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Archicritics

Archicritic Lynn Becker takes on the Old Dearborn Bank Building on the eve of its boutique hotel facelift. Virgin Hotel is adapting Rapp and Rapp's 27-story Art Deco marvel into a 250-room North American flagship. The super-slim tower has "clean lines," pens Becker, but "it's the over-the-top ornament that is the building's glory." The office building's facade has ornate window banks congested with animal busts and a series of half-destoyed terra cotta spandrel panels. The city's Landmarks Commission requires replacement masonry to exactly match the historic stuff. The prior owner briefly put apartments on the table, but then Virgin swooped in and the rest is history. [ArchitectureChicago PLUS, previously]