ChicagoDowntown / Loop

Images of domesticity and an architect’s beat-up mother-in-law

by Joe Zekas on 5/28/13

The elevator lobby at 100 East Bellevue immerses you in images of domestic bliss.

On the outside chance that you missed the message, the hand-painted murals continue into the elevator cabs and shout it at you.

Architecture buffs approaching the building will immediately recognize it as the work of Barancik Conte. The broad white verticals and bay windows were the firm’s signature and you can see it writ large at Eugenie Terrace, The ParkShore, 990 N Lake Shore Dr, 1212 N Lake Shore Dr, 1111 N Dearborn, 1000 and 1120 N LaSalle, to list a few.

Richard Barancik lived on the top floor of 100 East Bellevue, a perch that afforded him views and glimpses of much of his firm’s Chicago work. I don’t know whether the lobby and elevator murals existed at the time of Barancik’s tenure in the building, but a quote from architect John Macsai suggests he might have had an abiding interest in domestic peace:

… one of the largest egos among Chicago architects. In fact, I first heard the name Dick Barancik by reading it on the front page of the Tribune, back in the early 1950s. He made the front page of the Chicago Tribune by beating up his mother-in-law.

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