Sunday, February 10, 2008

A BRIEF WALKING TOUR OF THE LOOP (CIRCA FEBRUARY 2008)

It's "that time of year" here in Chicago, by which I mean that the weather is inducing a particular "climbing the walls" feeling. My apartment, car and cubicle feel like cages more now than ever. As an antidote I spent 3 1/2 hours walking around the Loop taking pictures yesterday. It felt good to get out and see what's what in my favorite built environment...so, let's take a walk, shall we?

That's Wabash Street...and it kicks so much ass. There are corners where one can still catch a glimpse of what Chicago was like back in the day. Here we look on Van Buren & Wabash with the CNA building on the right and the Trump Tower in the background. If you look closely you can see that the L tracks are in the process of being repainted a dark shade of maroon, which will look awesome once completed.

Gina's Cuisine is one of my old stomping grounds. When I was in school I often ate here (the gyros are the shizz) and befriended the owner, a small Greek woman named, not surprisingly, Gina.

The gray building on the left used to be red, but after the CNA insurance company sold it, they removed the distinctive red paint.

One day when walking home home class Wabash Street was closed off because one of the windows of the still red building popped out, and landed on a Mother walking down the street with her daughter. Amazingly the daughter survived unscathed, the Mother did not.

The Spertus Institute of Jewish Studies opened their new building last November, and I must say it's fucking awesome. It's located next to Columbia College's main building (on the right) and is quite a contrast to the masonry buildings it flanks. When I was in school, this was an empty lot strewn with garbage, needless to say it's quite an improvement.

I really wanted to checkout the 10th floor outdoor observatory, but the building was closed...maybe next time. Regardless, how cool is that glazing? Very!

Another proud addition to the Loop is the in progress "Modern Wing" at the Art Institute. Apparently they figured that they needed another 200,000 square feet, and Renzo Piano threw down this sick design. It might not look like much now, but it will in 2009.

When I was snapping pictures I saw a contractor doing the same and it made me think I really missed my calling. I'd like nothing more than to spend untold hours kicking about this site.

For some reason I became entranced with this crane (I'd rather not reveal how many pictures I took of it). Again, another calling missed...

I've been meaning to check out the "Popsicle" in Millennium Park and ws glad to have finally done so. I like the concept of an art display that slowly melts away...

The guys in the blue coats were obsessively applying some unknown substance, presumably to preserve the colored sheets of ice.

I'm in there somewhere!

The Bean looks even better in "winter" light. Note the cranes I so love in the background building the Modern Wing of the Art Institute.

The Trump. I have been reluctant to praise this building, as the thought of The Donald erecting a 90 floor tower in the heart of Chicago appalls me; having said that the more I see it, the more I like it.

It still pisses me off that the Trump obscures the view of the former IBM building, which was, and still is a true statement of post-modernism (and one of Ludwig Mies van der Rohe's milestones). I got your back Ludwig!

Still, I am amazed that these came out so sharp as my hands were shaking and raw from the cold. How I suffer for great architecture!

Guess I'll end it here. If you didn't know, now you know, Chicago is the SHIZZZ. Also, it's fucking freezing, and after my little adventure I am more than glad to hibernate within my apartment.

11 comments:

Frontier Psychiatrist said...

I think the Spertus Institute of Jewish Studies is too cool. I love it.

And I'm excited for the Art Institute's Modern Wing.

Chicago's Bi Guy said...

These are some amazing pictures. I really need to start taking advantage of living in Chicago.

Mike said...

Awesome pics... can't wait to go to the Blogger Summit this summer and see this stuff in person!

Silly Billy said...

Awesome pics. I need to do a day like that.

jeremy said...

the spertus institute is beautiful

Matt-CNS said...

cool, thanks for all this. Now I wanna see it all live.

JP Mac said...

I really miss living in a city after reading the post. I brought it up a little bit last night, but I am a little jealous of your walking tour.

dailybriefing said...

cool pics

- eliot

dan said...

am I gay, or when you say Chicago is the SHIZZ is it all right to think of the emerald city in Wicked? ha ha
later.

Dean Grey said...

I like the shot of Wabash and Van Buren.

I went to school a half block from there and walk down that intersection practically every day on my way to work

-Dean

Chaotic Gemini said...

You know this is probably my favorite thing to do. I will brave the damn cold just to see the buildings in the dingy winter grey, then come back in the bright sunny spring. Love the pics!