Friday, March 6, 2015

I walk past the UIC Pavilion...

...all the time. (I took these pictures yesterday on my way to Target.)

The Pavilion, which seats almost 10,000 people, is located on the northeast corner of Racine and Harrison, just south of the Eisenhower Expressway on the Near West Side. (I just realized that last sentence contained all four directions.) I was disappointed at how little information there was about the structure on the Internet; all I could find was its Wikipedia page. 

The Pavilion, designed and built by Skidmore, Owings and Merrill, opened in 1982 and was renovated in 2001. (I was surprised to read that; doesn't that font look older?)

The famous Chicago-based architectural, urban planning, and engineering firm is responsible for the rest of the UIC campus as well as the John Hancock Center and the Sears Tower. Oh, all right -- the Willis Tower. (You can even see it in the photo at the top of this page.)

Founded in 1936 by Louis Skidmore and Nathaniel Owings, and later joined in 1939 by John O. Merrill, the firm became known for its use of the modern international-style or "glass box" skyscraper. Due to their faithful following of Ludwig Mies Van Der Rohe’s ideas, Frank Lloyd Wright nicknamed them "The Three Blind Mies."

If the Pavilion looks and feels different from the rest of the UIC campus, maybe it's because SOM's lead designer for UIC, Walter Netsch,* had left the firm by 1979 when construction began.

The East Campus was designed in the mid-1960s in the brutalist style, which is derived not from the word "brutal," but from the French b├ęton brut, or "raw concrete," a term used by Le Corbusier to describe his choice of material. Since then, "considerable effort has been expended to modify the original Netsch campus plan to create the feel of a traditional college campus."

* If that name sounds familiar, it's because Netsch was married to Dawn Clark Netsch, who ran for governor of Illinois in 1994.

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