Harry Weese Walton Street


* Gapers Block has an awesome new series: To Be Demolished, a photogallery by David Schalliol—one of my favorite Chicago photographers—of buildings set to be torn down. It's a neat idea, and Schalliol is a great architectural photographer.

Among the first selections is a beautiful Gothic house at 3639 S. Michigan designed by Charles M. Palmer, who designed the cast-iron-front building that houses part of the Berghoff and was the builder of up to three hundred Chicago houses. Palmer also completed the design of the Palmer House Hilton, based on plans by John Van Osdel.

From some Google Books research, I think I've figured out the year and the original owner: Moses Waixel, for whom the building was built around 1889 at a cost of $12,000, or about $287,000 in 2010 dollars. Moses Waixel, it seems, was part of the Waixel Brothers, sellers of wine and liquor. As recently as 2006, it sold for $616,000; it's now listed as a vacant lot for $109,000.

* Also in Schalliol's gallery is the Brand Brewing Company building, which has become something of a point of contention in the preservation community. Brewer Virgil Michael Brand also once held the largest private rare-coin collection in the world.

* One of my favorite Chicago architecture obsessives, who goes by ChicagoGeek on Flickr, brings word that Harry Weese's 1956 building at 227 E. Walton is being considered for preliminary landmark status. Lee Bey explains its importance: "His 227 E. Walton is among his lesser-known works, but is nonetheless significant. Built during the heyday of steel-and-glass modernism, Weese used brick cladding on the reinforced concrete building. He also used bay windows, breaking the flat-faced, slab-like form often used then in modernism." An apartment in the building is available for a mere $412,000. Weese is the architect behind the wonderfully odd Swissotel.

* Alderman Joe Moreno isn't just dealing with the Brand Building fight; he's also at the center of discussions over the vacant lot at 1834-50 W. Chicago (via Curbed):

Ald. Proco Joe Moreno called the hearing to consider including the property in Chicago Avenue's strip-mall ban, now in place between Ashland Avenue and Wood Street. Moreno would extend "pedestrian street" zoning a quarter-mile westward to Damen Avenue.

You might remember yet another urbanism throwdown about the McDonald's in Logan Square; here's how pedestrian zoning works and why it exists.


Photograph: ChicagoGeek (CC by 2.0)