Buildings of note
Is it a clock, or something else?
07/12/2012 11:26 PM
I never gave much thought to architecture and design until a few years ago when I took the Chicago River tour offered by the Chicago Architecture Foundation. If you haven’t been on this 90-minute tour, it’s a great introduction to building design and the significance Chicago played in the field. Did you know the stacks atop the Willis Tower were conceived after an architect saw some cigarettes sticking out of a pack? This is one of the factoids offered by the well-versed docents who guide the tour.
Another great source of information is the “Hidden Chicago” series hosted by Geoffrey Baer on WTTW. The skyscraper originated in Chicago, not New York City.
While walking through the Loop it occurred to me that there must be architecturally significant specimens in the West Loop as well. That was how I came to call on Jen Masengarb at the Architecture Foundation, who was a fountain of information about the buildings of note in our neighborhood. The result is a story about West Loop architecture in this week’s Chicago Journal.
The structure that started me on this journey was the Tower Building and its unique clock tower, visible from many blocks away. The building’s designer didn’t put it there as a time-keeping mechanism, though. It hides something.
Another fascinating architectural element is ghost signs. Again, I learned of this phenomenon from Geoffrey Baer on “Hidden Chicago.” If you’re interested in these curiosities, check out this site: http://www.artic.edu/~ndonoh/pages/history.html