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Edgewater Beach Apartments Bores Into the North Lakefront

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For Curbed's new Bossy Building series, we're hoisting up one building a week that demonstratively throws its weight around as a dominant piece of architecture in the streetscape. It might even alter the aura of a neighborhood. Edgewater Beach Apartments is this week's focus. Drive the conversation by nominating buildings both muscular and influential from across Chicago (you may also nominate in the comments below).

Edgewater Beach Apartments (run as a co-op), is the last remaining piece of a leisure complex originally built around the Edgewater Beach Hotel. Architects Marshall and Fox designed the set of buildings that began with a 400-room hotel in 1916, followed with a 600-room hotel in 1922, and concluded with the Apartments in 1928. Landscaped acreage with playgrounds, gardens, tennis courts, private beach, and lake walk encased the structures until the 1951-54 Lake Shore Drive extension severed the hotel from the water. Marshall and Fox were no strangers to grandiosity, but this complex set out to floor tourists and passerby with its pink stucco and Maltese Cross shape which gave most visitors views of the lake.

The scale and format of the hotels and apartments was emulated down in Hyde Park with the construction of Del Prado and Shoreland hotels. These were the celeb hangouts of the day, a scene that persisted into the 1950s. Post-LSD extension, business at the Edgewater hit the skids. This was accelerated by the advent of air conditioning in modern hotels and the Edgewater lost its hospitality component to demolition in the late 1960s. The Apartments alone are no longer the tallest entity in the neighborhood, but they're still the brawniest. Newer buildings in the vicinity pay deference to the outsized oddity, and it still retains a chunk of open space, a massive common terrace, and a legendarily opulent lobby.
·The Edgewater Beach Hotel: Magic by the Lake [WTTW]
·Edgewater Beach Hotel [Wikipedia]