former chicago evening post building undergoing facade restoration

i continue to document historic buildings undergoing restoration/renovations in chicago’s downtown at a feverish pace. i've noticed there is little - if any - public attention directed at the "sky boys" who spend their days working high above on scaffolding replacing, repairing, and recreating terra cotta and stone ornament that has succumbed to the unforgiving freeze-thaw cycles over the years. 

the evening post building is on the right.

restoration of historic building facades offer a great opportunity to see how chicago buildings were built, when both original materials and methods - concealed for decades behind curtain walls - are exposed to document extensively for future analysis. the seemingly routine work happening behind scaffolding should attract in-depth attention from the public, as restorations are more than just a shift in commercial occupants, they are ambitious processes meriting up-close documentation. transition points may let us understand a building’s life story and evolution, and archive those changes for the future.




211 west wacker drive (also known as the chicago evening post building was completed  in 1927 as the headquarters of the chicago evening post, a reform newspaper attempting  to cover “muckraking stories” of chicago's political corruption. surviving from 1886 to 1932, the penny-paper failed during the great depression and was absorbed into the chicago times, later merging with the chicago sun. 211 w. wacker served as the chicago sun - times building until 1958. the art deco building was designed by the architectural firm of holabird & root, with frank e. brown serving as engineer. the building’s façade serves as an excellent example of the architect’s signature – massive columns low on the façade and smaller columns repeated near the building’s top. the building is 19 stories high, with two basements, on hardpan caissons.

the property was later sold by the chicago sun - times to ymca college, which converted the builsinf into their downtown campus.  in 1983, it was sold to an investor group (including one of the current developers).  during 1984 the building was completely renovated, including new windows, elevators, and air-conditioning systems and fully leased as an incoming productivity office property.  it was sold to japanese investors in 1989 and has subsequently been owned by various institutional investors.

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