post office

Federal Plaza neighbors

Federal Plaza Vista (Spring), Chicago © 2013 Celia Her City

The south end of the Federal Plaza has recently seen an upgrade of the mechanical systems that lie beneath it.  After being closed for more than a year, it has been replanted and is again open to the public.

I like to imagine what stood on this spot in other days.  Before the squat black Mies van der Rohe post office was built, a grand old cruciform Federal Building, capped by a fancy dome, took up the whole block.  It was destroyed to make way for the present complex in the 1960s.

The buildings ringing the site—the Clark-Adams, the Com-Ed Building, and the old Marquette—seem to get along well with their new neighbor, though.  And the new plantings only enhance an already appealing scene.

The cozy side of modern

Nightscape (Credit: Celia Her City)

Beyond the Calder lies a peaceful way, threading between Mies’s modern creations, past stony old skyscrapers rendered cheerful by illumination and the cloak of night.  Walk far enough, and you will travel back a century to the old el station at Quincy.  Dull enough by day, the buildings glow and turn festive, their bright dots and dashes telegraphing life in ways reminiscent of that old Georgia O’Keeffe painting.

Click image to enlarge.