Thursday, June 14, 2012

1254-1256 W. Albion (from 2005)

As promised, here's my entry for an apartment on Albion and Lakewood, reprinted and reformatted from Doors! Of Rogers Park! .  In this booklet I tried to start with a small detail and expand the scope out from the building into the neighborhood.

1254-1256 Albion

Date: 1925
Architect: R. J. Johnson
Owner: G. E. Halberg
Permit: A100426
File: 96890
Ledger: North 33 Page 48
Cost: $60,000
Size: 27'x116'x40'

I love the shape of this building. Faced with a triangular lot, the architect created a triangular building with a key-hole courtyard to give sufficient natural light and ventilation.

The details of these large apartments are generally not surprising, but the layouts always fascinate to me. There’s a lot to be said for not depending on air conditioning and artificial lighting. Urban architects created some great spaces to comfortably accommodate the tenants in a large multi-unit building.

Of course there are failures, too. Anyone who’s been in enough apartments must remember looking across a dim light well into a neighbor’s living room, bedroom, or bathroom. Or maybe just a blank brick wall where everyone dumps their cat-litter.

Usually the architects who designed these buildings are little known, so it’s a  pleasure to track down their names in the permit files. I feel like I’ve done some small good just uncovering that bit of history. And who knows? It might lead to the R.J. Johnson Apartment Renaissance.


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