Thursday, July 16, 2009

LaSALLE STREET. and Jackson Boulevard

Today, on the public sidewalk, across the street from the Rookery, a security guard asked me why I was so interested in "that" building. The light was playing delicately on the West facade. I was following it with my telephoto.

Not immediately realizing I was being scrutinized I told him I was comparing the proportions of John Root's street level colonnade to the columns and bay windows of Peirce Anderson's Peoples Gas Building on Michigan Avenue for a future blog post. Both are Daniel Burnham buildings and remarkably similar. (After all, HE ASKED.) His eyes rolled as he stepped back, smiling faintly. (That's when I saw the "badge".) He seemed truly satisfied that I was just an idiot and posed no immediate nine-eleven threat. Still, he watched until I left. I had to wonder where he was yesterday, when this guy, almost as tall as I am and twice my weight, walked up to me, put his hands on my shoulders, and then heavily, slowly, exhaled a week's worth of bad vodka into my face. He had just gotten out of jail (for assault), and begged that he needed a "human being" to give him bus fare. Luckily (on both days actually) I have the capability of "puffing up" and looking formidable for short periods of time.

Peirce Anderson knew how to deal with LaSalle Street's hoo-ha's. He just ignored them. When Louis Sullivan went into HIS alcoholic rant about Bankers and Romans and Togas, and what a stupid piece of crap the Illinois Merchant's Banking Room really was, Anderson didn't even bother to reply. I should be so calm.

I'm not.

Today, following the "incident", I wandered around the corner, remembering something about "discretion" and "valour" and began to photograph Peirce Anderson's work at the Insurance Exchange. (ca. 1911 at the corner of Financial and Jackson) As I focused and framed the full horror of Lucien LaGrange's "elegant transformation" of what I have always considered a Burnham masterwork (I've tried to ignore Lucien's renovations for some years now) I broke into a full rage. What kind of shocking arrogance would it take to believe one could "improve" on Peirce Anderson? Damn. The same arrogance, I suppose, that allowed some house designer from Oak Park, (what's- his- name Frank) to believe that frosting the inside of the Rookery with gold painted marble would make us forget all of John Root's nasty ironwork. And remember Frank, Frank, Frank. Amazingly, both of these "award winners" thought they were doing us a favor. And I thought LaSalle and Jackson was the intersection of the symmetrical and the sedate.

Architects are vicious. Architects eat their young.
Note the Deco Vampire Bat eating the Mosquito.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for your _blank_ comment, Smarry. But when I pushed _blank_ google's publish button, it _blank_ disappeared!

    LOL. Thanks for finding AITL.