Chicago & NYC historic buildings. A little history
From the very beginning, AIRE’s mission has been to recuperate not only age-old rituals to modern-day civilizations, but also to give life to historic buildings around the world; from Seville to New York City, from Chicago to Barcelona. These buildings’ resilience throughout the centuries makes them the ideal scenario to renovate the mind, body and soul.
We wanted to dedicate a post to these impressive structures and tell you a bit about some historic buildings you can find in New York City and Chicago.
35 E Wacker
The 35 East Wacker building is an impressive landmark built in 1927 right in the Loop. It’s also known as the Jewelers’ Building because, during the first 14 years there was a car lift installed that carried jewelry all throughout the first 23 floors. At the time, this 40-story building was thought to be one of the tallest buildings in the world outside of New York City.
It has been widely represented in pop-culture, featuring in movies such as the 2005 film Batman Begins and the award-winning TV series The Good Wife. The upper dome once held the Stratosphere Club, a restaurant that according to urban legends was run by Al Capone.
Astor Street District
More than just a building, this is an exhibition of astonishing architectural styles with more than 100 years in the making. Designated a Chicago Landmark in late 1975, this row of townhouses clearly represents former high-society residents’ tastes ranging from Richardsonian Romanesque to Georgian Revival and Queen Anne styles.
The street was named in honor of John Jacob Astor, founder of the American Fur Company and one of America’s richest citizens who actually never even lived in Chicago. His notoriety gave a sense of luxury to the area, attracting flocks of wealthy Chicagoans. One of its most notable residents was Robert Todd Lincoln, the only surviving child of president Abraham Lincoln and his wife, Mary Todd.
River West Plaza
Although it’s not a Chicago Landmark, River West Plaza is a building shrouded in history. Built in 1902 and designed by Hill & Woltersdorf, it was once the home of the DeVoe & Raynold’s Paint Company. Each one of its eight high-ceiling floors served a purpose: the first one being dedicated to retail artists’ materials; the second, to model finishes; and the sixth one as an ample office space for workers. This space was specifically designed to have an open concept feel where cooperation would be at the forefront –kind of like a century-old co-working space.
Since the 80s, companies started using the 4-building fire-proof complex as office spaces and nowadays it houses AIRE’s Chicago location. AIRE has respected the industrial feel of the space with exposed brick walls, wooden beams and steel columns, making guests feel as if they were traveling back in time.
New York City
It’s no mystery why this 285-foot tall building built in 1902 is considered to be one of the world’s most iconic skyscrapers. It’s unusual triangular floor-plan and height made it a unique structure that stood out in an area mostly dominated by low-rise blocky buildings.
New Yorkers had mixed feelings at the time, but artists embraced its quirkiness and made it become a New York icon. Starring in movies such as Godzilla, Spider-Man or in shows such as Friends and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, the Flatiron has truly left an impact on the entire world.
Manhattan’s Central Synagogue is the state of New York’s oldest congregation in continuous use. This 1870s temple was inspired by Budapest’s Dohány Street Synagogue, following Moorish Revival styles, making it a unique building among skyscrapers. Although, the contrast is not only notable on the outside; once you cross the doors, you can delight yourself with the vivid Gothic interior.
88 Franklin Building
This neo-Grec style structure from the late 19th century was initially designed as a loft and commercial building. It replaced a previous masonry dwelling that housed Aaron Jacobs’ textile company in the 1860s. More than a century later, the building was renovated into an art gallery, covering up any sign of the original characteristics from its renovation in the 1920s after a fire. Due to budget issues, parts of the Triborough Bridge were used in reconstructing the building, and thanks to AIRE’s restoration, these features can now be seen by guests who come to enjoy a relaxing spa retreat.