Chicago Prize 2005

Details for the Chicago Architectural Club's 2005 Chicago Prize have been posted on CAC's web page and featured in a Chicago Sun-Times article. The competition "challenges entrants to salvage a part of Chicago's urban fabric, the industrial water tank, through creative reuse and preservation." Mayor Daley feels that "These water tanks are part of the visual history of Chicago's skyline", so they should be preserved. Since the competition is a collaboration between the City of Chicago Department of Environment alongside Cultural Affairs, Planning and Development and the CAC, sustainable applications are mentioned as positive responses.

In Chicago, water tanks aren't as ubiquitous as Manhattan, where in places like SoHo they litter the albeit skyline. Rachel Whiteread even paid hommage to these rooftop elements by creating and installing a temporary translucent resin cast of a tank in that fashionable New York neighborhood.

When I think of water tanks, what immediately pops into my mind is the bright red one at the corner of Grand and St. Clair just east of Michigan Avenue (below). While the color and logo are basically advertising for Optimus, it's nevertheless a memorable gesture that is mentioned as one approach to treating water tanks by Sadhu Johnston, the acting Environment Department commissioner, in the Sun-Times article.

Missing image - watertank.jpg

And again our Mayor (almost) gets what he wants*, bringing Thom Mayne into the Chicago fold to chair the competition jury.

*I'm referring to the Mayor toying around with Mayne that Chicago needs to add to its collection of buildings by Pritzker Prize winners (currently Gehry & Koolhaas and soon Piano), during Daley's speech at the prize ceremony a month ago.

(via Archinect)