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August 2009 – The Babuk Report

Month: August 2009

  • Other Coach Houses in Oak Park

    Once, in a fit to buy an inexpensive though highly presentable company car for my practice, I came across a restored 1965 Chrysler Crown Imperial convertible.  Trouble is, we live on that side of Oak Park where garages are accessible off of alleys; our alley surveys at sixteen feet (about 5.2) metres across.  I thought […]

  • Barn Doors, Department Stores, Kiddie Monorails and Urban Transit Systems

    Some time ago, I was at a friend’s office and noticed a photograph on his desk. It almost seemed like something ‘photoshopped’ – it showed a bright, shiny metal tube with children, buzzing overtop the sales aisles of a department store.  It was real – the photo was an image of the late 1940’s of […]

  • The Vancouver “Laneway” House

    Within the last year, the City of Vancouver (British Columbia) recently amended the City’s zoning ordinance to permit coach, or “laneway” houses to be built along back alleys (rear lanes) in certain areas.  In a  nutshell; in specific single family zoned areas, on lots 33’ (about 10.8 metres) or wider that have a back alley […]

  • The Running of the Lions in Chicago

    Ernest Hemmingway came from Oak Park; he wrote about the running of the bulls in Pamplona, Spain. I’m wondering about the running of the lions in Chicago…. Here, we have the Lion of the Art Institute of Chicago, guarding the main entrance on Michigan Avenue, Facing Adams Street… And here, we have a lion crafted […]

  • … and even more “almost Frank” kind of houses

    As follow up to a previous post about William Street in River Forest, the street with an entire block of houses that might – or might not – be designed by Frank Lloyd Wright; the three Flori Blondeel Houses in Oak Park look very Frank Lloyd Wright – especially in the way they relate to each […]

  • Another British Car Question

    During a recent Scottish Motor Club event, a visitor asked the question “what cars are there are still British made and British owned?”  2003 Lotus Elise We rattled off all sorts of British companies and marques with disappoint results.  MG isn’t.  Jaguar and Rover are both owned by the Indian company, TATA.  For the moment, […]

  • A curious street in River Forest

    While some like to think that history has uncovered everything that it will, some still keep finding secrets to be told. Are they, or aren’t they…? The houses of the 700 block of William Street in River Forest seem different from their large, revivalist neighbours.  The two dozen or so small, simple houses are… Prairie […]

  • Saturday, in the Park…

    Years ago, the Chicago-born rock group “Chicago” had a sit single “Saturday, in the Park”.  It described what was seemingly an idyllic weekend day in Chicago’s Lincoln Park.  These kinds of days happen all the time in Chicago, witness this last weekend. Cloud Gate, otherwise known as ‘The Bean” Friends from Toronto called the night […]

  • A River Runs Through It, and the Malibu Supper Club

    I used to fly out of Gallatin Field in Belgrade, Montana quite a bit as a student.  During my terms of office with the American Institute of Architecture Students, Gallatin Field became a regular point of departure / point of entry for trips to the east coast and other points.  My alma mater, Montana State […]

  • More Walls Talking – Vacant Storefronts

    The current economic doldrums have brought out all sorts of vacant storefronts – not just a tell tale of the economy, but a fascinating take on urban anthropology. At first glance, they would indicate that the economy is down, that the activity that previously existed at that location fell victim to a recession.  Any retail […]