Squares, Pyramids, and Fishes

Building Chicago Avenue Design

Stefan Edlis describes the architectural materials and forms employed by Josef Paul Kleihues for the Chicago Avenue building.

First of all, it's an homage to the square. That's a classic position. And it was—he was reaching for a surface that would be both noble and unique. And he came up with cast aluminum. Initially it was going to be cast lead, which was way too heavy. And it was very difficult to get done, because he initially had the idea that you would cast the plates and leave the imperfections of the pour on the surfaces, which of course really didn't work. We had many back-and-forths. Then he came up with the idea of having these little pyramid shapes. Architects also like to have a theme, and this was the fish shape, the lozenge shape that you see, even on the elevator doors, and you also see them on the base of the stairways. And, of course, the pond itself. And I respect that, and that needs to be respected.

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