Thursday, September 08, 2011

from Parking Garage to Museum of Broadcast Communications in just Eight Easy Lessons Years

To put it in perspective, construction on the 1161-foot-tall Trump Tower was started about the same time, and they managed to finish it over two years ago. The new home for the Museum of Broadcast Communications hasn't been so lucky.  This is what they started out with, way back in 2005 . . .
click images for larger view
. . . a rather forlorn-looking parking garage at the corner of Kinzie and State, which within a year or so, was supposed to be transformed into this . . .
. . . a sparkling, 70,000 square-foot, $21 million facility designed by Eckenhoff Saunders Architects in partnership with sustainable design architect Helen Kessler.  And for a while, things went swimmingly.  The steel frame for the new State Street facade went up later that year . . .
. . . and the following March, the glazing was mounted into the frame.  (See more pictures of this here.)
Then, a funny thing happened on the way to the Museum, in the person of  loon Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich promising $6 million for the the project, and then never coming through with the money. Fund-raising dried up.  So, shortly after the curtain wall went up, construction stopped, and the structure was left as an unfinished hulk.
At one point, the contractor, Pepper Construction, claimed there were $4.5 million in unpaid bills.  Then in 2010, Illinois governor Pat Quinn came through with the originally promised $6 million, and construction resumed.
  
In June of this year, there was a "Sneak Preview" of the new building, complete with a red carpet entrance of  Bozo and Svengoolie, and the hope is now to get the thing opened in time for the Museum's 25th anniversary next year.  We'll see.  But even now, especially on the Kinzie street side, it's a fairly handsome transformation.
 

4 comments:

Pete said...

So they actually retained the original parking garage structure, underneath? Pretty astounding, given Chicago's tear-it-down-and-build-from-scratch ethos.

QRBNST said...

@Pete: The original parking garage, was not built to be a parking garage, so the re-use made a lot of sense.

Anonymous said...

Lighting Design by Lightswitch Architectural

Anonymous said...

Architectural Wire Mesh facade by Wire By Design.