Chance Rehearsal at the Cultural Center

The Chicago Cultural Center has to be my favorite sacred space. Sure, Chicago has churches, some of them are even historic, but it is the ritual, not the space that makes a church spiritual. When you walk into the Cultural Center, there is a sort of hush, as if you’re walking to a library, which is exactly what this building used to be. The books are long gone, but the building was saved from the wreckers ball, and now the public wanders in and out, enjoying the wall mosaics, the marble staircases, and the Tiffany stained glass dome.

I never get tired of walking through this building. Today there is a five piece string group rehearsing and the Tiffany dome can be enjoyed with a proper soundtrack. (This one is 1:47 long; if you really like the building and want to see more of it, here is a slightly longer one (4:46) that shows the rooms to the side and back as well.)

2 Responses to “Chance Rehearsal at the Cultural Center”

  1. Catanea Says:

    Lovely lovely to see these architectural details (I remember you did this before in Boston?) – I read Private Eye and am so disturbed by buildings not saved…I’ve just visited (first time in 20 years) my native Pacific Northwest, and read (only read) a website about lost Seattle landmarks. Everything should be preserved! Why not! Even if it has to find another function. So, am I a curmudgeon that I prefer existing buildings and feel new modern (FUTURE landmarks) should be built on vacant lots?
    [now you’ve got a new PC I am thinking whether and how I can get you Photoshop…]

    • Nijma Says:

      The Boston building I photographed was by architect Le Corbusier, also the Pullman neighborhood. I did some train stations yesterday, maybe I’ll put them up next.

      The building that really broke a lot of hearts was the old LaSalle Street Station built 1903 and torn down 1981 to make way for the Chicago Stock Exchange. I remember a huge cavernous space with escalators going up the middle, solid furniture made from quarter-sawn oak, and transients sleeping on the benches. I also remember the hearings to tear down the building were very hush-hush and announced quietly the day before–then suddenly the building wasn’t there any more.

      I didn’t take a whole lot of photos yesterday as I have photographed the building before more extensively–there’s another dome in the other end, and plenty more photos in a backup file somewhere. Being there with a camera is sort of like fishing. It gives you an excuse to sit on the bank of a river and do nothing without attracting undue attention. The camera also makes me focus on what I’m seeing in a different way.

      Some of these photos were tweeked with Irfanview, which is free, but doesn’t do everything.

      The PC isn’t new, I just haven’t been able to plug it in for a couple of months. Since I got it running two nights ago I’ve been surfing the web like a drunken sailor.


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