Quote of the day: New rental high-rise designs are good enough

215 West Washington, 215 W Washington St, Chicago

This Lake Wobegon, all-the-buildings-are-above-average quality was predictable. These are apartment buildings, where budgets and architectural ambition tend to be considerably lower than corporate office buildings or condominium towers. If an apartment high-rise turns out not to wreak havoc on the cityscape and to give us some decent design in the bargain, then we have every reason to tolerate it. And that, with some notable exceptions, is what these buildings deliver.

– Tribune architecture critic Blair Kamin (who’s just happy to have something new to write about), reviewing two finished products in the Loop, 215 West (pictured) and 200 Squared.

The towers, both designed by architects at Solomon Cordwell Buenz, have “pleasingly vertical” proportions, a high ratio of glass to concrete, “tiresome” grid patterns, “garages on steroids,” and “skillfully done” interiors, says Kamin. In other words, they aren’t great, but they’ll do.

Rent ranges from $1,350 for studios to $5,000 for three-bedrooms at 215 West, and from $1,450 for studios to $2,750 for two-bedrooms at 200 Squared, Kamin reports.

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