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Archive for August 23rd, 2007

Chicago Cultural Center

Thursday, August 23rd, 2007

chicagopianoculturalcenter.jpgI love the building in both of these photos. It is on Michigan Avenue in Chicago, approximately across from the Milennium Park and Chicago Institute of Art.

It was built as the public library years ago, and Tiffany himself designed the interiors. From what I remember of a tour I took there years ago, there is one green stone (I think it’s marble) used prominently in the railings for the stairs (of which there are many), which got used up (the quarry went dry) because of this one project. There is stone and glass, and some mirrors, and some gilt in the building. There are quotations all over the ceilings because of the library intent of the building.

Now Chicago has a recently-built library (oh, my… the modern gargoyles are wonderful) on Congress, on the way out of downtown going west to the highway. The old building is being kept up and used well now, as Chicago Cultural Center. The top floor is used for receptions and concerts, and the downstairs has a gallery or two, a place to rest, a gift shop and people who can answer your questions about any transportation question (the Visitor Center), how to get from here to there, maps for walking or public transit, and all sorts of other wonderful things.

We stopped in there for a map last Monday. Altu had seen the building once before with me, but our guest had never been to the city at all. We decided to take her upstairs to the most impressive room in the building.

When we got there, they were preparing for a concert. There was a person rehearsing solo piano while we watched. It was like having a private concert. Even when we went downstairs, we could hear the piano. You know, I sometimes say that I’m not too fond of classical music… particularly when there is no singing. However, I absolutely loved whatever it was that this woman was playing.

chicagocowculturalcenter.jpgIn this second photo, you see the entryway on the south side of the building. There is a bronze cow sculpture to remember the fiberglass artists cows of a good number of years ago. Altu and I were in Chicago together that summer and we just loved chancing upon those cows. It’s really lovely to see that someone took it upon themselves to commission one lasting sculpture to remind us of that summer. For some reason, they really made a lot of us smile.