Frank Fisher Studio Houses
In a city that originated the modern skyscraper, it is a bit unusual to see an Art Moderne structure, particularly when Louis Sullivan laid a foundation of heavy stone. But Chicago accommodates all styles.
Just south of the Gold Coast's residential area on State Parkway sits a white brick building, with a curved side and glass block windows. It is the handiwork of architects Andrew Rebori and Edgar Miller. Built in 1936, it now houses 12 condominiums.
The building's namesake, Frank Fisher, Jr., was an executive with Marshall Field & Co. He commissioned its construction.
As for Art Moderne: It can be viewed as a successor to the Art Deco movement. At the time, people were intrigued with curves, in part due to the mathematical functions that underlie the modern aerodynamics used in automobile, steamship, and aircraft design. The exterior of the Fisher Studio Houses exemplifies Art Moderne: The curve that gently brings together the building's front and side walls, the glass blocks, flat roof, and rectangular window slats.
Photographs of the interiors suggest small spaces, but the curves reappear in the form of stairways and ceilings. The units contain herringbone floors, handmade stairs, and wood-burning fireplaces.
One thing is for sure: The building needs a fresh coat of white paint. Let's face it, painting a brick building in a traffic-congested city is just asking for trouble.
Front Entrance Following a Rain Storm
Photographer's Notes: The Fisher structure has been on my list for at least a year. It is best photographed in the afternoon, when the sun is hitting the exterior. After thinking about it, I will likely return in late fall once the leaves are gone.