Facadism Redux: How Many Planners Does It Take to Skin a Landmark?

img_exterior.jpg Apparently eight, if the Chicago Tribune’s story is any indication. The Chicago Commission on Landmarks voted to permit Prism Development Co. to extract the limestone facade of the 1920s Farwell Building (formerly the Terra Museum of American Art) on Chicago’s Magnificent Mile. The company would destruct the 11-story edifice, construct a new building and re-adhere the facade. In January the commission rejected Prism’s plans, but now they’ve changed their minds because they see no other way to rescue the Art Deco Farwell front, which is being held together by metal pins since the original framing has corroded. Still preservationists are not happy, including Landmarks Illinois President David Bahlman, who told the commissioners:

“Despite the well-documented condition of the building’s cladding, we cannot sanction the wholesale demolition of a landmark building.”

We agree. Sure you can remove the coat of an apple, but try re-applying the skin to a rotten core. Just makes you want to throw the whole thing away.