A couple of days ago we told you that demolition and construction permits have been issued so that the surface parking lot at 816 North Clark Street could be replaced by a Mormon house of worship. Since then, we’ve heard from the local Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints spokeswoman, who provided us with renderings of what the new building will look like.
As you can see, it’s quite conservative, with lots of brick atop a limestone base. It also has the nice verticality of the first post-Illinois Mormon temple in Saint George, Utah. A lot of LDS buildings these days are low and flat with a single punctuating spire. This one uses full-height arched windows and recessed channels to make it seem taller than its seven stories, and then we still get a nice spire on top. Illuminated? Let’s hope so.
Unless you end up living next door at 810 North Clark, the residential tower going up hard against the Mormon structure. It’s not shown in the renderings, but will take the place of the two small generic buildings to the left of the chapel. It’s a very glassy white box from Hartshorne Plunkard Architecture, and if you play your cards right, the view from your home could be looking straight into a spire.
At first blush, it seems like a bad thing. But then, think about how many terrible views there are in Chicago, where apartments have expansive views of… brick walls, or illegal Rent Now signs, or L tracks. Having a steeple as a focal point might be urban and quirky, like Friends. Or urban and edgy like Gotham.
Either way, the new building is officially a “chapel,” and will accommodate several local LDS congregations on Sundays, plus provide meeting and activity space during the week. It was designed by David Dixon of Dixon+Associates, and will have three levels of office and meeting space above four levels of parking. Completion is expected in fall of 2017.