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Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Under the Layers


While driving on Ridge Avenue in Chicago over the weekend, I spotted this building. Look at it! We have a Spanish Revival gem hiding out under wooden siding and a coating of gray paint. I like how the owners painted the braided terra cotta finials white to make them stand out. Apparently, the building is in use by an automobile repair shop. Perhaps some day the owner will take off the siding and strip the paint to reveal the full glory of the building. For now, though, the building's soul still manages to whisper through the layers.

6 comments:

stlmark said...

OMG, a run down, abused building in Oz....uh, I mean Chicago. I thought Chicago's buildings were all clad in gold and filled with urbanists...I guess STL isn't so bad after all.

Katherine said...

I've been on Ridge but I don't know if I've noticed this one. Reminds me of the vacant building at the intersection of Grand & Milwaukee, which presumably was lovely many years ago but now looks like an ugly gray castle. Can buildings like that really be saved/restored? Would that really happen when so many ones in much better shape are getting torn down?

I'm trying to formulate a response to the previous comment, but I assume the poster knows there's all types of buildings here in all stages of use or non-use...and we see great ones that could be saved disappear all the time...

Matt Fernandez said...

"I assume the poster knows there's all types of buildings here in all stages of use or non-use...and we see great ones that could be saved disappear all the time..."

That's the point, Katherine. Some people in St. Louis, and many that have moved out, think that the streets of Chicago are paved with gold and that everything is perfect there. The bad still comes with the good in Chicago, even if there is more good due to relative size.

Doug Duckworth said...

Chicago neighborhoods, like Bronzeville, have seen extreme depopulation. People assume that Chicago is some urban mecca, but the same processes that negatively affected St. Louis did the same in Chicago. When you leave the more stable touristy areas that is evident.

Chris said...

Definitely, much of Chicago outside the north side is as devastated as your worst St. Louis neighborhood. Head out west or south inside the city, and some areas have 90% abandoned lot rates.

Also, on the north side, there has been an alarming rate of demolition of single family houses for the now ubiquitous 3 flat cinder block houses.

Doug Duckworth said...

Fuck cinder blocks. When I saw those I was thinking is this better than vinyl. It's really ridiculous, both are the bottom basement of building materials. But I suppose in our economy, class and architectural distinction are no longer a priority. Are these analogous to McMansions in the suburbs?