Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Flatiron #2- 1230-1234 W. Loyola

1230-1234 W. Loyola
Built: 1928
Owner: A. Kirschbaum
Cost: $120,000
Architect: Kuya (no first name given)

This building is opposite the Loyola stop on the Red Line.  If you set up a pulley system maybe you could swing onto the platform from your window. This is an uncomfortable, windswept section of Rogers Park, exaggerated by the massive concrete viaduct supporting the El tracks.  The blank modern buildings on the south side of the street don't help, and neither does the nearby surface parking and lack of street trees. But it has been improved in recent years by converting a vacant lot into a garden for the Chicago Waldorf School, which is a bit further to the west.

The building itself is a good example of the Italian Renaissance Revival style, with false mansards covered with clay tile, the occasional decorative cartouche, and first floor storefronts clad with vaguely gothic ornament. And surprisingly, the storefronts haven't been entirely mucked-up.  But I want to know why nearly every ecclectic architect in the 20s included fake Juliet balconies. Just let it be a window!

The main elevation shown above faces south.  Unlike the previous flatiron, this building doesn't make use of an interior court for light and air.  Although intended to have a zero lot-line with its west neighbor (now missing) there's an inset about 30 feet back from the front property line to allow for windows. Along the alley a couple of triangular light courts have been inserted for the same reason.  I'm sure the south-facing apartments are very bright and cheery.  For the others, probably less so.

The process of raising the El tracks began in the 1910s, but wouldn't be complete until the early 1920s. So the residents of this building have never been without the comforting rattle of the train.  But as a famous couple of brothers have said, the train comes by so often you won't even notice it.

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