Monday, February 23, 2015

Mandel Brothers Department Store - One North State
 by: chicago designslinger

[Mandel Brothers Department Store - One North State (1900/1905/1912) Holabird & Roche, architects /Image & Artwork: chicago designslinger]

If you take a stroll down Chicago's State Street today, you will most likely find crowds of students walking to and from class or hanging out near the curb having a smoke. There will be a smattering of people who look like they might work in nearby office towers, or tourists on a visit. Occasionally you will come across shoppers leaving or entering one of a string of global retail chains along the street selling items available almost anywhere around the world. It wasn't always like this, and when architects Holabird & Roche designed a new store for Mandel Brothers in 1912, State Street was at the epicenter of the world's most dynamic, locally owned retail centers.

 [Mandel Brothers Department Store Building - One North State, 1 N. State Street, Chicago /Image & Artwork: chicago designslinger]

The brothers had been selling dry goods on State near Madison since 1874, and commissioned Holabird & Roche in 1900 to design a building for them on a piece of property they'd just gotten their hands on, sitting directly behind the State Street store on Wabash Avenue. The lower two floors of their Central Trading Company Building would be used by the Mandels, while the upper stories would be rented to other retail and wholesale dry goods businesses. By this time the architects had become well known for their groundbreaking use of the barest minimum of exterior cladding to maximize the wide open rectangular spaces created by slender steel structural supports, and filling those openings with expansive areas of glass. Plus they knew how to throw-in a few decorative elements to keep things interesting while working within a client-comfortable budget.

    [Mandel Brothers Department Store Annex - One North State/Central Trading Company Building, Loop Retail National Historic District, Chicago /Image & Artwork: chicago designslinger]

The architects were brought back to the site just 5 years later to expand the Trading Company Building along Wabash Avenue as the Mandel's department store traffic grew larger. By 1909, the Wabash property had become the Mandel Annex, and the time had come to take down their old, 6-story, 1890s-era Second Empire building on State. The store owners called on Holabird & Roche once again, and in 1912 a 16-story, attic-arched building rose at the corner of State & Madison, conjectured to be the busiest intersection in the world.

  [Mandel Brothers Department Store - One North State, State Street, Chicago /Image & Artwork: chicago designslinger]

Mandels survived the Great Depression, but struggled to turn a profit by the late 1950s,  and the store was taken over by another Chicago-based retailer Wieboldt's in 1961. In the mid-70s in an effort to attract shoppers who were leaving State Street for Michigan Avenue and the suburbs, the Wieboldt company stripped the ground floor of Holabird & Roche's terra cotta facade and "modernized" it with flagstone piers and metal awnings in an attempt to visually tie-in the building with the company's suburban store design scheme. By 1987 they were out of business, and the building became the home of clients like the International Academy of Design & Technology, as well as retailers whose headquarters were well beyond the borders of State Street and the city of Chicago. In the early 90's the new owners of the One North State building stripped-off the suburban themed facade and restored a modern day version of Holabird & Roche's original design.

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