Goldberg's River City
At this time of year, it is unusual to see much boat traffic on the Chicago River, but today is an unusual day. When I woke, the temperature was in the mid-30s. When I left the house this afternoon, it was 62 degrees. It is February in Chicago. Crazy. And yes, the city went crazy. People were out. As I stood on the bridge, dozen of runners went by with nothing on but shorts and sleeves. The barge moving in a northerly direction was filled with piles of sand. I suspect it was headed north past the downtown area.
In this photograph, the obvious landmark is the Sears Tower (now the Willis Tower). Enjoy this muscular specimen while you can. Sometime in the next month or two, construction crews will begin a two-year, $500 million project to remake the base of the tower, giving it a less forbidding look according to Chicago Tribune architectural critic Blair Kamin.
The original structure was conceived by Bruce J. Graham of Skidmore, Owens, and Merrill, with the design based on an open pack of cigarettes. According to Kamin, it relies on a "bundled tube" concept, with individual tubes (75 feet by 75 feet) dropping off as the tower ascends into the sky, . The revision to the base was designed by Chicago office of the internationally acclaimed Gensler firm. The revision will add 150,000 square feet to the base, with base then including 300,000 square feet of retail and restaurant space. Design photographs also show a garden terrace, but it is unclear to me whether that will be open the public. Should be interesting.
What I like about this scene is the opportunity to photograph River City, a relative of the better-known Marina City that sits on the north side of the river in River North. Designed by Bertrand Goldberg, River City is a residential development with docks. It rests, at least for the time being, isolated on the south branch of the river just north of Roosevelt Avenue, but redevelopment of is beginning to take shape, with talk of a river walk. Tonight, the reflection in the structure's windows could not be beat. Lovely.
And then it got dark. I lost any trace of blue in the sky. Yet, the buildings on this side of town are better lit at night than those surrounding the John Hancock Center, so one more photograph was warranted. It was then off to dinner Imperial Lamian in River North, where Evelyn and I dined on Xiao Long Bao, Roasted Duck, and Jasmine Tea Smoked Ribs. And for a beverage, we enjoyed Dragonwell tea, which is one of our favorites, having visited the plantation in China where it comes from (just outside of Hangzhou). We supposedly saw the famous dragon well. The restaurant was hopping tonight. It was filled when we arrived at 8:30PM, so we sat in the bar, which I prefer.