Monday, March 12, 2012

Impromptu Subversions of the Architectural Kind

click images for larger view
Booth Hansen's Joffrey Tower (aka MOMO), at State and Randolph, has always struck me as a bit slippery.  To be sure, there is some articulation in the center-bay notch, but with the White Chiclet embroidery of the cladding, you get the feeling that without that huge hole in the middle where the base meets the tower, your eyes would simply slide off the building as you try to take it in visually.

This is especially true on the four-story podium, retail on the bottom two floors, the Joffrey Ballet on the top.  It's flat, flat, flat, save for the pegs at the top of the first and third floors for securing banners.
What you see above is space with its original tenant Loehmann's.  The black color of the banners, loosely strung, clearly read as fabric ribbons hanging from the facade.
Now, Loehmann's has been replaced with sushi-bar Walgreens, and the banners have changed.  Wider, more taut and, despite blue tips, mostly white, they now seem an extension of the white cladding, fins emphasizing the vertical.  And, for a while at least, it's all topped off with a classical cornice consisting of temporary netting extending out from the fourth-floor roof.

The Hallidie Building, it's not, and the effect will be fleeting, but for the moment, in spite of itself, MOMO has gone a bit retro.

1 comment:

Jade Graham said...

you get the feeling that without that huge hole in the middle where the base meets the tower, your eyes would simply slide off the building as you try to take it in visually chicago banners