Soon when you need a good kosher knish downtown, you’ll know where to find it. The
Spertus Institute of Jewish Studies

in Chicago on South Michigan Avenue, overlooking Grant Park.
Our fearless architects

Ron Krueck (l) and Mark Sexton (r)

a facade like the facets of a diamond.

Some say it protrudes too far out from the historic steetwall. Especially since it’s in glass, rather than stone as the other buildings are on South Michigan Avenue.

The projections and the faceting give views up Michigan Avenue

Here’s what you see from a balcony on 10. Also on this floor – the Board Room and Sky Garden.

Above this, greatly pleasing the Mayor, a green roof.

The glass (American-made), has markings which purposely make it less than completely transparent.

Glass on the left, no glass on the right. I’m curious how transparent it will look when it’s finished, washed and the protective coating removed.

And the 400-seat theater space looks large and promising, a two story space.

The exhibition spaces will also feature a two story atrium, to connect the Museum’s Core Collection on 9 and the Changing Exhibition Galleries on 10. Plus space for Spertus College , the Asher Library, a children’s center, site-specific art and more. Plus, when you need a good

kosher knish downtown, you’ll know where to find it. (Though Wolfgang makes it a little different than they did in the shtetl.) A kosher cafe by Wolfgang Puck, on the second floor, overlooking the park at tree top level.

At night the building is supposed to emit ‘a warm glow.” Spertus literature says

“This emphasis on light echoes the Spertus logo, a falme accompanied by the biblical phrase yehi or, let there be light, symbolizing both physical light and the light of learning and truth.”

This new $55 million Spertus Institute of Jewish Studies is set to open on November 30, 2007. They’ll host a week-long public celebration with tours, music and more.

No full review of the building from me until it’s complete and occupied. But now you have today’s photos. I’m hungry, how about you?

Spertus President Howard Sulkin wanted a home for this multi-faceted institution that would be open, transparent and dynamic; and he’s getting it. He should be commended for building a downtown Jewish institution that projects not fear, but optimism, enlightenment, joy, culture and learning. The building also expresses assimilation. The glass should make everyone feel welcome, and through the glass all visitors will feel still connected to the city, to the park, to Michigan Avenue, to Soldier Field, Lake Michigan and the midwestern sky. It’s an intimate connection I felt today, looking from Spertus to the rest of my town. And I saw the city anew, from fresh angles, which is the mark of a great city, to be able to offer new perspectives, on itself, and on life.


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