Preservation Chicago’s 2017 “Chicago 7” Most Endangered List

Eric Allix Rogers 3 comments

2042 W. Madison [Eric Allix Rogers/Chicago Patterns]

2042 W. Madison [Eric Allix Rogers/Chicago Patterns]

Preservation Chicago announced this year’s “Chicago 7” list of most endangered buildings in a press conference today at the Chicago Architecture Foundation. The list is intended to draw attention to the most significant threatened buildings in Chicago each year.

St. Boniface [Eric Allix Rogers/Chicago Patterns]

St. Boniface [Eric Allix Rogers/Chicago Patterns]

Released annually since 2003, the list has led to numerous hard-won preservation successes. Both St. Boniface church and the New York Life Building, included in the inaugural list and several others since, have recently been in the news after efforts to save them ultimately succeeded. Other listed buildings remain in limbo or have gone on to be demolished, but not without a fight.

Continue reading »

Edgar Miller, the Designer

Eric Allix Rogers Leave a comment

Glasner Studio [Eric Allix Rogers/Chicago Patterns]

Imagine a neighborhood near downtown Chicago. The buildings are solid, high quality, “Old World” craftsmanship – but they’re also getting shabby and worn.

Now imagine that you’re the young scion of a wealthy family with a successful business. You dropped out of art school and went to Paris to find yourself for a couple of years – and came back with a vision to make money by renovating cheap old buildings into spaces for artists.

This isn’t a story about Wicker Park in the 1990s, or Pilsen or Logan Square today. It’s Old Town, circa 1927 – and the person with that initial vision was Sol Kogen. Call it arts-based community development or call it gentrification, his business model was not all that different from what many developers do today. What set that vision apart – what gave it an unmistakable style – was the artistry and craftsmanship of Edgar Miller.

Continue reading »

The Bamboo Lounge

Eric Allix Rogers 25 comments

Schlitz stained glass at 9401 S. Ewing [Eric Allix Rogers/Chicago Patterns]

How much should be read into the disappearance of a single stained glass window? For the forlorn Bamboo Lounge at 9401 S. Ewing, could it be a warning of worse to come? A distinctive time capsule of a neighborhood tied house tavern, the building clings – for now – to the ragged frontier between the industrial past and the uncertain future of Chicago’s far southeast side. But for how much longer?

Continue reading »

Wins and Losses for Chicago Buildings in 2016

Chicago Patterns Staff 4 comments

Every year brings new buildings and the demolition of others–it’s the continuous cycle that transforms inanimate structures into the growing and evolving organism of a city. In times of wealth and prosperity the number of construction and demolition permits grow, and in times of recession they dwindle.

Last year this cycle repeated largely as it has in years past. But there were a few themes in the destruction of Chicago’s architectural heritage: late 19th century Worker’s Cottages, grand South Side homes, Italianate row houses, and a few sparkling Victorians on the North Side.

It wasn’t all losses in 2016–there were a few wins, particularly neglected or damaged churches that will live on through adaptive reuse.


Continue reading »