As described on the excellent Chicago-L.org website, the North & Clybourn station was designed in 1939 by Shaw, Naess and Murphy. It is the only subway station in the system to have a headhouse. All the others have ticketing in below-ground mezzanines.
The redesign kept the building but largely threw away the design. It's been Californiaized: dark textured brick getting flat, lighter replacements, windows, doors and lighting all redesigned. The original building had character -it just needed to be cleaned up and restored. The redesign is generic and banal.
Thanks to Landmarks Illinois, we've gotten some photo's of the original design in its later days, and we put them side to side with the new station, allowing you to make your own judgements. Just remember to add a little imagination to see it in your mind as it was originally, not as the CTA had allowed it to decay. And speculate what we might have had if Apple, instead of spending all that money replacing and throwing away the old brick, doors, and windows - repeat after me, the greenest building is the one that already exists - had used it instead to clean, repair and restore the original. (All older photo's courtesy Landmarks Illinois.)
click images for larger view
There was no need to replace the brick or--even worse--the beautiful polished black granite panels that wrapped the base of the building and the eastern curved wall.
These materials were in fine shape, although dirty and in need of tuckpointing. This was purely a "make it look like any other 2010 commercial buff-colored brick box" cosmetic job.
Well before the work began, we tried desperately to redirect the project (and save money), but the die had been cast by the California designers for the project--and CTA was unwilling to cross them. Thus, a very unique Art Moderne (1943) station building gets banalized. And, in this era of "sustainability," a lot of great and beautiful building materials were tossed away, unnecessarily, in the process.The CTA - and every other city agency - have recently announced that everything's now for sale to fill the gaping holes in all the budgets. They will be aggressively pursuing naming rights for every city asset they can persuade some advertiser to put up the cash to brand. This isn't necessarily a bad thing - I've already read someone suggest a UPS-sponsored Brown Line - but it's unlikely we'll find too many mores corporations as generous as Apple was at North & Clybourn. For renovations to come, we need to balance the need for cash against preserving Chicago's unique character and keeping it from coming just another generic could-be-anywhere shopping mall.