Wednesday, January 23, 2013

A Look Inside the Retro Ebony/Jet Building at 820 S. Michigan

Remember when Columbia College bought the Ebony/Jet building at 820 S. Michigan?  That was in December 2010.

WBEZ writer Lee Bey recently had a fascinating look at and in the building as well as some updates on what Columbia plans to do with the building.  Most interesting to us were the pics of the incredible interiors:
When it opened in 1972, the Ebony/Jet Building was a buttoned-down and conservative addition to south Michigan Avenue; an elegant, modernist rectangle overlooking Grant Park with the same dignity found in the magazines published in the building.
But that was the exterior. Behind pioneering black architect John Moutoussamy's four walls were offices designed with an exuberant, high-style and fearless mix of a color, texture, art, contemporary furnishings and pattern. Created by interior designers William Raiser/Arthur Elrod, the offices embodied an afrocentric modernism that was well-turned, avant garde and quite hip--a perfect match for publisher John H. Johnson's groundbreaking magazines.

Definitely worth a click at least to see the pictures of the interior.  If you're interested in the future of the building it's also worth a click.  Here is a quick highlight paragraph:
In one of the more notable modernist architectural saves in the country right now, Columbia will restore and convert the Ebony/Jet Building into the John H. & Eunice W. Johnson Center, the first seven floors of which will be a library. The college described the planned new facility as a "nimble, technologically-capable, interactive center comprising visual art, digital books, photography, and other compilations." Columbia's Center for Black Music Research will be housed there also. 
Also of note is that the sign on top of the building will be staying.

(Hat tip:  BH!)

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