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A triumph of teamwork: newly-opened SoNo East apartment tower a lesson in the power, prudence of architectural collaboration (chicagotribune)
As the era of flashy buildings and “starchitects” fades, a new (or is it old?) emphasis is in the air: on teams of designers, not celebrity architects; on how a building is built and how it works, not just how it looks; and on how a building performs over time, not simply on opening day. The question is whether this point of view — call it the New Sobriety — is going to produce any good architecture.
There’s an encouraging answer on Chicago’s North Side, one that differs markedly from the contorted, computer-assisted skyscrapers of the recent past and recalls earlier, more pragmatic eras of Chicago architecture.
Just south of the North Avenue shopping strip, you find two muscular, elegantly-detailed boxes (above) — the 28-story SoNo West, a condo tower which was finished in 2009, and the 22-story SoNo East, a just-opened apartment building that is among the first byproducts of Chicago’s current apartment boomlet. Forget their pretentious, SoHo wannabe names. There’s a handsome straightforwardness to these architectural siblings. They reveal the good things that can happen when developers, general contractors and architects collaborate.
In this case, the developer and contractor are one and the same. …