In a city awash in value-engineered rectangles on squares, a new project from O.G. Chicago architect Lucien Lagrange is a welcome change. Nahla Capital has filed paperwork with the city to build 40 West Oak, a new 35-story residential tower on Oak between Clark and Dearborn Streets.
It was almost exactly a year ago that we told you the Warren Barr Pavilion’s parking garage was going to make way for a 75-unit condominium building overlooking the Newberry Library. The new building includes a 160-car parking garage, which will be shared with the Barr residents to make up for the loss of their existing parking.
Even though this building is in Chicago’s Near North neighborhood, residents will feel like they’re in the Gold Coast. Not just because this building will be clad in granite and limestone instead of cheap pre-cast concrete panels. But because they get to brag about living in a Lucien Lagrange-designed building.
We regularly hear people who live down near 50-somethingth Street complain that Mr. Lagrange’s designs have about as much to do with Chicago as Cinderella’s Castle at Disney World has to do with Bavaria. But the truth is that the Lagrange style only appears to be a Belle Époque ripoff to people who have forgotten that Chicago’s Gold Coast used to be lousy with mansard roofs, wrought iron balustrades, and carriage houses with actual carriages in them. That Lagrange has found a niche serving those who long for something different, something historic, and something resembling a slice of Chicago culture past speaks to the conditions of the market, and not to any deficiencies in the imagination of the person who created them. Diversity in the skyline is what keeps Chicago from looking like Vancouver.
Here are the details: