Friday, January 11, 2019

January 11, 1970 -- Edward Durell Stone: Glass Buildings Have Run Their Course
January 11, 1970 – “Architecture is a permanent art and I do not personally associate permanence with the typical glass box so characteristic of office buildings today,” says architect Edward Durell Stone, in an interview with the Chicago Tribune.  He predicts “Glass and aluminum buildings are destined to early obsolescence.  His remarks come as plans are close to being revealed about a new building for Chicago, designed by Stone in collaboration with Perkins and Will Partnership.  There is speculation that the office building for Standard Oil Company, on land purchased from the Illinois Central Railroad and overlooking Grant Park, may rise as high as 80 stories.  “The glass box design for office buildings has run its course,” says Stone.  “and I personally prophesy that in the decade of the 1970s we will see something different.”  Claiming that windows have lost the purpose for which they were originally designed, the architect says, “They were used for ventilation and light, but now offices burn their lights all day.  Now windows are just vision panels.”  He favors a design that is half glass and half masonry, a combination he calls more practical and economical.  Stone also speaks of the wasted space that is created by hallways in commercial buildings.  He prefers an open plan he calls “landscape planning,” in which people and divisions of a company are separated by screens and furniture, rather than permanent walls. These ideas are very much in evidence in the building that would ultimately rise on a site just east of the Prudential building and north of Randolph Street.  Today known as the Aon Center the tower rises 1,136 feet or 83 floors and is faced in Mount Airy granite although it was originally clad in Italian marble.  The photo shows the Standard Oil Company's new tower under construction with its Carrara marble cladding nearly complete.

January 11, 1910 – A laborer is killed and ten other people are injured when a sidewalk fronting the Boston Store on State Street collapses at noon.  The forty square feet section of sidewalk collapses in front of a building being demolished to make room for an addition to the Boston store.  James Da Costa, a laborer working in the basement below the sidewalk, is killed when the flagstone sidewalk collapses.  Individuals on the sidewalk at the time drop ten feet into that basement.

January 11, 1901 -- Colonel Mott Hooten (you HAVE to love the name), the commanding officer at Fort Sheridan, speaking of recent congressional action ordering all canteens on military bases closed, says: "The abolishment of the canteen will . . . open the way for the post trader again, I fear, and the repetition of an experience of the most unsatisfactory character." The profits of the post canteen, which served beer, had equipped a gymnasium, furnished a library, and provided billiard tables and athletic equipment for soldiers at the fort with the added benefit of keeping everyone using the canteen under the watchful eyes of military authorities. In the adjoining town of Highwood, eight saloonkeepers rejoiced at the news while the town's citizens waited nervously for what was to come. One resident, the wife of a retired officer, said, "Soldiers will drink, whether there is liquor sold at a garrison or not. If they can't get beer at the post they will walk miles to buy whisky if necessary."

January 11, 1891 – With the prospect for the great world’s fair just two years away, the Chicago Daily Tribune editorializes once again about the Illinois Central railroad tracks along the lakefront, stating,  “The proposition that the Illinois Central tracks between Twenty-Second and Adams streets be depressed, so that the lake view may be unobstructed and that there may be free and safe access to the water’s edge all along the Lake-Front Park, is an admirable one, and should be carried out irrespective of whatever bearing it may have on the World’s Fair.”   [Chicago Daily Tribune, January 11, 1891]   The editorial board proposes a tunnel east of the present railroad right-of-way, the top of which would be level with the grade of Michigan Avenue so that “if deemed desirable a broad park boulevard may be laid out immediately above the tunnel.”  The editorial admits that such an engineering project could not be finished in time for the fair, and that buildings for the exposition could therefore not be built in this section of the lakefront.  However, the editorial states, “. . . during all except the first month or two of the Exposition the Lake-Front would be freed from every visible sign of railroad occupancy and the Art Building would be as accessible from the east as from the west.”  The 1894 photo above pretty clearly shows that the editorial didn't make much of an impression.

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