Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Mid-Century Sheridan Ave.

Yesterday, I decided to try out the bike route between my apartment and the beginning of the lakefront trail.
The official Chicago bike map, already out of date.
There are new bike lanes on Albion, going east and west, which is somewhat dangerous. Albion has always been a narrow one-way street; crossing west over Sheridan just confuses everyone on the road. Going towards the lake is fine, drivers expect you to be moving in that direction. There's a little bit of a route south on Winthrop after that, which leads one through Loyola's campus.

The few blocks between Loyola and Osterman Beach are lined with Four Plus Ones, a local developer's attempt at providing cheap apartments. They are weird little 1960s holdovers, and have never been popular with the neighborhood. Like the mid-century high-rises a few blocks to the east, many of them have had their colors muted, but they still display that modern sensibility in their concrete block screens or swoopy canopies.

5817 N. Winthrop

The above example isn't a four-plus-one (it has five real floors, which puts it into a different zoning category), but it still has the original powder blue brick, balcony railings and canopy swoop from 1966.

There are other bits of the past hiding, if one knows where to look.

1061 W. Rosemont, alley side

6230 N. Kenmore, canopy detail

At the lake shore, one gets to see an ongoing procession of mid-century high-rise madness. To get the full effect, pretend that all these buildings are in yellows and blues rather than the new conservative schemes.

Beach Point Tower, Erwin G. Fredrick, 1954

detail of 5757 N. Sheridan, Loewenberg & Loewenberg, 1961

The balconies of 5757 and a side view of Horizon House, Arpen Group, 1965

mid-century face-off
The south facade of Horizon House, showing its geometrically arranged waterspouts.
On the left is the north Hollywood Tower.

Hollywood Towers South, Solomon & Cordwell, 1962

My final stop was Osterman Beach. This was originally part of a landfill project completed in 1958. A new beach house, with concessions and free wi-fi, went up in 2010. Instead of tearing down the 1960s facilities, it's been given a face-lift quite in contrast to the new muted tones of Sheridan Ave.


It's a nice stretch of beach, with a bit of shade here and there. Not a bad place to stop for a hot dog and watch the gold coast folks coming down to the trail turn-around. Perhaps I'll see you there next time...

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