I wish to never experience a world where the feelings being surfaced while looking at these photos are brought to bear. Unease, fear, discomfort, a sense of foreboding, to name a few. So obviously, I had to shoot it in infrared, in freezing temperatures and wind, with little to no sun. Why not…
The famous decommissioned Chicago Post Office, starring in Batman’s Dark Night, is one such place. The omnipresent art deco architecture of the exuberant pre-war era, combined with industrialism and enormous size just do not mix in a pleasant manner.
This two and a half million square foot behemoth is being gutted and refinished into office space, its enormous grand lobby restored to its original glory from a hundred years ago and all the floor space brought up to today’s standard for office needs (will there be any need with what the pandemic has done to us all?). What a bizarre piece of architectural prowess this is: not only is it enormous, but this building also has a train line and one of Chicago’s busiest expressways running right under it as seen in the photo below with the elevated 8-lane I-290 Eisenhower expressway (The Ike) diving straight into the bowels of the building! This point is also the actual end of the I-290 where it turns into a regular Chicago’s street (Ida Wells) as soon as it passes the river in the other side of the Post Office complex.
Once they fully open the building with all planned food court amenities and everything, I will surely pay a photography-oriented visit to this officially recognized national landmark. I do hope there will be some kind of guided visitor tours.
A funny story: when they were shooting Batman: Dark Night, as the actors were jumping from one building and onto the Post Office’s roof, that glass building, just north of the PO was my old office, 300 S Riverside. They took one of the windows out during the shoot and stretched a zip line between them for the cameras and stuntmen. Quite an elaborate rig, given that this scene in the movie lasted mere few seconds.