In 2016, the Olympic games will take place in Rio de Janeiro, the most beautiful city in the world. Of course I am not very honest by saying this as being brazilian 🙂 So I checked who lost the competition against Rio and I realized that Chicago had a very serious participation file. They had a huge plan to replace an historical old area of the city with a modern olympic town. Some people, in love with the american Architectural design of the beginning of the century were not happy with all these demolitions. Lots of great buildings would be taken down to the ground because of a “stupid olympic game project”. So finally some people in Chicago were happy that their city did not win as they thought things would remain as they are. Unfortunately for them, the mayor has great ambitions for his town and the project remains. So it seems beautiful buildings might be demolished like the Michael Reese Hospital designed by Walter Gropius. Walter Adolph Georg Gropius was a German architect and founder of the Bauhaus School who, along with Ludwig Mies van der Rohe and Le Corbusier, is widely regarded as one of the pioneering masters of modern architecture. Gropius’s career advanced in the postwar period. Henry van de Velde, the master of the Grand-Ducal Saxon School of Arts and Crafts in Weimar was asked to step down in 1915 due to hisBelgian nationality. His recommendation for Gropius to succeed him led eventually to Gropius’s appointment as master of the school in 1919. It was this academy which Gropius transformed into the world famous Bauhaus, attracting a faculty that included Paul Klee, Johannes Itten, Josef Albers, Herbert Bayer, László Moholy-Nagy, Otto Bartning and Wassily Kandinsky.
So today, the city of Chicago wants to demolish this beautiful building, witness of the Bauhaus style. Along with Mies van der Rohe buildings at the Illinois Institute of Technology and elsewhere, Michael Reese Hospital (dig its depressing website) was part of the significant impact Bauhaus made to Chicago and Chicago architecture. Architects, historians, and others have tried to obstruct the demolition, but as of today there are just four of the original eight Michael Reese buildings still standing.
Jeff Carter lives and works in Chicago. He is Associate Professor in the Department of Art, Media and Design at DePaul University. He builds Gropius’ buildings in Chicago thanks to the usage of materials from various IKEA sets to do so. The pictures below are shots of Carter’s Michael Reese power plant (demolished November last year) and the 1922 Chicago Tribune Tower proposal (which wasn’t built). The technique’s called “IKEA hacking” and is sort of like those people who can make the Taj Mahal out of a bunch of Lego Star Wars sets 🙂
What do you think? Check the artist website here : http://jeff-carter.net/html/workpage7.html