What the hell is this place? Sedgwick Studio | What the hell is this place? | Chicago Reader

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What the hell is this place? Sedgwick Studio

The former substation now acts as a live-in studio for a trio of sculptors.


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Though 1544 N. Sedgwick lies beneath a Brown Line stop, its residents won't be filing noise complaints anytime soon. Built as a substation in the 1900s—and remaining as such until 1960—the building is now a live-in studio for three sculptors.

"We make more noise than the train does," 52-year-old occupant Michael Young explained.

The structure once held big transformers that converted alternating current to direct current and powered the Ravenswood line of Commonwealth Edison's railway. It sat vacant till around 1976, when a photographer used it as a studio for a year before selling it to the current owners.

Of the original sculptors who bought the place, only John Adduci still lives there. He is joined by Michael Young and Ted "Sitting Crow" Garner, as well as a couple other sculptors who rent rooms.

It has taken residents 35 years (and counting) to fill the holes where the transformers once were, drain the basement of four feet of water, and basically make the building livable. But the space, featuring high ceilings and an industrial feel, is a fitting place for an artist's 20- or 30-feet-high work of art.

For the residents, work life and home life are unusually inseparable.

"It's a studio and you can work any time you want," Adduci said. "One partner can't say, 'You can't work because I'm trying to sleep.'"

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