Today’s building is the Krause Music Store located at 4611 Lincoln Ave. in Lincoln Square.
Talk about a building I myself have walked by a million times before I realized it’s significance. Even before I became a docent I noticed this beautiful building, it struck me because it doesn’t look like any building around it. Leave it to Sullivan to place a jewel in this far-from-the-Loop neighborhood. I don’t mean to sound like a total nerd here, but look at that picture! Doesn’t it just make your heart sing? Just a little bit?
Louis Sullivan designed the facade of the building that was built by architect, William Presto (Presto!) in 1922. It was his last commission before his death and I just think it’s one of his prettiest. Clad in terra cotta (basically a baked clay) the excellent, intricate design frames the large retail window, bringing your eye to the goods being sold inside. Even though the building is smaller than the ones that surround it, the Krause store seems to stand taller and larger because of its awesome.
Sullivan also did such a great job of keeping this building in scale to the neighborhood. He didn’t design some crazy facade that would usurp the street and the other buildings; he kept it small, compact and lovely. When I walk by it, it doesn’t shock me into looking at it, it kind of whispers “look in here.” The building’s strongest architectural component, the letter “K” rising like Everest over the top of the roof almost goes unnoticed as our eyes are drawn to the inside of the store. I love the recess at the bottom. It automatically makes you want to walk underneath and look in the windows.
This was Sullivan’s last commission before his death, dying alone and in poverty, oh it just breaks my heart. Others didn’t quite see the value of the building, saying the building is “not among Sullivan’s best work, but more spirited than most architects would do.” And this to me, is Sullivan in a nutshell. This guy didn’t half-ass, that’s for sure.
The building was restored in 2006 and now there is a viable apartment above the main floor. I want to live there. How do I command that apartment? I think I’d have to do it like a New Yorker, just stand there and wait for someone to die.
I’ll do it too. Just watch me.