Saturday, February 21, 2015

Erie on the Park
 by: chicago designslinger

 [Erie on the Park (2002) Lucien Lagrange Architects, architect /Image & Artwork: chicago designslinger]

Designing a building always presents as series of challenges, but having to contend with a site shaped like a parallelogram is one of the more unique issues an architect might have to deal with.

  [Erie on the Park, 510 W. Erie Street, Chicago /Image & Artwork: chicago designslinger]

As the 20th century turned into the 21st, developer William Smith presented architect Lucien Lagrange with the task of designing a building for the oddly-shaped plot of land. The intersection around Erie and Kingsbury had once been home to the Jones, Coats & Bailey Lumber Yard, a stove works, packing box factory, Aetna Iron Works, the Charles Emmerich Feather Pillow Co., the Rutlan Transit Co. Freight House, serviced by a bundle of railroad tracks belonging to the Chicago & Evanston Railroad Co., later the Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Paul & Pacific Railroad.

  [Erie on the Park, River North, Chicago /Image & Artwork: chicago designslinger]

By the time Lagrange and company appeared on the scene the old industrial area was already undergoing a transformation. Former industrial buildings had been converted into residential lofts, new apartment/condo buildings were sprouting up to the east, and when the last remnants of the old rail lines were removed a valuable, vacant, parallelogramed parcel of land emerged.The angle of the exterior walls were shaped by the site, but by moving some of the building's structural bracing from the interior to the exterior, the design team not only created wide-open floor plates but also a diagonal pattern that many people find reminiscent of the nearby John Hancock tower. Plus the plan provided some lucky penthouse residents with great balconies and spectacular views of the city. A view that was enhanced when the City of Chicago and the Park District purchased a 3-acre piece of land on the south side of the street, directly across the from 510 W. Erie Street, now Erie on the Park.

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