Comprising the Everett McKinley Dirksen
Building; the John C. Kluczynski Building; and the Loop Post Office
Ludwig Mies van der Rohe
Schmidt, Garden & Erickson, C.F.
Murphy Associates and A. Epstein & Sons, associate architects
Graced by Alexander Calders loopy Flamingo
"stabile," the Chicago Federal Center is a "study in geometric
perfection," the "ultimate expression of the second Chicago school of
architecture," according to Gerard Wolfe, in Chicago: In and Around the Loop, Walking
Tours of Architecture and History.
Franz Schulze, in the AIA Guide to Chicago,
concurs, noting that:
Miess uncompromising devotion to
principle, together with his vaunted sensitivity to proportion and structural detail, and,
in this case, the organizational scale, combine to give the complex a monumental urban
Both towers are curtain-wall structures
characteristic of the high-rise design of Miess American period. Their steel frames,
suppressed behind uniform walls of glass and steel, are marked off by projecting steel
I-beam mullions. The Post Office, a unitary space with a central core, is similarly
typical of Miess reductivist concept of the single-story pavilion. Externally thin
yet powerful structural columns of steel brace enormous panes of tinted glass.
Commissioned by the US General Services
Administration as part of a 1950s plan to modernize the federal government administration
and judiciary buildings, the plaza ran into budgetary difficulties, resulting in its long
construction period. Completed, it is a lovely addition to a series of modernist buildings
downtown that are humanly-scaled and materially rich at the ground level, including Inland Steel and the Richard J. Daley Center.
Christy Rogers, 1998
How to visit
Downtown is best negotiated by foot, cab or
train. The closest stop on the red line is the Jackson stop.
Books and other web
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