Saturday, November 04, 2006

Happy 150th Birthday Louis Sullivan - We've Burned Down Your Third Building This Year!


In January, it was the K.A.M. Pilgrim Baptist Church. Little more than a week ago, it was the 1887 Wirt Dexter Building. Today, an early morning blaze has made the George M. Harvey House the third Dankmar Adler and Louis Sullivan landmark to be destroyed by fire just this year. Architectural preservation in the city of Chicago has hit another new low. Does anyone here know how to play this game? Read all about it and see the sad pictures here.

8 comments:

Anonymous said...

The state of architectural preservation in Chicago is fine. This particular house had no historic, artistic or cultural significance other than the fact a well known architect's office pumped it out as one of it's many commisions. The idea that a group of people can impose their will on the property rights of others economic self interest is a slap in the face to the modern business spirit that built the city of Chicago and nursed it's infant modern architectural movement, of which sullivan was very much a part.

Lynn Becker said...

Thank you, Dr. Pangloss.

Edward said...

Great story. Well reasoned.

mendel said...

This is another sad loss, and certainly more suspect than the previous two fires this year.

But fires are accidents (presumably), and therefore the loss(es) should elicit sad regret, rather than righteous indignation.

Now the thoughtless wholesale demolition of Chicago's architectural history in the 50's-70's certainly warrants righteous indignation.

And thanks for the link to the new Nickel book. I loved They All Fall Down and will have this new book on my Christmas list.

Anonymous said...

While this house may not have as prominent as some of Sullivan's other work, the timing of the fire makes this a tragic incident that was presumably avoidable. Chicago really needs to get its act together and put some real teeth into their preservation efforts. It looks like the lot will be home to condos after all. That’s really sad…

Anonymous said...

Is there something to be learned here? Are the 3 Sullivan losses the foreshadowing of worse to come? What happens when Carson's vacates the State Street building? Do we allow renovation of the empty floors using open-flame blow torches? Do we allow vandals to break in at night? Or will it be the Auditorium Building next? We can not un-do what has been burned, but can we stop it from happening again?

Anonymous said...

Get a life. No one wants to preserve crap. Sullivan would have no use for preservation zealots.

edward andrew schatz said...

it is a shame, entirely. althought buildings do not last forever,; what will be left to us. row upon row of nameless, faceless, featureless and soulless boxes conscribed by general firms with an uncaring mind and careless hand? as many revel in the age of gardenless, slick and shiny condos and townhouses, the face of the past is removed and washed away. a reverance for the creative is wiped away and vomit out the purile monoliths.