The Worst Advices We’ve Heard For Wall World Map Mural
How do you put your architectonics on the map? You put a map on the building, of course. A absolutely big map.
That’s what you see at the once-forgettable 300 S. Wacker Drive appointment building, area a mega-mural map covers a aforetime bare accurate coffer forth the Chicago River.
The mural map, a vertical sliver added than 400 anxiety tall, portrays the angle river, the crisscrossing artery filigree and (naturally) 300 S. Wacker. It’s the brilliant of the map, represented by ablaze red rectangle that looks like a flat-roofed adaptation of a Monopoly hotel. At night, the rectangle is lit from aural by LED lights.
You wouldn’t use this map for directions. But it communicates a bright message, and it does so afterwards bottomward into garish, boasting display, like a assertive astronomic assurance (first letter “T,” aftermost letter “P”) that blights the beach abreast the Wrigley Building.
The abstraction was to “highlight the building’s connectivity to the burghal and the river, and to drag its presence, actually and figuratively putting it on the map,” said Maria Rizzolo, the advance artisan on the activity for New York-based ESI Design.
Shaped by Chicago’s A. Epstein & Sons (now accepted as Epstein) and amid aslant from Willis Tower, 300 S. Wacker was a archetypal artefact of the aboriginal 1970s. The all-encompassing steel-and-glass high-rise angry its aback on the river, bare the forward-thinking antecedent of Marina City, which visually addressed the river with its corncob-shaped high-rises and added affianced it with docks below the towers.
At the centermost of 300 S. Wacker’s beach coffer was a alpine shaft of accurate that amid the building’s elevators. If the abstraction was structural ball β steel-and-glass wings blind from the accurate amount β it fell flat.
“That architectonics was appealing nondescript,” said Constance Rajala, abettor administrator of the Chicago Architectonics Foundation’s river cruise tour. “I don’t anticipate best of the docents covered it.”
Indeed, the high-rise was so blah that there is no abode for it in the 550 pages of the American Institute of Architects’ “Guide to Chicago.” 300 S. Wacker was actually not on the map, at atomic the architectonics map.
But things afflicted afterwards Beacon Basic Partners, a Boston-based absolute acreage advance firm, bought the architectonics for $112.5 actor in 2013, again bought into ESI’s map idea, which alleged for painting the bare coffer with a mix of colors β a brownish-gray analogous the aboriginal accurate and aphotic and ablaze grays for the river and burghal streets.
“I can acquaint you they were afraid about it. It was a big surface. There was some accident to accomplishing this,” Rizzolo said.
That risk, it should be noted, was not unprecedented.
In the aboriginal 1980s, for example, artisan Richard Haas angry the walls of an old accommodation auberge at 1211 N. LaSalle Blvd. into an admiration to such allegorical Chicago architects as Louis Sullivan. On the building’s south wall, Haas corrective Sullivan’s angled “Golden Door” from the Transportation Architectonics at the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair, additional the round, abundantly bizarre window from Sullivan’s acclaimed coffer in Grinnell, Iowa. In between, on corrective windows, Haas added a “reflection” of the Chicago Board of Trade skyscraper, 2 afar to the south.
While the 300 S. Wacker mural map doesn’t acceleration to Haas’ akin of artistry, it is still a absolute accession to the cityscape.
That’s because the map gives 300 S. Wacker a face, rather than a back, forth the river. And while that face is antic β it isn’t every day that you see a map superimposed on an appointment architectonics with 35 floors β the design, by advantage of its palette and proportions, is admiring of the building’s abstaining modernist language.
With the barring of the red rectangle, there are no shrieking colors. The river is gray, not blue, and there is no name or architectonics abode present. The map is at already apparent and understated, which is not an accessible antithesis to accompany off.
True, there are weaknesses. At night, admitting the LED lighting, the map fades into the aphotic atramentous sky. The designers additionally took aesthetic liberties by abatement assertive features, like the railroad yards that abut Roosevelt Road, to annihilate beheld clutter.
And you accept to admiration if the acrylic will authority up for added than 10 years, as the designers predict.
Nevertheless, the map can be arresting a success, and its attendance is accurately echoed in the building’s lobby. There, addition ESI-designed map, this one bogus with baptize jet-cut steel, portrays a appearance attractive west from the architectonics to the border line. Adding beheld interest, the streets are labeled, the river is black dejected and accomplishments lighting changes over the advance of the day.
Although it’s a tad cluttered, the antechamber map, like the one on the river-facing wall, shows how adventurous clear architecture can advice activate a annoyed modernist building. Tenants accept responded agreeably to the changes, which were allotment of a $13.87 actor basic advance plan.
The architectonics is now 86 percent leased, up from 80 percent back Beacon bought it, according to a backer for the firm.
Even if Chicago Architectonics Foundation docents don’t acknowledgment the big mural map on the river cruise, they are now accepted to apperceive about it. “I agreement you,” said Rajala, the abettor river cruise director, “that addition will ask you about it back the baiter docks.”