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Daley gets Gropius plea

Dave Roeder and Jim Peters have both appealed to Mayor Daley in print to save the Gropius buildings on the campus of Michael Reese Hospital, and yesterday preservations took their plea directly to Daley’s office.

“We call upon Mayor Daley, once known as a champion for architectural landmarks, to step up to the plate and stop the demolition of Walter Gropius’s work immediately,” said Grahm Balkany of the Gropius in Chicago Coalition.

Four of eight buildings designed by the pioneer modernist architect have been demolished so far, with three more scheduled to come down.  That makes Chicago “the first city government in the world to willfully tear down a Gropius project,” according to the coalition.

The coalition warns that the city is on the verge of “a disaster on the order of the 1972 demolition of the Chicago Stock Exchange,” a Louis Sullivan masterpiece “whose absence is still reviled as a cultural scar across the U.S.”

And by clearing the site in the midst of a housing bust – and foregoing preservation tax credits which could provide developers with many millions of dollars – the city risks  creating a new Block 37, where a landmark building was demolished to clear land that remained vacant for 20 years.

The architecture at Michael Reese Hospital, located near 31st and King Drive, is readily convertible for new housing or for offices, shopping, schools, or other uses, Balkany said.

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Category: Bronzeville, development, preservation

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