New exhibition space Wrightwood 659 taps a design luminary for its North Side digs.
The exterior of Wrightwood 659. (Photo © Jeff Goldberg—Esto)
There are renovations, and there are overhauls for the ages. Pritzker Prize-winning architect Tadao Ando has pulled off the latter as designer of Wrightwood 659, removing the entire interior of a four-story, 1920s-era Lincoln Park apartment building and inserting a new steel and reinforced-concrete structure to house 18,000 square feet of exhibition space spotlighting architecture and socially engaged art.
“Ando is renowned for his conversions of existing buildings—for example, the Punta della Dogana museum in Venice,” notes Wrightwood 659 co-founder Dan Whittaker. “When Ando encounters an existing building, he designs around it or within it, but never takes away from the original.” Indeed, Ando has electrified his source material, including erecting a glass rooftop pavilion permitting stunning city vistas to the south.
The atrium of Wrightwood 659. (Photo © Jeff Goldberg—Esto)
For passers-by, it can only entice exploration that doesn’t disappoint. Describes Whittaker, “When entering what appears to be a traditional building… visitors first encounter a soaring atrium with a grand staircase. A luminous, expansive space that extends to all four floors, it is at once peaceful and awe-inspiring.” Ando and Le Corbusier: Masters of Architecture runs through Dec. 15, 659 W. Wrightwood Ave., 773.437.6601