Chicago History Presentation - Prof. Vince Michael

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This wonderful presentation was given by Prof. Vince Michael to the students in "The Art of Crossing the Street - Artist as Citizen" class at the School of the Art Institute.

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Chicago History Presentation - Prof. Vince Michael

  1. 1. Chicago’s Preservation History Planning, Building, Breaking, Rebuilding Vincent L. Michael School of the Art Institute
  2. 2. Instant City • Platted by the I & M Canal Commission in 1830 when it was a frontier outpost, Chicago grew more rapidly than any other city in the 19th century. • 1833 - 400 people • 1837 - 4,000 people • 1848 - 20,000 • 1860 - 100,000 • 1870 - 300,000
  3. 3. Innovation: Balloon Frame • The incredibly rapid growth of the city led to its first architectural innovation, the balloon frame, 1833. • Michigan and Wisconsin were deforested to build Chicago. • The city was built of kindling.
  4. 4. A Tradition of Destruction • Chicago was unencumbered by tradition and dedicated to making money; there were few cultural pretensions and no concept of preservation. • When the city burned down in 1871, it simply started over. Demolition and destruction were a central part of the city’s identity.
  5. 5. Phoenix • The Fire inspired a generation of architects to come to Chicago, knowing it would be rebuilt. • Initially it was rebuilt as a 4-5 story Italianate city, after 1874 of masonry.
  6. 6. 1870s Chicago • Cottages and rowhouses followed the popular styles of the period, notably the Italianate.
  7. 7. American Architecture, 1880s • H.H. Richardson • Louis Sullivan • Frank Lloyd Wright
  8. 8. Chicago School Skyscrapers • Rising land prices in the small Loop helped develop the first true skeletal-steel frame skyscrapers in the 1880s. • This was the first worldwide architectural innovation.
  9. 9. Chicago School Skyscrapers • Auditorium, 1886-1889 • Reliance, 1890-94 • Rookery, 1885-87
  10. 10. World’s Columbian Exposition, 1893 The origins of the City Beautiful: style, but above all, planning
  11. 11. Prairie School, 1900-1917
  12. 12. Prairie School, 1900-1917
  13. 13. 1903: first failed attempt at preservation • Enthusiasts in front of 1833 Green Tree Tavern, city’s first hotel built at Canal and Lake Streets by J.L. Kinzie; later moved to Milwaukee Avenue. • George Ade described it in 1890s as only building an officer from Fort Dearborn would recognize. • Demolished.
  14. 14. The Water Tower • A symbol of the city’s survival after the Great Fire of 1871, the Water Tower became obsolete in 1906 and needed to be saved. • It was almost demolished again in 1918 during the construction of Michigan Avenue. • And again in 1948.
  15. 15. The Fine Arts Building/Museum of Science and Industry • Only building to survive World’s Columbian Exposition of 1893, used as the Field Museum for 25 years, fell into disrepair. • The AIA held a banquet in its rotunda in 1925, the same year the South Parks board voted to demolish it.
  16. 16. Museum of Science and Industry • Julius Rosenwald spent $7 million to make the old Fine Arts Building a science and technology museum based on Deutsches Museum, Munich and Technisches Museum, Vienna. • The entire plaster exterior was rebuilt in limestone and opened in 1933 for the World’s Fair.
  17. 17. 1957: Robie House • In 1957 the Chicago Theological Seminary decided to tear down Robie House, which was being used as a dormitory. • Wright himself argued for its preservation and a local developer saved the house, which was less than 50 years old at the time.
  18. 18. Losing Louis Sullivan: The Garrick Theater battle, 1961 • Photographer Richard Nickel had been photographing and salvaging Louis Sullivan’s buildings as they were demolished in the 1950s and 1960s. • When Sullivan’s tallest building, the Garrick (Schiller) Theater was threatened in 1961, Nickel organized a protest.
  19. 19. Garrick Theatre, 1961 • Architects from all over the world join Nickel’s protest to no avail. • Chicago Heritage Committee formed • 1957 Landmark status powerless, theater building demolished for a parking garage, with a concrete face based on a piece of the original ornament.
  20. 20. Garrick 35 years later • 1998 - parking garage demolished for a theater.
  21. 21. 1960s: Demolition of Chicago School skyscrapers • Republic Building (1905 and 1909, Holabird & Roche) - 19-story building demolished for a 15-story building, 1961. • Cable Building (Holabird & Roche), demolished 1961.
  22. 22. A Rare Save: Glessner House 1966 • Chicago School of Architecture Foundation formed to save house, buy from industrial user. • Starts architectural tours to raise money to save and restore Richardson’s surviving Chicago building.
  23. 23. Prairie School landmarks lost • Francis Apartments (Frank Lloyd Wright, 1895), landmarked 1957, demolished 1967 • Edison Shop (Purcell, Feick & Elmslie, 1912) landmarked 1957 as “a place of dignity and beauty,” demolished 1967.
  24. 24. Adler & Sullivan’s Auditorium Building • The Auditorium Building (1889) survived largely because it was too massive to demolish. The Auditorium Theatre Council saved the theater itself in 1967.
  25. 25. Landmarks Law, 1968 • Commission on Chicago Historical and Architectural Landmarks formed under law that can protect buildings. • Designation begin about 1970.
  26. 26. Early Landmark Designations

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