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It's an aquatic invasion. The Chicago Loop Alliance turned to St. Louis-based illustrator Noah MacMillan to create Float, a 2,500-square-foot mural wrapping around the corner of Holabird and Roche's 1915 Century Building at State and Adams. It's one of a number of major summer-time projects from the Alliance that includes The Gateway, a colorful seating area in the median of State Street between Wacker and Lake, and Block Thirty Seven, a Pop- Up Art Gallery in a never-occupied space in the lightly inhabited Block 37 shopping mall across from Macy's.
Float, which officially went on display earlier this week, depicts, in the words of the artist, “aquatic animals floating through a coral reef of Chicago” in a “surreal parade” that sees a great whale sliding past Alexander Calder's Flamingo, and an octopus stretching out its tentacles to the City/County Building. Do the clown fish and jelly fish represent the City Council?
back in 2008, when it was an eyesore of dilapidated scaffolding. The year after, the General Services Administration, which owns the building, took measures to ameliorate the squalor and has worked with the Loop Alliance to make it one of their Pop-Up galleries on a continuing basis. Last year at this time, the Century's mural space and first floor windows were a solid, bright red as part of the Alliance's Color Jam project, in which artist Jessica Stockholder turned the corners of the intersection, and even the street itself, red, green, orange and blue.
Federal Center complex. The feds now own the entire block, save Berghoff's.
4240 Architecture to rehab and retrofit three buildings on the block. The low structure at 18 West Jackson was rescued from its status of having one of ugliest facades in city. The former Bond's store on State also received a new, more open facade. Along the south side of Quincy Court, there's Alfred Alschuler's 1937 Benson Rixon store building at 230 South State, which, when new, was the epitome of style and elegance before a long descent that found McDonald's becoming the long-term anchor tenant.
|Photograph: Chicago History Museum|
Unfortunately, few of the report's recommendations, such as restoring the original ground floor windows, appear to have been followed.
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