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take another little mies of my heart…

May 11, 2009

[Chicago Tribune] You’d never suspect that a great architect shaped the clunky brick box at the corner of 35th and Federal Streets. But the master of the steel-and-glass box, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, designed this humble brick hut at the southwest edge of the Illinois Institute of Technology (left). It was called “the Test Cell” or “the Gunnery,” names that hinted at the building’s covert purpose. Built during the Cold War in the early 1950s, it reportedly led to an underground testing facility for explosives.

Get a good look at this building now. It will soon be demolished to make way for an $11.7 million Metra station, backed with $6.8 million in federal stimulus funds, that will bring riders to U.S. Cellular Field, the Bronzeville neighborhood and IIT’s resurgent campus. And you know what? That’s perfectly fine. Mediocre buildings by world-class architects sometimes have to make way for pieces of civic infrastructure that uplift the community as a whole. (read and more here)

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