Thursday, January 08, 2015

For a Deep-Freeze Day, a Journey to the Rainbow

click images for larger view (Recommended)
That whole winter thing - the cold, the wind, the snow, the slush - OK,  I get it already.  Ça suffit!
What better time to take a quick trip to one of Chicago's architectural jewels, the award-winning David Woodhouse designed beach house at Rainbow Beach, project architect David Poorman, Nayyar and Navvay International, structural engineers.  The same team was also responsible for the larger field house just next door.
Begin with an incredible location,  at 75th Street, cupped into the lakefront at a point where the city and its shoreline has moved several miles east of their downtown boundary, creating a spectacular view of the Chicago skyline in the far distance.  Add the poetic use of the low-cost materials mandated by a constricted budget.  Plexiglas wafers aglow with light, a cross between rippled Pringles and the fronds of an abstracted palm tree, provides the shade.  The steel superstructure, painted a bright silver that glistens in the sun, forms trunks, colonnades, terraces and trellises.  The flourishes soften and extend the aggressive boxiness of the concrete block buildings to which they're attached.
These often commonplace elements are brought together through proportion and placement into an unusually satisfying whole.  That's good architecture.
Just looking at these pictures, I feel the warmth of the sand on my feet and the sun on my face.  I gaze out at the beautiful lake that has cast off its Ice Queen indifference, to refresh the heat of day with its cool, moist breezes.  I can see myself now getting through these next few brutal weeks because, at Rainbow Beach, in a great city at its summer best, life is sweet.

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