Monday, June 01, 2009

Children's Rises, Time Falls

Birth and death portrayed in two photographs from CAF docent Kathleen Carpenter.

First, this spectacular shot of the new, billion dollar Children's Memorial Hospital, now fast rising on Chicago Avenue just west of the recently completed Prentice Women's Hospital.
Second is this final portrait of the clock perch that stood above the entrance to the recently evicted Talbott's in Chicago Place, the pall mall now in the process of largely being converted into office space. For a brief optimistic moment at the time of the mall's 1990 opening, it was the roost of the proud, shimmering metallic bird that personified the space's first tenant, legendary Chicago jeweler, C.D. Peacock. In brutally short order, the store went bust, the bird disappeared, and it's pretty much been downhill from there.
And if you have any doubts about the whole tempus fugit thing, consider the buildings depicted in one of the murals (I wonder what will happen to them) at Chicago Place's entrance. Wrigley Building: owned by Mars. Tribune Tower: bankruptcy central. Sears Towers? Oh, you must be referring to the mighty Willis.
For those of you suffering withdrawal from being able to immerse yourself in the unsettling emptiness and disquieting silence of Chicago Place, may I offer up for your next Dead Mall fix, the Century? With its Landmark Cinemas at the top, it's like a tree house built upon the branches of a dead oak. Ramps descend past a succession of nowheres, all the way down to the basement, where abandoned metal bones are all that's left of the subterranean Eatzie's, done in by a witches' brew of overambition, bad location, mediocre food and fatal cuteness.

4 comments:

BWChicago said...

I always liked Chicago Place's architecture. Particularly the marble floor.

erik said...

Chicago Place suffered from following popular, temporal design trends from 1990 and never updating its look.

Anonymous said...

I believe the canyon-like vertical design of Chicago Place was its first and biggest flaw. I never enjoyed entering the huge automatic revolving door, being introduced into a space monopolized by Sunglass Hut, then ride endless escalators to find a Class B store I want to go to. The comparison to Century Mall is right on… another vertical space that is not user-friendly. I just wish the new Ritz-Carlson residences were constructed at the Chicago Place site instead of demolishing a “protected” building… that’s another topic….

Isaac said...

What is the roll of the vertical mall in a city like Chicago anyhow? Especially if it requires the construction of a parking garage structure nearby, like Century mall did? I enjoy density, but this seems to be more of a forced form than something organically required by the circumstance. Smaller, one or two story, street accessible, retail seem more appropriate in a lot of these locations.