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Origins of Chicago Common Brick: Examining a Masonry Shell Encasing a New Ando Museum

Authors: Daniel Joseph Whittaker


This paper examines the broad array of historic sites from which Chicago common brick has emerged, and the methods this brick has been utilized within and around a new hybrid structure recently completed-and periodically opened to the public, as a private art, architecture, design, and social activism gallery space. Various technical aspects regarding the structural and aesthetic reuse methods of salvaged brick within the interior and exterior of this new Tadao Ando-designed building in Lincoln Park, Chicago, are explored. This paper expands specifically upon the multiple possible origins of Chicago common brick, as well as the extant brick currently composing the surrounding alley which is integral to demarcating the southern site boundary of the old apartment building now gallery. Themes encompassing Chicago’s archeological and architectural history, local resource extraction, and labor practices permeate this paper’s investigation into urban, social and architectural history and building construction technology advancements through time.

Keywords: Masonry construction, history brickmaking, private museums, Chicago Illinois, Tadao Ando.

Digital Object Identifier (DOI):

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