My Wednesday bike ride took me in search of more work by architect Bertrand Goldberg, featured in my previous post. As I headed south on the lake front bike path toward downtown, the brilliant sunlight reflected off the lake as the few weekday bike riders zipped past me in their hurry to get…somewhere.
My ultimate goal was the campus of the Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT) and its Mies van der Rohe buildings. Along the way, I would stop at Prairie Avenue, and then another Bertrand Goldberg-designed housing complex. After six miles, I’d reached the Prairie Avenue Historic District, and stopped for a much-needed rest at The Spoke and Bird. Over iced coffee and a scone, I enjoyed the calm atmosphere of the coffee house, as I gazed out the window at a group of faux-19th-century apartment blocks with their not-too-authentic details, seeking to blend in with the neighborhood’s history.
I’ll write a future post on the Prairie Avenue district, whose star is the H.H. Richardson-design Glessner House, but I wanted to continue south on my bike.
Bertrand Goldberg’s Raymond Hilliard Homes, adjacent to Chicago’s Chinatown, were constructed 1963-1966. With two 16-story round towers for elderly housing, and two 18-story curved towers for low-income family housing, the complex contained 756 dwelling units. With rounded bays and windows similar to Goldberg’s River City (see previous post), the buildings cover a large complex that, unfortunately, is accessible only to residents. My photos had to be taken from outside thee perimeter fences. The buildings were certainly different from the many other public housing and mixed-use projects on the south side.
My final stop on my short journey to the near south side was the IIT campus, which I’d never visited. One of the largest collections of Mies van der Rohe-designed buildings in the world, IIT’s most famous building is Crown Hall (1956), which I stopped to admire and photograph.
Mies’ plan for the IIT campus was one of the largest projects he ever conceived and he developed it for twenty years. Today the campus contains 20 of his works, including the famous Crown Hall, which add up to be “the greatest concentration of Mies-designed buildings in the world.” – https://www.archdaily.com/59816/ad-classics-iit-master-plan-and-buildings-mies-van-der-rohe
That was my photographic outing, spanning about 100 years of architecture in Chicago. I returned home on the elevated train with my bike, squeezed among Chicago Cubs fans on their way to Wrigley Field for a ball game.