The Loop is a visual feast of world-famous buildings, but it also offers rare cases of aesthetic indigestion.
1. Monadnock Building, 53 W. Jackson Blvd. -- An unadorned wonder, with thick brick walls that curve inward and upward to suggest an Egyptian pylon. Tribune photos by Alex Garcia.
2. Carson Pirie Scott & Co., 1 S. State St. -- One of the great Louis Sullivan's greatest buildings, its lush, nature-inspired ornament designed to beautify the street and draw in customers. Tribune file photo.
3. Chicago Board of Trade Building, 141 W. Jackson Blvd. -- The summit of Art Deco elegance, complete with a pyramidal roof crowned by an aluminum statue of Ceres, the Roman goddess of agriculture.
4. Richard J. Daley Center, block bounded by Washington, Randolph, Dearborn and Clark Streets -- Perhaps the finest Mies van der Rohe-style building not designed by Mies himself. The chief architect? Jacques Brownson.
5. Inland Steel Building, 30 W. Monroe St. -- This elegant, innovative 19-story office tower was Chicago's first completely air-conditioned building and pioneer in the use of stainless steel as an exterior material. Built in 1958, it remains much-admired today.
1. The Mr. Submarine building, 18 W. Jackson Blvd. -- Ouch! The sign-plastered exterior is further maligned by the neo-asphalt panels and the blank wall along the alley.
2. The Roberto's building, 214 S. State St. -- How many times do we need to be told the store's name? In this case, three times, each in a different style. It's hard to croon "State Street -- That Great Street" about this one.
3. The parking deck at 332 S. Wabash Ave. -- The Loop has plenty of eyesore parking lots, but this one, with its exposed concrete frame and garish yellow railings, is one of the sorest.
4. Harold Washington College, 30 E. Lake St. -- Third-rate, trickle-down modernism.
5. The Walgreens building, 151 N. State St. -- It's hard to believe that this two-story clunker occupies the same site as the grand old Masonic Temple, a gable-topped cloud-buster that once reigned as Chicago's tallest building. (The demolished Masonic Temple, by the way, was the model for architect Philip Johnson's 190 S. LaSalle St. office building of 1987.)
Beauties and beasts
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