Chicago’s Innovation with Corten Steel

Let’s focus on a seemingly mundane material for a moment – corten steel. A guy named Mark Kurlansky has gotten really into telling history through a mundane commodity, food, or event. He wrote Cod: A Biography of the Fish That Changed the World in 1997 and Salt: A World History in 2002. So why not […]

The Evolution of the Merchandise Mart

While on the green line last week I rode past the hefty, block-long Merchandise Mart and began to wonder about its history. As I learned from Amanda‘s talk at the Union League Club this past week, the structure of older buildings usually aren’t very flexible and so they struggle to provide functioning spaces like modern […]

Candy and Community: Austin Neighborhood Architecture

The Austin neighborhood of Chicago has had some years of sweet glory. I mean that literally since a big candy factory once operated there. Austin is a primary example of a neighborhood that went through “white flight” in the ’50s. Because of that, the social and architectural make-up of the Austin neighborhood has dramatically changed […]