Welcome to Archigames, wherein nominated local buildings of a particular style are matched up in sudden death pairings to decide the most suitable representative of said style. This week it's Art Deco, and the last of four pairings is below. Brush up on the nominees, but always defer to your tastes when casting your vote. Polls close tomorrow at noon. Thanks for playing!
Anchoring our final first round face-off is the Civic Opera House, home to the Lyric Opera of Chicago. Built in 1929 by Graham, Anderson, Probst, and White, one year prior to their Merchandise Mart, the structure consists of a 45-story office tower and two 22-story wings that seem to cradle the river to the west. Often seen as a giant chair when approaching from the west, Civic Opera took on the nickname "Insull's Throne" for opera-booster and developer Samuel Insull. Henry Hering produced architectural sculpture for the building, and the interior is a celebrated example of Art Deco design.
Merchandise Mart has always been about synergy, from when it began as a consolidator of wholesalers and traders to its present status as a showroom and incubator for the design industry. Never mind that it contains some four million square feet of floor space— the largest building in the world when it opened in 1930. Until 2008 it had its own zip code (60654). Architects Graham, Anderson, Probst, and White and designer Alfred Shaw built this "city within a city" as a blend of warehouse, department store, and skyscraper typographies. The bulk of the building is 18 stories with a centered 25-story skyscraper-like tower facing the river. Terra cotta Native American statues were placed along the roofline to signify a destination for trade. And the building boasts plenty more whimsical elements.
·Archigames [Curbed Chicago]