Tuesday, February 26, 2008
In today's Springfield Journal Register
"Extensive interior refinishing and redecorating; a new baptismal font; a sanctuary accessible for people with disabilities; and a new altar, pulpit and bishop’s chair. The tabernacle will be refurbished but will stay in its present location"
This does not sound good.
Notice in the attached drawing, the altar rail has either been removed or replaced with a rounded form. Also, "sanctuary accessible for people with disabilities" is generally a code phrase for lowering and chopping the sanctuary.
Anyone have a more definite plan from Springfield about this?
Monday, February 25, 2008
From Denis McNamara
Friday, February 22, 2008
Atlanta, Illinois is a City (believe it or not) of 1650 residents in Logan County in Central Illinois (about 10 miles from my hometown of Wapella)
While Atlanta (much like Wapella) has been hit with 10's of tornadoes, floods, a rare economic boom, and a common economic bust, well-built buildings do survive. Right off of old Route 66, in Atlanta, stands one of the most beautiful libraries in the State of Illinois.
The library (yes, it is Octagonal) was designed by the late Bloomington architect, Paul Moratz, and dedicated on March 28, 1908. The Bloomington Pantagraph celebrates the 100th anniversary here, in a testimony to civic pride and appreciation of fine buildings and their relationship to function in the community.
This from the Lincoln Courier:
Although several of Moratz’s buildings featured rounded portions, the Atlanta Library is his only known octagon-shaped library.
Many private residences were built in an octagon shape in the mid-19th century, inspired by eccentric writer and speaker Orson Squire Fowler.
Fowler’s promotion of the buildings mirrored the era’s fascination with modern technologies, efficiency and fitness. He explained that an octagon-shaped structure offered “one-fifth more room for its wall,” plus better air circulation and more light.”
Those features may also have swayed Moratz and his clients when they chose the footprint for Atlanta’s library.
The building was erected at a cost of $9,500 ($216,605 in 2007 dollars) by Joseph Reichel of El Paso.
The upper floor houses books. Over the past century, the collection has grown to 13,200 books, periodicals and audio-visual materials.
Last year, the library recorded 4,600 visits. Forty-eight percent of all check-outs were children’s materials.
My understanding is that the interior is superb, but I cannot find a photo. And if you think you can build this for $216,605 you are kidding yourself.
Wednesday, February 20, 2008
Here is a very good Milwaukee Blog, celebrating great Architecture and generally being positive about traditional architecture, and even a dose of photos from Chicago.
What a shot of Institute of Christ the King! South Woodlawn in Chicago never looked so good (even with the political signs) Click on the image of the Schlacks Church to enlarge.
For those of you who can't get enough Denis McNamara, the good Dr. lectured to 1200 at St. Stanislaus Kostka explaining the liturgical significance of the Sanctuary of the Divine Mercy:
There's rich meaning within church walls
What do the Kennedy Expressway and the Church of the Holy Sepulchre have in common? Both are close, though in different ways, to the new Sanctuary of Divine Mercy that will be built next to St. Stanislaus Kostka Church, 1351 W. Evergreen Ave., in the heart of Chicago. On Feb. 2, Denis McNamara gave a presentation to a crowd of more than 1,200 in St. Stanislaus Kostka about the theological significance behind the sanctuary's design, which will resemble the Old Testament temple. Once the multi-million dollar chapel is complete, perpetual eucharistic adoration will begin inside.
There is more in the print edition of the Catholic New World, the official newspaper of the Archdiocese of Chicago.
Tuesday, February 19, 2008
Yes, that is our own Dr. Denis McNamara, popping in at First Things in Joseph Bottum's column. Bottum writes about an upcoming lecture "Living with the Dead: Why Cities Need Cemeteries and Nations Need Memorials", so who would be better than Dr. Denis to describe the relationship of buildings to Faith, Tradition, and Liturgy.
What better way to celebrate St. Patrick's day than to study the memorials to our ancestors!
March 17, Georgetown University, ICC Auditorium, with Joseph Bottum, the New Criterion's Roger Kimball, chairman of the NEA Dana Gioia, and Dr. Mc.
Tuesday, February 12, 2008
William Weitzel, building manager at 333 N. Michigan has died at age 71. Mr. Weitzel, one of the true gentlemen of the Real Estate Industry was responsible for reviving one of Chicago's great Art Deco skyscrapers at 333 N. Michigan.
I got to know Mr. Weitzel last year and early this year, as he granted me unprecedented access to photograph the private Tavern Club at 333 before its dismantling. The Tavern Club, lunch haunt to such luminaries as Frank Lloyd Wright and Carl Sandburg was one of the most beautiful Art Deco interiors in Chicago, complementing its superb view.
William Wetizel, a Fenwick and Loyola grad was the brother of Bishop J. Quinn Weitzel, and is survived by his wife Marilyn, a son, Bishop Weitzel and a sister.
Thanks Bill Weitzel for being such a gracious guide to Chicago Architecture!
There was something of a hush over the meeting, as very few in the neighborhood are sold on the idea that increasing congestion is a positive development. Several in attendance noted that at least 3 stories were required to make a profit on a new development. I asked if anyone had done the calculation as to how many additional units could be placed in the district under the new zoning.
As no one had done the arithmetic, I took an hour yesterday to calculate.
Total new sq ft available for apartments (condos) 2,264,220 sq ft.
Total new apartments at 1500 sq ft per unit: 1500 Units
At 80% coverage: 1200 Units
This is at 3 stories in height. No one actually thinks developers would stick to 3 stories, as some "concessions" (per the Trustees) may be exchanged with the developers in exchange for variances.
I came out asking myself, why would anyone in the neighborhood want 1200+ additional units built here. The short answer: No one in the neighborhood is asking for this. The Village Trustees have taken it upon themselves to pave the way for high density development, not keeping with the neighborhood.
As one of the Trustees said "you have to play the developer's game", to which I reply, "No you don't. It's our Village, not theirs".
How about it Wilmette? You looking for 1200 more cars parked in your neighborhood?
Here are some photos I shot today at 4th and Linden. The area has a certain charm about it, small shops, pedestrian traffic, parking generally available. As you can see, it is not a architectural masterpiece, but certainly tolerable.
Spanish Mediterranean Arts and Crafts Mixed Use Commercial and Residential. Very pretty terra cotta, fits well in Wilmette. I doubt anyone is proposing to build such a structure today.
Adamseque 1 story decorative tile retail building. Would most certainly be torn down, or facadectomied in a zoning change.
Quaint, but rather outdated grocery store, most certainly a candidate for teardown (or replacement even without a zoning change). No residential on this block. The Lanon Stone facade is repeated throughout the 4th and Linden Neighborhood.
Soviet Style residence, 5 stories, does not match much of anything in neighborhood. Probably a bit too traditional for any new developer, but lack of parking and drab design are very much in fashion in similar developments in Evanston. Anyone want 40 more of these beauties?
Sunday, February 10, 2008
Jospeh McCarthy was renowned for his American Style Catholic buildings very favored by Cardinal Mundelein such as at Mundelein Seminary. However, he did step into the derivative European Sytle in Springfield Illinois at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, and he stepped decisively. This is his greatest work, in my opinion (to be copied by the The Lincoln Library by the way 70 years later).
I get asked all the time "how can we rennovate our Church". In most cases (Post WW2) , the whole thing needs torn down and rebuilt. In this Cathedral, the answer is "with a vacuum cleaner". This is as near perfect as an Illinois Cathedral gets. Vacuum, dust, sweep, but do not make any changes to the masterpiece as McCarthy designed.
So when I get one of those anonymous emails telling me
"They want to remove the old high altar entirely as well as the communion rails and add some sort of semi-circular steps to the sanctuary"
I think it is time to do one of two things.
1) Shout "STOP" at the top of the Capital Building before this interior is ruined (Seriously call Bishop Lucas and politely suggest he consider the Liturgical Intent of the original architect)
2) Start raising funds now so that 20 years from today we can put this Church back into order after it is wrecked.
It may be just the case that the Diocese of Springfield has too much money searching for a home right now. In which case, I can list 10 structurally damaged Churches in dire need of foundation work where the Springfield Diocese can park their money.
Bishop Lucas, please keep this Cathedral in tact. It is a beautiful, liturgically significant structure, sacred to Central Illinois and the Catholic Church. Please let it remain this way.
Photo Courtesy Mark Scott Alben, Rome of the West
Saturday, February 09, 2008
Come on admit it. The Masons have made some outstanding classic structures throughout the United States (and the World). Right across from St. Louis University, stands the New Masonic Temple, a massive 80 year old structure from the days of mass Masonry.
Click on through the title, the stained glass is also quite beautiful. I have been by this building many times, and it is generally not open, but it does look like tours have been held there.