Mies's 860 - 880 Lake Shore Drive Apartments Restored - Chicago

    Restoration is just about complete on Mies van der Rohe's masterpiece 860 - 880 Lake Shore Drive apartments in Chicago. Long ago I told you of this work. It's fabulous to compare the before and after photographs.




    Photographs can't convey the stunning new look in all its splendor. The travertine plaza is completely redone with new stone from Italy. All the glass on the first two floors was replaced. By using low iron glass, the transparent panes are as they were when Mies was around and equally important, once again the opaque glass panels are sandblasted as Mies specified. At night, the original dramatic lighting designed by Richard Kelly has been restored. After about ten million dollars of work, the buildings look better than they have in years; and that's saying a lot.


    A partial list of what was achieved:

    The entire building was painted. The ground floor and mezzanine level were sandblasted first so now when you walk around the plaza among them they're nice and smooth and black.


    All the stainless steel around the lower eight feet of the building was replaced.
    Much of the rest of the stainless steel was spot repaired and polished.
    Doors on the south elevation of 880 that had been moved to the center were restored to their original positions.


    New travertine was installed inside the lobbies near the windows where needed.
    The lobby floors were honed.
    The travertine lobby walls were cleaned.
    The railing that had been along the western edge of the plaza was refabricated and installed.


    New plants and planters were placed in the lobbies.
    The revolving lights to call taxis that had been added to the canopies over the doors were removed.
    The surroundings were re-landscaped.

    The restoration also included much more work that you don't see but that will keep the buildings in good shape for years to come; for example, much of the structural steel was repaired. The roofs were waterproofed as was the plaza and the plaza's drainage was improved. The restoration architects are Krueck and Sexton, with Harboe Architects.

    I'm wondering now if anyone has home movies or unpublished photographs of the 860 - 880 Lake Shore Drive Apartments from 1949 when it was going up or 1951 when it was finished, or later. I'd love to see them. Contact EdwardLifson@gmail.com

    current photos viaSource URL: http://ecleticsergio.blogspot.com/2009/10/mies-860-880-lake-shore-drive.html
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