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Changing Michigan Avenue: cities become like suburbs

by LiveModern Webmaster last modified Sep 06, 2012 12:38 PM
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by Edward Lifson ( last modified Sep 05, 2012



Strolling the boulevard today, 

 Michigan Avenue, Chicago.

Among the stately masonry facades there had been one newcomer - the faceted glass Spertus Institute by Krueck and Sexton. Now there are two.

Spertus on the right and Columbia College on the left*. Will there be more?

But what really surprised me was 

a branch of Chicago's not-so-upscale supermarket opening on Michigan Avenue!

True, South Michigan Avenue feels like a college campus with Columbia College and Roosevelt University and teems with students and student life. And thousands of condo units have been built in the area, particularly since the success of Millennium Park. And true, a Target just opened in Louis Sullivan's Schlesinger and Mayer department store not far away; but this scene, on the street of Orchestra Hall (now Symphony Center), the Art Institute, various old-world clubs, fine hotels, the Fine Arts Building, and so on, shocked me. 

Apparently, they have lower prices. 

Increased suburbanization comes to 

that grand, proud and elegant boulevard of another era. 

But ya gotta love lower prices. 

*(The new glass facade for Columbia College at 618 S. Michigan was designed by grande architetta Elva Rubio of Gensler. Its frits are said to display a digitally printed "ghost image" of the building's original 1913 terra cotta facade. As I passed in the today's bright light, I saw frits, but not the imprinted design. Birds probably saw the frits too. They're there partly to warn birds that, "hey, even though this glass is super-transparent, there is a building here, don't fly into it." And the new curtain wall increases the building's energy efficiency.) 




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