Restoration: Resurrecting the Dead

Justin Jurek

Details of wrought iron on the Sullivan Center, Chicago, IL

Details of wrought iron on the Sullivan Center, Chicago, IL

There is something wonderful in the restoration and repurposing of old buildings. Like cleaning the tarnish off Grandma’s old silverware, an object (or structure) that appeared sad and dilapidated suddenly regains it’s youthful purpose and vigor. These things add texture and weight to a home or city.

They quietly remind modern denizens of a place that they are part of a larger story and offer a touch of stability and comfort in increasingly frantic and frenzied times. They are the anchors.

Such is the case with the former Carson Pirie Scott & Co. building on the corner of State and Madison in Chicago. A magnificent example of the work of renowned architect Louis Sullivan, the building had fallen into disrepair over its years of existence as a department store. Joseph Freed and Associates has done a remarkable job cleaning up the old lady. She looks as fresh-faced and trim as she did in 1871.


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