via ArchitectureChicago PLUS by Lynn
Becker on 6/22/10

was a dark and stormy night.
It was a dark and stormy night.
It was
a dark and stormy late afternoon.

Last Friday, 77 mile-per-hour winds and
a lot of unnecessary wetness stormed through Chicago’s Loop doing rude things.
Most of the publicity went to the two windows that popped out of the Tower
Formerly Known as Sears. Two more cracked.

Big deal. The real action was
over at 22 W. Washington, the 17-story Perkins+Will skyscraper anchoring the
southwest corner of uncharmed Block 37.

Before:After:(Thanks, as always to
our indefatigable correspondent Bob Johnson for all the great images
accompanying this post.)

No fewer than 35 windows were
damaged, shattered, according to news
, by pebbles carried off the rooftops and hurled by the wind against
the glass at a far higher velocity than that commonly required to get someone’s

When 22 West first opened in 2008, the Trib’s Blair
Kamin reported
that the beleaguered developer used a cheaper quality of
glass than that recommended by architect Ralph Johnson, resulting in unwanted
distortion in the curtain wall’s reflections of the buildings surrounding Daley

Now, at least for the moment, 22 West’s Dearborn facade is a
late-Mondrian-like mosaic of dreamy reflectivity and dull, dark voids created
where opaque, off-the-shelf replacement panes have been installed. It’s like a
picture puzzle with a lot of a pieces missing. And for the traditionalists among
us, there’s even a window boarded up with old-fashioned plywood.22
West would probably be a more interesting building if, instead of fixing things,
they broke a lot more windows, and made the whole thing a more artful
counterpoint of reflection and void, contrasting to the uniform mirroring of the
structure’s other elevations: the almost cliché illusion of structure dissolving
into reflections, rudely interrupted by prosaic punctuations of

That’s unlikely to happen, however, so enjoy the
eccentricity while it lasts.


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