Inland Steel... Part l... The Lobby...

Warning Architectural Porn to Follow!!!

As part of the Great Chicago Places and Spaces weekend, Michael and I got the privilege (meaning getting in line at 6:10 AM for the chance to get tickets) of touring one of the true gems of the mid-century modernist movement. Inland Steel was designed by Bruce Graham of SOM, in 1957. The tour was led by one of the new owners of the building, Harvey Camins, President & CEO, Camins Tomasz Kritt LLC, who, along with a group of investors which included architect Frank Gehry, purchased the building this past August. It is their intention to maintain the building with as much respect to its history as possible, which will include necessary upgrades, as well as restoration and cleaning of the facade and lobby.

It was with absolute glee (and goosebumps) that I got the chance to first see the building from close up next door at 1 S Dearborn, and then tour the former offices of Mittal Steel* on the 11th floor of the Inland Steel building where we got to look at original blue prints (when they were still blue) and several pictures and renderings from when it was built. I also got several shots of the surrounding view from Inland Steel, and we had the opportunity to see what I think is the cleanest underground garage in the world.

I took lots and lots of pictures, and will bring them to you in a few posts over the next week or so, so be patient. As I was sitting down to write this post, I realized that I didn't take many outside shots this morning, so I pulled this one from January.

For the first post of this series, I have a few shots of the lobby taken this morning as we were waiting for the tour to begin. The fountain by Richard Lippold was commissioned by the Inland Steel Co and installed in 1957. The metal wires and rods represented the vast network of Inland Steel's various manufacturing capacities. At night, the lighting is reflected off of the subtly moving water to create wonderful patterns on the ceiling.

This is one of the new plantings recently installed, a vast improvement over the tree in a stainless steel pot. I like this because it is very contemporary, yet completely in line with the mid century aspects of the lobby.

The guard station was done at a later time. The new owners are in the process of fabricating a new one designed in part by Frank Gehry.

To wrap up this post, we had the opportunity to go to the seventh floor next door at the new 1 South Dearborn, for views of the building close up. I will post more shots of views from Inland Steel in a later post.

Links to follow up posts:
Part II, The Offices
Part III, The Views
Part IV, Images from the Past
Part V, Parking

*Mittal Steel was what Inland Steel became after mergers, and which just moved next door to 1 S Dearborn after nearly fifty years at 30 W Monroe.


Anonymous wvallen said...

Your comprehensive coverage of this building is awesome. I look forward to the additional posts.

5/21/2006 11:04 AM  
Anonymous desi said...

Yes, this is good stuff. It's great to see that any rennovations to the building will be done by people who know it and respect it. Who are the current tenants now that Mittal has moved next door?

I'd also love to hear any impressions you had about the One South building, which is pretty spectacular in its own right.

5/21/2006 11:55 AM  

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