Archive for the ‘330 North Wabash’ Category

07/25/2007

Will they drill holes in that gorgeous, sacred travertine to mount the TV screens?

Wait a second.
If they plan large flat-panel TV screens in the lobby of 330 North Wabash, the former IBM Building by Mies van der Rohe, a great landmark,

will they drill holes in that gorgeous, sacred travertine to mount the screens?

If that’s the plan it must be stopped.

-E

Knees-knocking Mies mocking

07/24/2007

Look for more novelties in the New! Improved! lobby of the
former IBM Building, now 330 North Wabash (changes first revealed here.) It’s a great and stately work by modern master Mies; but, according to a source involved in the project, you’ll soon see in the lobby:

Large flat-screen TV’s
“for general entertainment!”

A new reception desk which will be “clean, simple and geometric with a copper base!”

And large urn planters with contemporary plantings! and several smaller ones.

Here are more photos of what’s been put in there recently,
Barcelona chairs, completely bronzed, cushions and all!


bronzed Mies day beds,


three put together as one


As you see, the new items are large and bright – as are the new elevator signs.


Sheesh. Lynn Becker has a nice take on it here (and on another “upgraded” building.)
And Lee Bey (the new executive director of the Chicago Central Area Committee) has a fabulous shot of “Donald vs. Mies” here. (Scroll down, all his photos are great.) But doesn’t his shot of Trump look Houston?

And is it that gaudy Trump bronziness that’s rubbing off on the designers of the lobby at 330 N. Wabash, the building formerly known as IBM?

-Edward


More about this here.

07/17/2007
The Mies van der Rohe Tower

How about the new management (and by extension, all of us) honor Mies and the heritage of his IBM building?
Since it’s being “re-branded” and re-named, rather than adopting the generic, ‘330 North Wabash,’ call it

The Mies van der Rohe Tower.


That’d be good for Chicago.

-E


(I know there was some talk of this, but the idea was dropped.)

07/17/2007

A Starck-designed hotel to go into Mies’ (former) IBM Building in Chicago?

Phillipe Starck’s firm in Paris confirms they are doing work at 330 North Wabash in Chicago. The former IBM building. A great work, with a great lobby, one of the last by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe. The design work for the New! Improved! lobby was started by S+arck Network, and then continued by Niedermaier of Chicago. DeStefano + Partners is also involved.

Yes, there is talk of a Starck-designed hotel to go in the building.

Through a glass, Starckly

I wasn’t (yet) allowed (by building security) to photograph the pieces. But here’s what it looks like through the glass.


The gentleman caller is sitting on three Mies daybeds, made into one, and bronzed; the cushions are hard, and gaudy. They’ve also bronzed some Barcelona chairs – the steel and the cushions, all bronzed!


The over-sized, overly bright and the wrong color light, elevator signs. So over-sized that they’re easy to photograph through the lobby glass. And gaudy.

I could not yet get close enough with my camera to photograph the inappropriate caulking in the corners of the travertine walls. Here’s one of many brightly-colored pyramid-shaped post-modern floral arrangements in the lobby

Nice photo, huh? Collage-like. Mies’ glass still creates works of art.

But is this style, “The New Gaudiness”contagious? Remember, Trump Tower Chicago is across the street. That green cylinder in the photo above is Trump’s parking ramp. We also find “The New Gaudiness” across from Mies’ Federal Center in the lobby of the tower called Dearborn Center by Ricardo Bofill and, once again, DeStefano + Partners. In that lobby you’ll find a gilded Winged Victory!


A gilded Winged Victory! A bronzed Mies daybed and by the elevators, bronzed Barcelona chairs! Are these supposed to make us feel successful? To me they say ‘nouveau riche.’

The IBM lobby was so classy, so dignified; and the IBM Corporation took such good care of it. Walking past it every day on the way to work at NPR-Chicago, which was nearby, across the river in the great Carbide-Carbon Building, (now a Hard Rock Hotel!) is how I came to love Mies. That lobby worked its magic on me. Different every day, at all times of day. Filled with light and air. Sumptuous materials divinely proportioned. That’s enough for me.

Later I’d have lunch with other architecture writers in the IBM cafeteria on the fourth or fifth floor. I called it the “poor man’s Four Seasons.”

A smart friend of mine, with impeccable design sense, who works in 330 North Wabash, swears he’s going to put a blindfold on the bust of Mies in the lobby, so the ol’ guy doesn’t have to look at what they’re doing to his Meisterwerk.

-E

I posted more on this building here. More photos too.

07/09/2007

Mies tongue-in-cheek?

In the lobby of the old IBM building you will now find bronzed Barelona chairs and bronzed Mies daybeds. DeStefano & Partners is “renovating” the lobby, but is it true, as I’m told, that Philippe Starck designed this lobby furniture? And that it’s his tongue-in-cheek take on Mies? And that the building is considering putting a hotel in there? That could also be designed by Starck.

Well, we know the building is running scared, now that many of its views up the river are blocked by the ever-rising Trump Tower. Many tenants are leaving IBM, which is now known as 330 North Wabash. The owners are also thinking of taking the building condo.

Okay. But in the long run they’d be better off honoring their heritage, rather than defacing it to supposedly make it more suitable to contemporary tastes.

The signs that tell which floors the elevators stop at have also been changed – the original pieces – beautiful and perfectly good – have been replaced by new signs that are too large, too gaudy and the wrong shade and tone. I hope they saved the originals.

Caulk has been placed in the famous Mies corners of the travertine, destroying his interesting connection and philosophically profound meeting of two planes.

In Mies’ buildings especially, the details are important and are a part of the whole.

At least a couple of the forward thinking design firms in the building have complained to the management about this misplaced “updating” of a masterwork.

Photos are on their way.

-E

Buildings and trees

02/15/2007

Yesterday was a glorious blue sky kind of day. I woke up to the view above, from my WC at the magical artist’s colony Ragdale.
I drove down that path to end my residency, about which I’ll write more.

Downtown I drove, a few of us architecture types were to gather at Mies’ IBM building for a meeting. Many of the views from IBM are blocked by the new Trump Chicago,

that’s it looming on the left, with crazy, glossy windows. With the views blocked, some law firms, architects and other businesses have moved out of IBM and much of it will probably go condo. Not all of course. Eg, Perkins+Will architects just renewed their lease there. As for IBM, they’re long gone and the owners have redubbed the place, 330 North Wabash.

The good news is, not all of IBM’s views are completely blocked by the new Trump Chicago. Here’s a view up the river, from a southeast IBM corner office.


From a south IBM window, looking straight down,

(since it’s not blocked by Mr. Trump) one can still feel the relationship Mies gave the building to water, and ice! Not unlike his early houses in Potsdam, the Farnsworth by the Fox River, the Lake Shore Drive apartments, the fountains by Seagram, etc.

Look a little northeast,

and you see the concrete Seventeenth Church of Christ, Scientist; by Harry Weese (1968).

Looking west from inside IBM,


Marina City
. Looks great! (What a city, Chicago!) And Bertand Goldberg, who did Marina, knew Mies in Germany at the Bauhaus. Here they are in exciting manner, side-by-side, risen tall.

Alas, Chicago Trump Tower looks worse than feared.


One architect at the meeting, saw it through the glass and muttered, “Vegas.” Another disagreed. She said the buildings in Vegas are better. I thought, “bad Houston.” The glass is cheap, thin and warbly. And the darn thing will still grow a heck of a lot taller.


Trump Chicago – a bad building – and Rem Koolhaas’ IIT Student Center – a good building — each make the Mies they stand next to ever more elegant.

No one ever accused Donald Trump of elegance. But cities need elegance to raise them up. Remember, as I realized again this morning, cities are where we’ve cut down the trees.

-Edward