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Urban Remains Chicago News and Events

Urban Remains Chicago News and Events

Antique American Architectural Artifacts

  • anticipating another year of lost buildings through demolition, i've already prepared additional storage space for the ever-growing collection of lost or discarded objects found under attic floorboards, ledger and sill plates, foundation walls, and stud cavities within 19th century chicago cottages faced with demolition, or have since been eradicated from the cityscape. a workers cottage sill plates, identified as a framing component in the form of a horizontal foundation beam where both joists, studs, and girts are notched or toenailed, by and large is the primary location where i find most material, which in many cases, was used as insulation between...
  • historic buildings that dodged several waves of urban renewal and/or blatant neglect and abandonment are thriving in milwaukee. whether it's a virtually untouched oriental-themed movie palace or two neighboring 1870's commercial buildings, milwaukee has proven proactively rehabilitate their existing "stock" of historic architecture. i'm pleased to have witnessed this transformation over the past 20 years through the lens of my camera. i will no doubt continue to photodocument this remarkable transformation found in the city' residential and commercial architecture in and around the third ward, the core of downtown, neighborhoods surrounding the old breweries, moviehouses, brewer's hill, and so on. the...
  • Louis Sullivan's final years the subject of a private club exhibition Terra cotta ornamentation is displayed along a window Jan. 13, 2017, as part of a small display on the architect Louis Sullivan taking place at The Cliff Dwellers, a club on South Michigan Avenue. Blair KaminContact ReporterChicago Tribune The final years of the great Chicago architect Louis Sullivan are invariably described as a living hell. When the extraordinary ornamentalist and poet of the skyscraper died in 1924, he was "without work, penniless [and] surviving on the largesse of a few devoted friends," biographer Robert Twombly wrote in 1986. It is a grim picture...
  • when i visited the congress theater last week, i began by carefully navigating and methodically photo-documenting several deep, dark and dirty plaster and steel-framed cavities and coves high above the theater's cavernous auditorium ceiling. while zigzagging across the original, wobbly wood board catwalks, i distinctly recall being taken aback by the number of objects i ran across - thanks to my head lamp - that once belonged to the many tradesmen that worked tirelessly day after day to piece together an amazingly intact and mind-boggling assemblage of plaster ornament that, when viewed from below, was designed to bring the moviegoer to another time and place...
  • the former chevrolet showroom (north end of the "mega mall"), built for the milwaukee avenue motor sales company (1921) during a time when the neighborhood was concentrated with several car dealerships that collectively contributed to what was then known as logan square's "motor row," has been reduced to rubble, leaving its neighbor (south end of the "mega mall) which too, was an automotive dealership for buick, the next target for demolition in the next two weeks. like the motor sales company, logan square buick has been heavily modified, but still retains a great deal of its original exterior ornamental terra...
  • it didn't take long for a few freeze/thaw cycles to wreak havoc on the bonding agents used to secure the ornamental plaster against the ceiling of a former showroom built for the buick sales building in 1921. the automobile showroom was designed by notable chicago architect clarence hatzfeld, and built by charles lange, costing approximately 250,000 dollars.  without the use of flashlights, the space is an eerily quiet black abyss, but when illuminated the floor is completely concealed by a chaotic collection of neoclassical designed fragments that fell and broke apart. looking up, all that remains are the outlines of where...
  • long after the collection of historically-important buildings belonging to rush's hospital campus were reduced to rubble, we received a call from a woman assigned the task of selling and/or discarding the piles of building remnants that had been dropped at a desolate storage yard shortly after each building succumbed to the wrecking ball. like the hospital buildings, this architectural "graveyard" was about to disappear, but thankfully the "caretaker" called to determine whether urban remains would be interested in purchasing any of it before being hauled off to the dump. there wasn't much there that could be used for...
  • with so many architectural artifacts, medical and industrial objects, signage and everything else in between, it's becoming increasingly difficult to continue listing new items on a daily basis. in 2017 however, we have brought onboard additional staff to ensure  at least ten new items are added to their respective categories each and everyday. below is just a random sampling of artifacts and objects culled from the ever-expanding urban remains' online catalog.    
  • an incredible discovery, documented shortly after demolition work was finished for the day. the oculus was found intact behind the bricked-in wall. the unusual number of muntins (and "hub") suggests an automobile wheel, which was a popular motif was used in other buildings along logan square's "motor row." [caption id="attachment_27150" align="alignleft" width="1263"] the complete arch top surround with centrally located spoked portal or oculus. the assembly is comprised of red painted douglas fir or yellow pine wood with original textured plate glass. i was not there during the time this architectural element was removed. thanks to andrew schneider of logan square...
  • [caption id="attachment_27214" align="alignleft" width="1100"] detail of northwestern terra cotta company exterior ornament adorning the facade of a 19th century chicago workers cottage.[/caption] meticulously documenting the surface detail and design of chicago's older extant architecture will remain a top priority in 2017. with so many projects, exhibitions, and lectures already dotting the days of my calendar, i'm already finding a great deal of joy, fulfillment, relaxation, and a great way to disconnect and just let my mind's eye wander freely across chicago's cityscape. [caption id="attachment_27216" align="alignleft" width="1100"] bedford, indiana hand-carved limestone exterior chicago graystone "grotesque" waterspout[/caption] over the past few years i've taken hundreds of...

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