Monday, September 27, 2010

Metalwork at Riverside Plaza

This is part of an air return grille at the southeast entrance of Riverside Plaza, also known as the Daily News Building (Holabird & Root, 1929).  This is another world-class building which has somehow escaped Chicago landmark designation.

I've drawn this grille 3 times- first in 1997, then in 2006, and now a couple of weeks ago.  I'm not exactly sure why I've been so drawn to this design.  It's a typical art deco theme, organic shapes in a rigid geometric framework.  Sunflowers maybe?  Hard to tell for sure.I'm also fascinated by the metal itself, nickle silver, which was  popular for art deco designs.  Made from 75% copper, 20% nickel and 5% zinc, it could be rolled, pressed, or cast.  Silver white was the most common color,  but it could take on tints with the addition of various other metals.

 The building and its interiors are practically an encyclopedia of art deco themes and decorative techniques.  A shame that the ceiling mural above the concourse was removed for restoration years ago, and has yet to be returned.


  1. I'm impressed with your rendering and equally fascinated with your choice of subject, although I haven't seen it as far as I can recall in real lIfe. My eye is naturally drawn to repetitive geometric designs with interlinked circular shapes, almost like a representation of drops of rain as they hit the surface of a puddle. The leaver of the flowers in this tend to point to the center of their neighbors' flowers, leaving a small but maddening impression that one is being stared at by the geometry. I love your penmanship and am happy to see so many great examples of your work.

  2. Thank's Matt! Next time you exit from Ogilvie Station onto Madison (down that ramp) take the swinging doors to the side of the revolvers. The only problem is that ten thousand people then have to rush around you...