Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Will They Ever Finish Gene Simmons' Tongue?

Am I just being impatient, or does it seem that the rehab of the Illinois Center plaza at 205 N. Michigan is taking longer than the Sistine Chapel? The proprietors, having decided that the Miesian complex of glass boxes is a bit too dark and sober, have made a huge, floating red canopy the centerpiece of their reconstruction. It's like Calder's Flamingo, but with legs reduced to toothpicks and the body flattened in a roller.

It probably didn't help the project, either cost or time-wise, to line the underside of the canopy with what appears to be paintings by Mark Rothko.

6 comments:

jack, in disgust, said said...

Do we know who is responsible for this? The whole intervention is so awkwardly done, it looks temporary...if only it was.

sideofwisdom said...

Speaking as someone who lives for wierd and brightly colored shapes--that thing is an abomination.

Anonymous said...

I wish they had spent their money making the east side of the building bird-safe. It is a particularly big killer of birds and that isn't going to change until they redo the windows.

Anonymous said...

I walk past this building every day. Whoever came up with this design should be shot.

I joke with my colleagues that the Trump Tower will be topped out before they finish this abomination. The funny thing is . . . Trump is actually in the race at this point.

Anonymous said...

Not only does it look goofy from the outside, it casts a red glow on the ceiling along the windows inside the building!

My cube overlooks this thing, and on sunny days it is absurdly bright.

Robert Salm said...

That entire complex, including the outdoor spaces, has an identity crisis, and the owners of that set of buildings are trying to create an identity they can market into a brand. One of the issues has been myriad owners and the numerous attempts to modernize the interior over the past few years. They finished a decent retrofit eight years ago of the entrance lobby but never quite finished a true renovation. Another problem is the complexity of the site--the part aboveground, part underground concourse over multiple streets, the multilevel connecting lobbies, the Metra connection and tracks three levels under it all. The canopy presents an interesting chicken and the egg dilemma: did the developer "suggest" the canopy's shape to the architects before or after the identity was created? Interior signage with the "wave" logo created months before the canopy was finished suggest the canopy design was created before the identity, but it was modified without full regard to the "wave".

It opened today, and it's much much better than the photos would indicate. Graphically speaking, there's not much you can do to counter the aging effects of charcoal and mud colored modernist buildings except to go full tilt; the red color might be garish, but it's the only color that goes with such dark hues and Chicago's winter weather which cast a gray shade over everything.