999, all the vacant lots along the north south section of Wacker have been filled in nicely with 191 N Wacker, UBS Tower, Hyatt Center, and 111 South Wacker.

The shape while not necessarily unique, does fit the building well, and as far as I know, this is the only building with this shape in Chicago.

Standing at the "split" on the west end of the building looking up.

Standing on Monroe looking up at Hyatt and 111 S Wacker.

Side shot from Monroe.


Inland Steel... Part lll... The Views...

Part l, The Lobby
Part ll, The Offices

Aside from the treat of being able to tour the 11th floor of Inland Steel this past Saturday, was the chance to see the surrounding views. During my tour, I managed to take a couple of dozen shots of what was outside the window.

Overlooking the plaza at what is now Exelon Plaza.

Chicago First/Bank One/Chase or something building overlooking Exelon Plaza.

Looking west down Monroe, you can see top of the Hyatt Building peeking out.

Another shot looking down Monroe.

Looking east, Carson Pirie Scott on State Street is the dominant building. You can also see the balconies which have been tacked on to the Metropolis Condos.

Closer shot of Carsons with its recently restored cornice.

Looking north at the reflections on One South Dearborn.

And finally, how amazing was it that the sun was lined up with the pavers and planters on the plaza at One South Dearborn?


Random Mondays... 05.22.06...

The randomness for today is culled from shots taken over the past week.

First up... Mr "God hates homos, adulterers, smokers, drinkers, liars, people that are late for work, etc..." Samuel Chambers has been a fixture on State Street for more than 35 years.

What time is it?
Marshall Fields Clock at State and Washington.

Waiting in line for tickets (at 6:40 AM) to Chicago Great Places and Spaces this past Saturday, I saw the light coming through the windows of the entry area to the modern wing at the Art Institute across the street.

The next morning standing in line even earlier (6:10 AM) I saw the sun again being reflected across the street at the Art Institute.

Standing on Randolph yesterday afternoon looking up.

And finally, a follow up to last week... I mentioned that the "Cen" on the neon sign was not working... Well, they read my mind and fixed it.


Inland Steel... Part ll... The Offices...

Yesterday I wrote about taking a tour of the Inland Steel building at 30 W Monroe. Well, as promised, today I bring you pictures from the inside.

But, before I get to today's post, let me respond to comments from yesterdays post... Mittal was only leasing three floors at Inland Steel, they needed more space which wasn't available. This prompted them to move next door a few months ago to 1 S Dearborn. They left three vacant floors at Inland Steel, which are still vacant. The remainder of the building is leased. As for seeing the inside of 1 S Dearborn... We didn't get to see all that much, just the lobby, the elevator, and the 7th floor health club from where we viewed Inland Steel from above the street. I was most impressed by the stunningly beautiful glass walls in the elevators.

Now to continue the juicy architectural porn...

Part of what makes Inland Steel such an incredible building is that the elevators, restrooms and fire stairs are all contained in a stainless steel clad tower to the east of the office portion, which is all glass and stainless steel. Current fire code would not allow for this configuration today because the only escape in fire would be contained within the small mechanicals tower, and today�s fire code would require additional staircases. It is because there are no additional staircases that Inland Steel is unique. By not having the additional staircases, the office floor is completely uninterrupted space, no columns, and no support walls.

The first shot was taken as we were going from the elevator tower to the office tower. There is a kind of transitional bridge if you will with glass on both sides. As just noted above, this is one of the unique qualities of the building.

Looking north from where we entered the office space from the elevators. The interior is mostly intact including office partition walls with glass at the top.

A bit further in, looking toward the northeast corner.

Getting a closer shot of the northeast corner you can clearly see the office partition walls with the glass at the top. I love the original IBM Clock. You can also see the ceiling grid which is custom to this building. The ceiling is original, however, the light fixtures have been modernized and sprinklers were added.

OK, so I was a bit obsessed with the clock. The ceiling is made of perforated panels, in which the air conditioning is distributed invisibly (when they are kept clean).

In this shot looking north, you can clearly see the corner offices on both sides, as well as get a good idea of how incredible the light in the space is. Floor to ceiling windows, on all four sides, with a clear column free span of more than 80 feet. (And yes, the clock came into play again.)

OK, now for a money shot. Northwest corner office overlooking the first Chicago/Bank One/Chase building.

Finally, we had to wrap it up. I took many more shots which I will bring you over the next week or so, my only regret was that I did not take the opportunity to go into the vintage restrooms to check them out. They will be upgraded soon, and I am sure quite modernized in order to attract tenants. I leave you with this parting shot of the other side of the transitional "bridge" between the office and mechanical tower looking south towards Monroe, as we left the 11th floor.