Saturday, April 3, 2010

The eyeslit window apartments

If you've ever driven west on Foster, out toward Harlem Avenue, you've surely noticed these two remarkable apartment buildings, standing on the angled block where Foster Place briefly splits off from Foster Avenue.

5133 N. Neva Avenue

7111 W. Foster Place - front

They are 5133 N. Neva Avenue (top) and 7111 W. Foster Place (bottom). Built around 1964, they were designed by one Lee N. Romano, a planner, designer and builder who ran his own eponymous company, founded in 1950. They seem to be his most notable buildings, as very little information can be found about him otherwise. But hey, a guy could do far worse than to leave these MidCentury explosions as a legacy.

Eyelid window

Those unmistakable eyelid stained glass windows set the tone of the place. They reappear as a motif in several spots, like the fake balconies...

Eyelid window faux balcony railings

The main entry doors...

Eyelid window doors

...And even the interior doors, which have their own miniature version of the big window.

Eyelid window doors, along with eyelid window doors

Those big windows cast a beautiful light into the tiny lobby space on a sunny day. It'd be hard to live here and not get a little smile on your face every time you walked out the front door.

Eyelid lightbeam

They didn't seem to know just what to do with the backside, but hey, who in Chicago ever does? Lacking a better option, they made it into a little courtyard with a castle wall fence thing. Why not?


Chris said...

That almond shaped window is known as a mandorla, which dates back to the Medieval era. It typically enclosed the figure of Jesus Christ. Interesting to see the historic shape utilized in this way.

Anonymous said...

rThis article brings back so many wonderful memorie of my father. His buildings look as if they were built today, simply beautiful.

Anonymous said...

It's amazing to see my dad's buildings today, as I was only 2 years old back then. When visiting these buildings back in May it was amazing to see the detail work and the workmanship, that I can imagine his detail work and vision was ahead of its time. It's astonishing to look at these buildings and think they were built in 1964, they look as if they were built yesterday!