Archive for the ‘Dexter’ Category

10/31/2006

Black Smoke. A week ago. My photos, from the roof of Navy Pier, where I work, of the Sullivan fire.


And I turned around, and saw… see next post.

-Edward

10/31/2006

Black Smoke. A week ago. My photos, from the roof of Navy Pier, where I work, of the Sullivan fire.


And I turned around, and saw… see next post.

-Edward

10/29/2006

Chicago. Building Butcher to the World.

The city still doesn’t get it. When a Sullivan burns, you don’t just tear down the remains.

You get specialists. They preserve as much as they can of the original. And there’s a lot to Wirt Dexter that could be preserved. You restore and then you replace what you must.

Then you have an interesting city. You have what’s important from your past. A part of you, the best part of you, remains.

If you’re into money, you can even make money this way. If we had all 100+ Sullivans that comprise our legacy, and that I believe belong to all Chicagoans, then we’d have a lot more tourists coming to Chicago and spending money.

But that’s not the reason to save them. The reason is because they are the best we can do. Louis Sullivan is the best we can be. We need that role model.

If you have to call my right to having these preserved a human right, then so be it. Let’s add to the list of human rights (already rather corrupt?), beauty, and truth. If that’s what it takes to get people to see and to value and to cherish.

I’ll try to come up with a manifesto! Any thoughts?

-Edoardo

10/29/2006

Chicago. Building Butcher to the World.

The city still doesn’t get it. When a Sullivan burns, you don’t just tear down the remains.

You get specialists. They preserve as much as they can of the original. And there’s a lot to Wirt Dexter that could be preserved. You restore and then you replace what you must.

Then you have an interesting city. You have what’s important from your past. A part of you, the best part of you, remains.

If you’re into money, you can even make money this way. If we had all 100+ Sullivans that comprise our legacy, and that I believe belong to all Chicagoans, then we’d have a lot more tourists coming to Chicago and spending money.

But that’s not the reason to save them. The reason is because they are the best we can do. Louis Sullivan is the best we can be. We need that role model.

If you have to call my right to having these preserved a human right, then so be it. Let’s add to the list of human rights (already rather corrupt?), beauty, and truth. If that’s what it takes to get people to see and to value and to cherish.

I’ll try to come up with a manifesto! Any thoughts?

-Edoardo

10/25/2006


More on the loss of a work by a great artist.

Let’s say your city owns a painting by Rembrandt and it hangs in City Hall. It’s a minor Rembrandt; but nonetheless a work by the master. Let’s say it needs cleaning. And the city authorities look in the yellow pages, and find people willing to do the job. They’re cheap, they’re not necessarily the best at what they do, but they’re allowed to do the work. The city offers no particular oversight for what you might think is a very special job. And the people hired, ruin the painting. Destroy it. Wouldn’t you be appalled? Wouldn’t the local papers run with the story?

My point is that Louis Sullivan is about Rembrandt’s equal, and we in Chicago have allowed two Sullivan structures to burn this year. K.A.M Pilgrim Baptist Church (below) was a great, unique, historical building full of irreplacable spirit.

The Wirt Dexter building was important, and helped one understand how skyscrapers came to be.

The Chicago Tribune reports about yesterday’s fire at the Dexter Building,,

Salvage crew may have caused fire
October 25, 2006
The careless use of cutting torches by a scrap-metal salvage crew is the probable cause of the extra-alarm fire Tuesday that continues to disrupt the South Loop area, a fire official said today.

Fire Department spokesman Larry Langford said the building’s owner told him the crew was using acetylene-oxygen cutting torches before the fire that gutted the Wirt Dexter Building at 630 S. Wabash Ave.

“If they’re cutting pipes and stuff, there’s generally enough heat to get insulation or structural components burning,” Langford said.

Investigators saw evidence of torches, acetylene tanks and hoses in the building, he said.

Tuesday’s blaze, which sent towering clouds high above Chicago’s skyline, left little of the historic structure designed by Louis Sullivan, the celebrated father of modern architecture.

“Basically, what we have is free-standing walls,” Fire Commissioner Raymond Orozco said at a press conference near the site this morning. The building must be knocked down to get at the remainder of the fire, which is continuing to smolder, he said.

“It’s going to burn for quite a while. It’s a deep-seated fire, and it’s into the floors.”

Are we crazy? We must protect the other architectural monuments that our ancestors capably built and entrusted to us.

-E

Photo of Wirt Dexter Building; courtesy Commission on Chicago Landmarks
Photo of the building burning from the Chicago Tribune

10/25/2006


More on the loss of a work by a great artist.

Let’s say your city owns a painting by Rembrandt and it hangs in City Hall. It’s a minor Rembrandt; but nonetheless a work by the master. Let’s say it needs cleaning. And the city authorities look in the yellow pages, and find people willing to do the job. They’re cheap, they’re not necessarily the best at what they do, but they’re allowed to do the work. The city offers no particular oversight for what you might think is a very special job. And the people hired, ruin the painting. Destroy it. Wouldn’t you be appalled? Wouldn’t the local papers run with the story?

My point is that Louis Sullivan is about Rembrandt’s equal, and we in Chicago have allowed two Sullivan structures to burn this year. K.A.M Pilgrim Baptist Church (below) was a great, unique, historical building full of irreplacable spirit.

The Wirt Dexter building was important, and helped one understand how skyscrapers came to be.

The Chicago Tribune reports about yesterday’s fire at the Dexter Building,,

Salvage crew may have caused fire
October 25, 2006
The careless use of cutting torches by a scrap-metal salvage crew is the probable cause of the extra-alarm fire Tuesday that continues to disrupt the South Loop area, a fire official said today.

Fire Department spokesman Larry Langford said the building’s owner told him the crew was using acetylene-oxygen cutting torches before the fire that gutted the Wirt Dexter Building at 630 S. Wabash Ave.

“If they’re cutting pipes and stuff, there’s generally enough heat to get insulation or structural components burning,” Langford said.

Investigators saw evidence of torches, acetylene tanks and hoses in the building, he said.

Tuesday’s blaze, which sent towering clouds high above Chicago’s skyline, left little of the historic structure designed by Louis Sullivan, the celebrated father of modern architecture.

“Basically, what we have is free-standing walls,” Fire Commissioner Raymond Orozco said at a press conference near the site this morning. The building must be knocked down to get at the remainder of the fire, which is continuing to smolder, he said.

“It’s going to burn for quite a while. It’s a deep-seated fire, and it’s into the floors.”

Are we crazy? We must protect the other architectural monuments that our ancestors capably built and entrusted to us.

-E

Photo of Wirt Dexter Building; courtesy Commission on Chicago Landmarks
Photo of the building burning from the Chicago Tribune

10/25/2006

Why Johnny doesn’t know the art of architecture.

A building designed by Adler and Sullivan burns.

And the Chicago Sun-Times, to appeal to whom(?) captions its photo of the building burning:
“The former George Diamond Steakhouse on Wabash Ave. burns Tuesday.”

Not, “Another Louis Sullivan landmark burns!”

Or even, “We fail to protect another Louis Sullivan landmark, another part of the great legacy of this city, and it burns.” Okay, I guess that’d be a little too long for a headline. (smile.)

And I suppose the Sun-Times headline does get right to what’s most important – the all important “News You Can Use” headline: “Fire stops service on Green, Orange lines”

The story, written “from STNG (Sun-Times News Group) wire reports” never mentions that Sullivan dude!

After at least five paragraphs on how public transit will be affected (for fewer than 24 hours,) the second to the last line of the story says: “The structure, built in 1887, is the Dexter Building, designated as a Chicago Landmark in 1996, according to the Web site for the City Department of Planning and Development, Landmarks Division.”

Oh!

But apparently the name “Louis Sullivan” (is that his name? 🙂 ) on that webpage didn’t mean enough to the writer and/or editor to include it in the story.

(The Chicago Tribune story has it in their lede: “For the second time in nine months, flames have gutted a historic Chicago structure designed by Louis Sullivan, the celebrated father of modern architecture. … Earlier this year, which marks the 150th anniversary of Sullivan’s birth, Pilgrim Baptist Church, considered one of Sullivan’s masterpieces, lost all but a few walls to fire.”)

That’s better. Sorry for my tone but I get upset when we lose these beauties. And it brings back the wanton destruction of Sullivan masterpieces carried out in this city in former times.

By the way, the Sun-Times page does link to an NBC5.com video labelled ‘Landmark burns.’
It starts with an ad, for some old Egyptian guy named King Tut – ever hear of him? After the ad, the audio wouldn’t play. Maybe NBC5 tells you the building was by one of the greatest architects ever, maybe they don’t.

Does it matter anymore? Let’s make it our little secret. Just between you and me, and Vince.

Vince Michael saw the smoke from the fire today too:

What makes it all so terrible is how much Sullivan was torn down in the 1950s and 1960s – the Garrick and the Stock Exchange being the most significant, both replaced by guileless dreck. Beyond were all the great little neighborhood buildings – a dozen on the south side, others north and west. Sullivan was Chicago’s great innovator, a romantic and a master who made buildings into the kind of material poetry that it will take our digital friends another generation to even approximate. He fathered Frank Lloyd Wright and in a sense, the entire 20th century, not just in America but across the world. Gropius, Aalto and Saarinen and even the painter Le Corbusier are not possible without him.

-Edward

UPDATE: Why the separation? This morning’s Sun-Times updates the story. Their architecture critic evens utters the name, Louis Sullivan. With a short sidebar story of six paragraphs (one for each story of the Dexter Building!) In it we learn that,

The cast-iron and masonry structure was one of the few remaining local buildings by the legendary Chicago firm of Dankmar Adler and Louis Sullivan, whose legacy was damaged earlier this year by a fire at Pilgrim Baptist Church.

Simplicity made it important
Built in 1887 and designated a city landmark in 1996, the six-story Dexter building was also an important forerunner of the Adler & Sullivan skyscrapers that followed.

“Although it’s very simple, and people don’t notice it, the building’s simplicity is what makes it important,” said Chicago cultural historian Tim Samuelson. “Its directness, its use of materials, and the way its grid carries the masonry are very important in the chronology of Adler & Sullivan, leading to their skyscraper designs of the 1890s.”

However – still in today’s Sun-Times, in the lead news story on the fire, why does the writer tell us that “A piece of Chicago’s architectural history went up in flames” but never tell us that Adler and Sullivan designed the cursed thing? Why is “art” relegated to the “arts writer” rather than incorporated into the lives of the citizenry and therefore of their newspaper? The Sun-Times has added to its story from last night, by telling us a good bit on how the fire may reroute some automobile traffic this morning. I’m sure people will be upset by that. But an Adler and Sullivan burning, in Chicago – where this is our legacy – doesn’t mean much? The names don’t mean enough to appear in a newspaper’s main story on what happened?

Helps you understand how they could tear down beautiful Sullivan structures not long ago. More on that soon.

Haven’t they even read “The Devil in the White City?” Lol. But many people did learn of Louis Sullivan there.

10/25/2006

Why Johnny doesn’t know the art of architecture.

A building designed by Adler and Sullivan burns.

And the Chicago Sun-Times, to appeal to whom(?) captions its photo of the building burning:
“The former George Diamond Steakhouse on Wabash Ave. burns Tuesday.”

Not, “Another Louis Sullivan landmark burns!”

Or even, “We fail to protect another Louis Sullivan landmark, another part of the great legacy of this city, and it burns.” Okay, I guess that’d be a little too long for a headline. (smile.)

And I suppose the Sun-Times headline does get right to what’s most important – the all important “News You Can Use” headline: “Fire stops service on Green, Orange lines”

The story, written “from STNG (Sun-Times News Group) wire reports” never mentions that Sullivan dude!

After at least five paragraphs on how public transit will be affected (for fewer than 24 hours,) the second to the last line of the story says: “The structure, built in 1887, is the Dexter Building, designated as a Chicago Landmark in 1996, according to the Web site for the City Department of Planning and Development, Landmarks Division.”

Oh!

But apparently the name “Louis Sullivan” (is that his name? 🙂 ) on that webpage didn’t mean enough to the writer and/or editor to include it in the story.

(The Chicago Tribune story has it in their lede: “For the second time in nine months, flames have gutted a historic Chicago structure designed by Louis Sullivan, the celebrated father of modern architecture. … Earlier this year, which marks the 150th anniversary of Sullivan’s birth, Pilgrim Baptist Church, considered one of Sullivan’s masterpieces, lost all but a few walls to fire.”)

That’s better. Sorry for my tone but I get upset when we lose these beauties. And it brings back the wanton destruction of Sullivan masterpieces carried out in this city in former times.

By the way, the Sun-Times page does link to an NBC5.com video labelled ‘Landmark burns.’
It starts with an ad, for some old Egyptian guy named King Tut – ever hear of him? After the ad, the audio wouldn’t play. Maybe NBC5 tells you the building was by one of the greatest architects ever, maybe they don’t.

Does it matter anymore? Let’s make it our little secret. Just between you and me, and Vince.

Vince Michael saw the smoke from the fire today too:

What makes it all so terrible is how much Sullivan was torn down in the 1950s and 1960s – the Garrick and the Stock Exchange being the most significant, both replaced by guileless dreck. Beyond were all the great little neighborhood buildings – a dozen on the south side, others north and west. Sullivan was Chicago’s great innovator, a romantic and a master who made buildings into the kind of material poetry that it will take our digital friends another generation to even approximate. He fathered Frank Lloyd Wright and in a sense, the entire 20th century, not just in America but across the world. Gropius, Aalto and Saarinen and even the painter Le Corbusier are not possible without him.

-Edward

UPDATE: Why the separation? This morning’s Sun-Times updates the story. Their architecture critic evens utters the name, Louis Sullivan. With a short sidebar story of six paragraphs (one for each story of the Dexter Building!) In it we learn that,

The cast-iron and masonry structure was one of the few remaining local buildings by the legendary Chicago firm of Dankmar Adler and Louis Sullivan, whose legacy was damaged earlier this year by a fire at Pilgrim Baptist Church.

Simplicity made it important
Built in 1887 and designated a city landmark in 1996, the six-story Dexter building was also an important forerunner of the Adler & Sullivan skyscrapers that followed.

“Although it’s very simple, and people don’t notice it, the building’s simplicity is what makes it important,” said Chicago cultural historian Tim Samuelson. “Its directness, its use of materials, and the way its grid carries the masonry are very important in the chronology of Adler & Sullivan, leading to their skyscraper designs of the 1890s.”

However – still in today’s Sun-Times, in the lead news story on the fire, why does the writer tell us that “A piece of Chicago’s architectural history went up in flames” but never tell us that Adler and Sullivan designed the cursed thing? Why is “art” relegated to the “arts writer” rather than incorporated into the lives of the citizenry and therefore of their newspaper? The Sun-Times has added to its story from last night, by telling us a good bit on how the fire may reroute some automobile traffic this morning. I’m sure people will be upset by that. But an Adler and Sullivan burning, in Chicago – where this is our legacy – doesn’t mean much? The names don’t mean enough to appear in a newspaper’s main story on what happened?

Helps you understand how they could tear down beautiful Sullivan structures not long ago. More on that soon.

Haven’t they even read “The Devil in the White City?” Lol. But many people did learn of Louis Sullivan there.

10/24/2006


Another Louis Sullivan on fire!

From our roof here on Navy Pier I see black smoke. Billowing, and lots of it. A building is on fire in the south loop. Seems to be near the neighborhood where the Great Chicago Fire started!

As this is Chicago, one must hope it ain’t a landmark.

My colleague makes a call and we learn – it is a Louis Sullivan building. 630 South Wabash. The Dexter Building.

Poor Louis! What a year or so. Two of his cottages destroyed by Katrina. Then Pilgrim Baptist Church. Now this.

Ah, Louis. Love ya.

-Edward

Later I’ll post a photo or two of the black smoke over the city.

The fire may have been limited to the fifth and sixth floors. I’m told it has been contained. Some 225 firefighters and 40 pieces of equipment battle the blaze.

I need to write an opera on the tragic life and legacy of Louis Sullivan.

The fire broke out a little before 3 p.m. in the basement of 630 S. Wabash Ave. The fire department’s response rose through several alarms and at about 4:45 p.m. was upgraded to a 4-11 alarm fire, which means 145 firefighters, at least 16 engines and 10 trucks were sent to the scene…

Chicagoans will remember the George Diamond Steak House was in that building until a few years ago. Photo from Atelier Teee’s flikr stream (with lots of nice photos of Sullivan buildings and ornament.)
Over at the online tourist guidebook http://www.planet99.com. their entry on the steakhouse doesn’t even mention that patrons also got the thrill of dining in an Adler and Sullivan building. But it does feature this comment posted on 04/02/2003 by ‘anonymous.’

“It’s absolutely the most dirty, disgusting place on earth! You would be safer eating from the bottom of a Portable Toilet on a hot summers day. The current owner has not now, nor has ever had any relation to the Original George Diamond Steak Houses. It was purchased in an auction. And it serves as a tribute to just what a few bucks to a health inspector can get you in Chicago.”

! More fodder for the opera.
-Edward

10/24/2006


Another Louis Sullivan on fire!

From our roof here on Navy Pier I see black smoke. Billowing, and lots of it. A building is on fire in the south loop. Seems to be near the neighborhood where the Great Chicago Fire started!

As this is Chicago, one must hope it ain’t a landmark.

My colleague makes a call and we learn – it is a Louis Sullivan building. 630 South Wabash. The Dexter Building.

Poor Louis! What a year or so. Two of his cottages destroyed by Katrina. Then Pilgrim Baptist Church. Now this.

Ah, Louis. Love ya.

-Edward

Later I’ll post a photo or two of the black smoke over the city.

The fire may have been limited to the fifth and sixth floors. I’m told it has been contained. Some 225 firefighters and 40 pieces of equipment battle the blaze.

I need to write an opera on the tragic life and legacy of Louis Sullivan.

The fire broke out a little before 3 p.m. in the basement of 630 S. Wabash Ave. The fire department’s response rose through several alarms and at about 4:45 p.m. was upgraded to a 4-11 alarm fire, which means 145 firefighters, at least 16 engines and 10 trucks were sent to the scene…

Chicagoans will remember the George Diamond Steak House was in that building until a few years ago. Photo from Atelier Teee’s flikr stream (with lots of nice photos of Sullivan buildings and ornament.)
Over at the online tourist guidebook http://www.planet99.com. their entry on the steakhouse doesn’t even mention that patrons also got the thrill of dining in an Adler and Sullivan building. But it does feature this comment posted on 04/02/2003 by ‘anonymous.’

“It’s absolutely the most dirty, disgusting place on earth! You would be safer eating from the bottom of a Portable Toilet on a hot summers day. The current owner has not now, nor has ever had any relation to the Original George Diamond Steak Houses. It was purchased in an auction. And it serves as a tribute to just what a few bucks to a health inspector can get you in Chicago.”

! More fodder for the opera.
-Edward