ChicagoDowntown / Loop

Quote of the day – usable rooftop surfaces fundamental to modernism

by Joe Zekas on 8/8/12

Several scaffolds and teams of workmen were hanging from Erie on the Park, 510 W Erie, last week.

The building, which was completed 10 years ago, was dubbed “Little John” by the Tribune’s Blair Kamin, who saw in it a resemblance to Big John, i.e. Chicago’s Hancock Building. I’ve seen both buildings many times and failed to note the similarity.

According to the developer’s website, “Erie on the Park is the first residential steel frame building to be built since Mies van der Rohe.” I have no idea what that sentence intends to claim.

According to the architect’s website, “The building possesses all the fundamental attributes of architectural modernism: revealed structure, glass curtain wall, recessed glass-clad lobby, usable rooftop surfaces, and geometric integrity.” I have a better grip on what that statement means, but was surprised to learn that “usable rooftop surfaces” are a fundamental attribute of architectural modernism. Who could have known?

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{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

SheridanB August 15, 2012 at 11:16 AM

There was a school of thought that believed in rooftop spaces – look at many 20′s/30′s modern houses which have them (Corb was a good example). I’d always thought that this was the first steel framed residential building in many years, but since Mies?

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Shaunti Althoff November 5, 2013 at 12:12 PM

I have managed Erie on the Park for 2.5 years and have yet to hear the “Little John” reference. The Sponge watertower has nothing to do with the usable rooftop terraces – the 15000sf of balconies and terraces are not pictured unfortunately.

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Joe Zekas November 5, 2013 at 2:36 PM

Note that I disagreed with Kamin on the “Little John” reference.

At the time of our post we didn’t have views of the roof available to us. We do now.

The first shot below was taken from a helicopter on 9/11/12 and the second from the roof of 500 W Superior on 7/15/13.

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