A wonder of the wicker park and a tribute to Helmut Jahn
There is enduring value in a well-constructed building. My new Wicker Park list at 1239 N. Wood Street is one of the best examples of this fact in all of Chicago. The chiseled limestone of the facade and the thick brick walls are nowhere to be found.
Beams and brickwork and the overall structure have been further improved in recent years, supporting 5,000 square feet of roof space. Strong steel beams are in place, so a lucky owner can put a pool on top!
Built in 1903, it served as a Jewish orphanage and later housed the Polish Army Veterans Association and then the Wood Street Gallery. The rear of the building and the huge open space behind it are pictured above. This historic Wicker Park property is on six lots, 3 are open and 3 support 22,000 square feet of living space, including two newly renovated 3,000 square foot duplex condos for rental. This leaves 16,000 square feet to be designed and built with love and creativity by the new owner!
Helmut Jahn, who died on May 8e, has left its mark on Chicago with more than 16 major buildings. Despite all of his contributions, his legacy, good or bad, will be closely tied to the Thompson Center Block pictured above. The exterior may not have aged well, but there is real artistry inside. I hope it can be kept.
A lot has been written about Helmut, but one of my favorite memories is when the Chicago Film Festival hosted “An Evening with Helmut Jahn” in 2015, three years after Helmut received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Chicago from the American Institute of Architects. Film Festival director Michael Kutza interviewed Helmut for almost an hour. Just click on the link to watch the interview: Interview with Helmut Jahn.
I love architecture and discover the sources that made Chicago one of the greatest architectural cities in the world. Helmut Jahn was part of an incredible line of designers. When he arrived in Chicago in 1966, he studied with Mies Van der Rohe before joining CF Murphy and Assoc., Which would later become Murphy / Jahn. In the 1930s, Mies worked under Frank Lloyd Wright, who worked for Louis Sullivan. Sullivan, to Wright, to Van der Rohe, to Jahn. In American architecture, there is no better “ancestry” than this!
Here are some of the buildings he is known for around Chicago, One Prudential Plaza, the United Terminal at O’Hare Airport with its magnificent conveyor belt and One South LaSalle.
Helmut and my husband Lucien Lagrange were contemporaries, and he met Lucien on several occasions. They were in fact in “friendly competition” for Helmut’s latest achievement, the exceptional design of the 1000M building to be constructed on Michigan Avenue in Chicago, pictured above. I had the privilege of helping in the early stages of 1000M’s development and will never forget my meeting with Helmut at his Chicago office.
The 1000M building is on hold due to the pandemic, and I very much hope the building will move forward! It would be a fitting final project for Helmut Jahn’s career.
Filed under: Uncategorized
Tags: 1000M, 1239 N. Wood Street, AIA Lifetime Achievement Award, CHicago International FIlm Festival, Frank Lloyd Wright, Helmut Jahn, Historic Wicker Park, Louis Sullivan, Lucien Lagrange, Ludwig Mies Van der Rohe, Michael Kutza, Murphy / Jahn, One Prudential Plaza, One South LaSalle, Thompson Center, United Terminal O’Hare Airport