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ChicagoDowntown / Loop

The “silly thing” on the roof of Chestnut Place

Chestnut Place

The odd structure on the roof of Chestnut Place was, for a period of time, even more odd. From the Art Institute’s oral history of architect Ben Weese: Richard Haas, our second connection with him was to do the lobby of 850 N State, the Chestnut Place apartments. We asked him to paint the penthouse, ...

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Posted by Joe Zekas on June 26, 2014
ChicagoDowntown / Loop

What’s with the garage paint at Hubbard Place?

Hubbard Place

There’s been some speculation at SkyscraperPage about the colorful bands of paint on the east wall of the Hubbard Place parking garage. One commenter viewed it as “a way to spark some interest” in the building. Another cast it as “a creative use of an un-creative way to hide construction joints and tie holes!” My ...

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Posted by Joe Zekas on September 6, 2013
ChicagoDowntown / Loop

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

Elevator lobby 100 E Bellevue

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 ...

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Posted by Joe Zekas on May 28, 2013
ChicagoNorth Side

Do murals denote a depressed community?

Pullman murals

I have a bias about murals: I associate their creation with communities that have declined and are likely to remain in a state of decline. I see them as a classic “lipstick on a pig” move, and can’t think of a single Chicago neighborhood that’s spawned murals after it’s become healthy and stable. Because of ...

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Posted by Joe Zekas on July 14, 2011