Admittedly, I’m familiar with the saying, “You don’t own the view.” Still, it bothers me that construction will soon begin on a medical building that will alter our view. I’ve been spoiled, looking out everyday at two amazingly classy buildings: the Elks Memorial and the Commonwealth Promenade Apartments, which Ludwig Mies van der Rohe designed.
The Elks National Memorial (also known as the Grand Lodge of the B.P.O.E), is a fancy rotunda, a shrine to Americans killed in World War One, a classical domed building with encircling columns. (Inside, its soaring chambers are encrusted with marble, mosaics, murals.) Day and night, the temple registers the changing light.
The Commonwealth Promenade, kitty-corner from the Elks at Sheridan and Diversey, is a tall white glass box. Full of modern souls making dinner and watching TV, it keeps the Memorial, with its departed souls, company. (Click here and here for other posts featuring the building.)
The projected building—part of St Joseph Hospital—will be flush with the street, rising up beyond the low curved roof of the Surf Garage. Will a dog be joining the Elks and Mies? St Joseph has a long record of building ugly designs.