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Best of Chicago 2009

Best Endangered Building

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The Reader's Choice: Michael Reese Modern

In the late 1940s Michael Reese Hospital undertook a major, multibuilding expansion intended to set a trend for institutional design and stimulate redevelopment of the hospital's south-side neighborhood. Loebl, Schlossman & Bennett were the primary local architects, but numerous others participated, and the project was inspired by the ideas of Bauhaus founder Walter Gropius. It was supervised by my uncle, Reginald Isaacs, Michael Reese's head of planning—so when Preservation Chicago put these graceful, humanely scaled buildings on their list of the city's most endangered treasures, I took notice. The threat is serious: the buildings stand on the proposed site of the Olympic Village. Chicago Modernism student Grahm Balkany and Preservation Chicago say about eight structures—roughly a third of the total on the Michael Reese campus—could be adapted for housing and other uses during the games and after, leaving the city with a functional cluster of "pioneering humanistic modern architecture."  29th to 31st and Ellis, preservationchicago.org/chicago7/2009/6_michael_reese.pdf. —Deanna Isaacs

&Our readers' choice: Uptown Theatre

 4816 N. Broadway, uptowntheatre.org.

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