Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Hyde Park Murals Re-Dedicated

-posted by richard gill

On May 16, an enthusiastic crowd gathered at the 57th Street railroad viaduct to celebrate Bernard Williams's restoration of Astrid Fuller's widely acclaimed murals.  Fuller painted the murals on several viaduct retaining walls, beginning in the early 1970s.  The murals are characterized as "confrontational" due to their subject matter which illustrates socioeconomic and political aspects of Chicago history.  The University of Chicago paid for the restoration.  Other supporters include 5th Ward Alderman Leslie Hairston, Metra, and community organizations throughout Hyde Park.

Artist Astrid Fuller (2nd from left) and an attendee discuss the murals.

Hyde Park resident Jay Mulberry (holding mic) was emcee for the ceremony.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Old Robert "Bobby" Franks Home Under Massive Renovation

-posted by chicago pop

[Source for both images: http://www.facebook.com/FosterDesignBuild ]

As many have probably noticed now, one of the most glorious residential buildings in Hyde Park-Kenwood, empty for over a decade and seriously deteriorated, is being restored to its original exterior appearance. I've spent the last decade or so waiting for the wrecking ball to visit this one. Happily, I'm delighted to see that someone is taking a risk on it. Foster Design Build is taking on 5052 S. Ellis after having done similar work on another historic landmark building, 5040 S. Greenwood, next door and immediately to the north of Obama's home.

According to the developer:
The project consists of a complete renovation of approximately 10,000 square feet, including the adjacent coach house and garage. The boarded-up mansion has been in a state of disrepair for the last decade, with challenging conditions such as a leaking roof, broken windows and water pipes.

Berg says the most significant challenge with this renovation project will be restoring all of the individual components of the home so it appears as it was 100 years ago: “As was the case with our project next door to President Obama’s, we are again working on the details of this new project with the neighborhood group in Kenwood and the City of Chicago’s Department of Landmarks and Preservation.”
In magnificence, this residence overshadows its Presidential neighbor, but what a sorrowful history this building has, a history that seemed somehow suited to its recent state of dilapidation. It is a positive for the neighborhood, however, that it will be restored to its towering position on a  piece of gateway real estate.

Perhaps a mindful restoration and modernization, making it possible for a new family to make a life here, will be a sort of tribute to the happy moments that undoubtedly filled this building before the events of 1924.