One exciting innovation breaking the monotony of another Moore info-mercial was the creative use of paint described at the Pivot Point meeting. Moore continued his audacious practice, introduced recently at the Abel's info-mercial, of introducing his constituents to the developer's lobbyist, euphemistically introduced as a "zoning attorney," but the next speaker was the project's exterior painter. We could tell he was a great artist because he badly needed a shave. The painter described a special paint, brought all the way from Germany, in EUROPE, which he described as both innovative and new and also in use for hundreds of years in Germany without ever having pealed. It was explained to us that the paint will not peal, and, even if it did, the developers had generously agreed to place a legal covenant on the property, making it the problem of our new neighbors in the Pivot Point condos to maintain the paint in perpetuity. Thanks, guys!
Most of the following discussion in the Pivot Point meeting, lead by Moore plants, focused on the legal mechanism by which we can stick it to the condo association, rather than on the assault to our neighborhood.
Kopley said he had to remove the terra cotta panels on the exterior of the Pivot Point building because they were "hazardous to the public." Of course it's not the terra cotta that's hazardous, it's the terra cotta falling that's hazardous, and of course we neighbors have been treated to looking at the scaffolding around the Pivot Point for a decade. Techniques for safely affixing terra cotta to buildings are well-known, they are just too expensive for Kopley, too fancy for our neighborhood. Rather than restore the exterior, Kopley plans to PAINT it on.
As our real estate developers race to the bottom in their never-ending quest for cheaper ways to throw up condos, the technique of slapping a coat of sealant over poured concrete is becoming more and more widespread, particularly in unsophisticated neighborhoods were the citizenry doesn't know any better. The developers draw the neighbors into a discussion of the color scheme, and so a feeing of participation is instilled.
Here's a picture of the City of Evanston - Bristol Development project planned for across Howard
Like what you see? Don't be confused by the contrasting colors shown in the drawings. The browns and beiges in the drawing are not the result of two different styles of brick chosen to add visual interest. They are not even contrasting choices of concrete block. The colors are paint - paint on poured concrete.
Excerpt from the transcript of the testimony of Bristol Chicago Development L.L.C. before the Plan Commission of Evanston:
Commissioner [Albert] Hunter: Did you consider other surface materials ... other than painting the concrete?
Mr. [Jim] Curtain[, Solomon, Cordwell, Benz and Associates Architectural Firm]: Actually on this one the painted concrete works out very, very well .. We can get a lot of articulation within concrete.
Commissioner Hunter: I'm thinking also about the weathering and the elements with respect to painted concrete.
Mr. Curtain: The paint is ... actually a weather seal. It actually preserves the concrete. ...
Commissioner Hunter: This is not to me something which is an outstanding piece of architecture.
Trompe-l'œil (French for "trick the eye" from tromper - to deceive and l'œil - the eye; pronounced as "trom ploy") is an art technique involving extremely realistic imagery in order to create the optical illusion that the depicted objects really exist.
Here's a prominent Chicago example from N LaSalle on the near north side:
The use of tromp l'oeil technique is an exciting development for those interested in preserving some small hints of our neighborhood's history. These techniques could have much more wide-spread use. Perhaps when he is done with the Pivot Point building, Mr. Kopley could lend us his exterior paint artist for other projects in Rogers Park and beyond.
Perhaps we could ask Loyola if we could paint their Granada Center (recently renamed "Fordham Hall" in a further denial of our neighborhood's heritage by our good neighbor Loyola)
... to look like the Granada Theater
Perhaps we could paint Aldermanic pal "Chad" Zuric's massive condo project on Clark:
... to look like the Adelphi:
Perhaps we could paint the "rotunda" of Gateway Mall, just a few feet east of the Pivot Point building ...
... to look like the Affiliated Bank building, designed by Jens Jensen in 1930, which was demolished by DevCorp North and their partners in Gateway Mall, demolition funded by public property tax money from the Howard TIF.
When Aldermanic pal Jay Johnson lobbied the neighborhood for TIF funding to gut the Howard Theater, he pledged to restore the façade. Once his public taxpayer funding was secured, he decided it would be too expensive. Perhaps we could ask Jay to PAINT the light bulbs on.
Perhaps we could paint University Park to look like Maxwell Street.
The possibilities are endless.