Gapers Block has ceased publication.

Gapers Block published from April 22, 2003 to Jan. 1, 2016. The site will remain up in archive form. Please visit Third Coast Review, a new site by several GB alumni.
 Thank you for your readership and contributions. 


Tuesday, April 23

Gapers Block

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amyc / October 1, 2003 12:34 PM

I'm a sucker for the Trib Tower. Newspaper buildings should look imposing and a little scary. Plus, who doesn't love a good flying buttress?

Cinnamon / October 1, 2003 1:33 PM

I'm a fan of the Rookery. Beautiful intricate detail-work and a staircase that makes me want to a wear poofy skirt so I can turn in a circle while staring straight up.

Andrew / October 1, 2003 1:53 PM

I have to admit a wee bit of admiration for Mies van der Rohe, though it has a lot to do with a paper I had to write on minimalist architecture. His own work is quite well done -- it's just that it inspired so many ugly, ugly boxes.

Brenda / October 1, 2003 1:54 PM

I love the Lyric building. Opera is theatre on a grand scale; the Lyric is theater on a grand scale. And that staircase... what a way to make an entrance!

Andrew / October 1, 2003 2:23 PM

Did you know the Lyric Opera Building is shaped like a throne? That's because the Sam Insull, the builder, wanted the West Loop to be the "seat" of arts in Chicago. (And supposedly because the architect had been spurned by New York, the throne faces west.)

Craig / October 1, 2003 2:47 PM

Unanimous my arse!

stephen / October 1, 2003 3:13 PM

I have to second the Trib tower and give a nod to the Wrigley building. And special points to the Thompson Center for looking like something out of anime. Like the Marina towers too, for their Jetsons-meets industrial wasteland creepiness. That's a hard gig to pull off. If I can fly my car in there I'm totally buying a condo.
And these Mies buildings are horrible to work in, btw.

WizOfOdds / October 1, 2003 3:20 PM

I'm not sure which buildings are my favorite, but I know I really like the CNA building, which I affectionately call, "Red Guy." For some reason, it just strikes me as very cute. He's just hanging out, all red. everybody else is black, or white, or gray. But somebody had to be red, and he volunteered. "I'm just Red Guy, I don't mind." The CNA building is adorable.

Andrew / October 1, 2003 3:33 PM

What makes Mies buildings lousy to work in? Or is it just the standard poor construction materials thing?

Kevin / October 1, 2003 4:07 PM

I'm a huge fan of "The Cock".

Something about that big black expanse of metal jutting into the clear blue sky is so appealing to me.

stephen / October 1, 2003 4:21 PM

Well, maybe the IBM building is different, but the ventilation in the one I work in is horrible. But its pretty much a poor materials thing. The windows are great, but they usually end up taunting those of us who have to work in these bloody things.

Phineas / October 1, 2003 4:39 PM

I really like the Lincoln Park Conservatory.

And can I point out, no matter how ugly Soldier Field may be deemed to be, it's a monument to the ages compared to the Sun-Times building. Ugliest. Building. Ever.

Benjy / October 1, 2003 5:50 PM

Fortunately, the Sun-Times building is soon coming down to be replaced by Donald Trump's next big project.

As for buildings I like, there are so many! The Carson Pirie Scott store on State St., the Wrigley Building, 321 N. LaSalle (traffic court & Bob Chinn's), pretty much anything by Frank Lloyd Wright...

darsella / October 1, 2003 11:53 PM

the wrigley building, after sunset, while sitting in the 2nd floor bar at the hyatt across the river, is breathtaking. the lighting is fabulous and the building is beautiful.

i also really love the lyric opera building and the riverside building directly across the river from it (built by the same guy). take the chicago architectural foundation's river tour. you'll see the city from a totally different perspective. and learn a few things. like....

the builders of the aon building (it was the amoco building back then) spent $1M per FLOOR to replace the marble exterior with something more weather-resistant. i can't recall what they chose, but they estimate that it was almost cheaper to trash the building and start over. i guess the original marble wasnt cut out for -40 degree winter weather.

then there's my office building. 311 s wacker. one of the few newer chicago buildings i like. it's the one with the crown on top and a real waterfall in the three story lobby. building rumor has it that the crown is really a heliport.

heather / October 2, 2003 9:22 AM

I have a particular fondness for the Fine Arts Building - it's a humble structure with an amazing 'secret' courtyard, rickety yet beautiful manual elevators, a delicately decaying concert space with art-deco paintings in the hallway, and a picnic porch (okay, more of a wide window ledge) with a perfect view of buckingham fountain.

added bonuses: Chicago's own Lorado Taft once had a studio on the top floor. and some architect guy was there between jobs...Frank Lloyd something....

Niki / October 2, 2003 2:40 PM

I like the Playboy building.
I can't really go more into detail, though, because my knowledge of architecture is ... "it looks pretty."

aimee / October 2, 2003 4:20 PM

The Carbide and Carbon building on Michigan- in the midst of being disasterously renovated into the Hard Rock Hotel.

susan / October 2, 2003 11:52 PM

Large parts of the University of Chicago campus, mainly those on the quads. NOT the new orange dorm.

Also, that church (Our Lady of Mt. Carmel?) on Belmont between Halsted and Broadway, as well as St. John Cantius at the Chicago stop on the Blue Line. Oh, and Quigley Seminary.

That's an awful lot of churches; I guess one never really gets away from one's Catholic education.

Craig / October 3, 2003 11:52 AM

Speaking of architecture... there's a great article in the Reader this week on the new Rem Koolhaas building on IIT's campus. The article also talks about Mies Van Der Rohe's original plans for IIT's campus-- really interesting and a good read, cheque it out! Anyone seen Koolhaas' new building in person yet?

Daisy / October 4, 2003 2:44 PM

The old Schlitz "globe bars" all around town are pretty cool. Housewise, Hoyne Street between North and Augusta is stunning - that is where they haven't torn the old homes down to build condos. Ugh. Condos.
What dumbfu*k decided that building a house out of concrete blocks is/was the way of the future? It's ruined the beauty of Chicago neighborhoods.

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