Sunday, March 24, 2013

The end is near...

A demolition permit has been issued by the City of Chicago for old Prentice Hospital, the Bertrand Goldberg building that has been the front burner issue for Chicago's architectural preservation community. The battle it seems is all but lost as the legal means attempting to stop the demolition and to question the motives of the Landmarks Commission have been exhausted. If you recall, last fall the Commission went out of its way to heap praise upon the building, saying by all means it was significant and very worthy of designation as a landmark, and then declared it a landmark. Then in the next breath they went on to say that the needs of Northwestern Hospital who owns the building and land it sits upon, trumps its architectural significance, then rescinded the declaration they had made only minutes earlier.

In one unfortunate ruling, the Commission essentially declared itself and its work irrelevant, a far greater concern than losing one wonderful building. It seems the fox is in the henhouse of the Landmarks Commission; as of that ruling, no building in Chicago is safe from the wrecker's ball.

Other preservation concerns are quickly moving to the forefront as the wrecker's shroud is about to be placed over Prentice. Lynn Becker has this wonderful elegy to many of the churches that have been lost or are very likely to be lost in the near future including St. Boniface on the near northwest side, whose fate is again uncertain as the funds to convert it into a home for the elderly have not come through.

Here is Robert Powers' testament to St. James Church in Bronzeville whose date with destiny is close at hand.

These are troubling times indeed for our historical and architectural legacy.

No comments: