Wednesday, April 11, 2007

1924 Lake Shore Athletic Club Being Railroaded to Extinction?

Chicago's preservation bureaucracy appears well on the way to greasing the skids for the demolition of the elegant 1924 Lake Shore Athletic Club, designed by architect Jarvis Hunt. Its classically inspired facade fronts a richly ornamented interior, including a handsome marble staircase, two-story foyer, and carved marble fireplace. See more pictures, and read about the building and the 11th-hour efforts to save it, here.

8 comments:

Anonymous said...

Natarus' gift should be approval of the Chicago Spire, not the continued destruction of the few remaining landmarks within the area.

It's unbelievable how Northwestern gets away with all of this - why haven't they been held accountable for all the destruction and poor planning in the neighborhood?

I'm also getting sick of this "it's not possible" to save the building. It's such a lame excuse, which is probably why simple-minded Natarus is willing to accept them.

Anonymous said...

Let's not forget that the 'famed' chicago archi-joke, Lucien Lagrange is reportedly the one to be responsible for creating a work of architecture that will look as if it has always been there. quoted from the sun-times:
"Lucien Lagrange will design the new building, Schachtman said. It will sit on a prime corner alongside Lake Michigan, between two towers designed by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe and Lagrange buildings that went up in the late 1990s.

"The intent is to build something that looks like it's always been there," Schachtman said. "

Also, Lagrange buildings? His office is responsible for the eye-sore directly south of the Lake Shore Athletic Club. What else has that firm done there?

In a mad dash to create a historicist garbage architecture of paris, Lagrange will compromise anything Chicago standing in his way. Look at the list of previous and current buildings he proposes to destroy in order to put up a mansard roof.

Anonymous said...

Chicago, the world-famous city of architecture in the last 15 yrs has architecturally created a high degree of mediocrity. Let's get into the 21st Century, forego the old stuff and use the new materials and technology, like China, that make a city a must see vacation destination. Chicago architecture, as of late is an embarrasement..shame- on Daley and Natarus and those that buy condos in these bldgs. Demand a higher level of quality and design as a taxpayer.

Anonymous said...

Fifield apparently requested a demolition permit for the Lake Shore Club Monday, April 16.

Residents of the area will have to endure 20 months plus demolition, air and noise pollution and traffic havoc— only to be blighted by another lackluster tower.
Northwestern apparently got the support of a few SOAR board members. It helps of course that Northwestern provides SOAR space for their office. And Northwestern tax exempt since 1851 again takes advantage of citizen tax payers. Instead of accepting an offer to turn the old club into a hotel, preserving the building and not turning the neighborhood into a construction nightmare, they go with Fifield. It's time they are held to a standard.
Where is the leadership in this community? Why do the developers always triumph?

Anonymous said...

Interesting that you mention the Farwell Building in conjunction with Lakeshore Athletic Club. In both cases, they were owned by nonprofits that paid virtually no taxes on these properties, while allowing them to decay. Now they want to gain maximum return on their sale, which means jacking up the heights of the replacement structures. Ahhhhh, Chicago.

Anonymous said...

I sure wish that developers and the city (Chicago) would leave all these classy old buildings like this one alone and move the new high rise development out futher into the west or south side where that area is FULL of rotting delapidated decaying buildings that just NEED to come down. It would make our downtown area larger size wise and it makes more sense to remove the eye sores that surround our downtown, instead of tearing down all the classy old structures of which Chicago was founded upon.

Chris said...

The athletic club would have made a great hotel. They have slacked on the upkeep but the level of disrepair is greatly exaggerated. There are a couple of ballrooms in there, an awesome swimming pool. A Basketball court,and cool old squash courts with bleachers. Northwestern screws the pooch once again. Their judgement is about as good as their basketball team.

Mary Margaret O'Connor said...

I spent the best part of my childhood in that building, and know all of it's charm and beauty. My father worked there, and unlike any other privately owned club, the families of the employees were allowed to participate in any and all functions/programs offered to members.

Many politicians have held news conferences there. The eloquence of the double marble staircase has provided a dramatic backdrop as a showcase for major political announcements. You would think the city's politicians would want to save it for this reason alone.

The previous Mayor Daley spent ALOT of time there, and his children were Aqua Kids. I'm surprised that the present Mayor doesn't step in to preserve it's rich history.

So, how can the average citizen be heard to stop it's demolition? I'm on board to help in every way possible.

If that building goes down, so will the spirit of my father, my childhood memories, and a structure that has always been a welcomed site, coming around the curve on LSD.