Friday, January 25, 2008

Preservation Chicago Unveils Chicago 7 '08 Monday, plus Tuesday Hearing on SOM Gunner's Mate Future

Chicago Seven, 2008 edition. Monday, January 28th, from 12:15 to 12:45 P.M., President Jonathan Fine and VP Mike Moran will unveil grass roots activist group Preservation Chicago's list of the city's most endangered historic places for 2008. According to organization's press release, "This year promises to be different indeed. Included among the list of threatened buildings and districts will be one unconventional entry that will virtually throw down the gauntlet and present a challenge to City Hall." The event will take place at the John Buck Lecture Hall, at the Chicago Architecture Foundation, 224 S. Michigan.

Gunner's Mate's Fate. Tuesday, January 29th, from 4:00 to 6:00 P.M., the U.S. Department of the Navy will hold a public hearing to "examine in-depth all viable, practical and feasible options for utilization, including but not limited to: reuse, lease, rehabilitation, preservation banking, mothballing, disassembly and movement off base, disposal, and/or demolition of Building 521," the 1954 Gunner's Mate School at Great Lakes Naval Station in North Chicago, the first project Bruce Graham designed at the beginning of his long career at Skidmore, Owings and Merrill.

A facility to train navy gunners, what appears to be a standard glass box from the exterior is actually a building in a building, with a large concrete core built within the exterior glass shell to provide classrooms and space in which to practice firing off the weaponry. SOM has come up with several options for finding new uses for the building, ranging from retention to partial demolition of the inner core, with new internal glass walls. Drawings and sections of four of those proposals can be seen on the Docomomo-Chicago.Midwest website here.

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