Deco Design

Tucked away at the very end of the 172’s route sits the Powhatan, a distinctive Art Deco building. It can be identified from blocks away by its distinctive crenellations along the roof and the painted terra cotta panels between windows, stretching up from floor to floor. The inside of the building, built in 1929 by Robert S. DeGolyer and Charles Morgan (a student of Frank Lloyd Wright’s), is just as distinctive. The building’s lobby and indoor swimming pool feature ornate tile mosaics featuring Art Deco women in the styles of Alfons Mucha and more abstract compositions of shapes à la Frank Lloyd Wright.

The Powhatan, along with over 150 other buildings in the South Side and beyond, opened its doors to visitors this past weekend as part of Open House Chicago, a free public event organized by the Chicago Architecture Foundation.

The Hyde Park Bank takes up much of the block south of the highly-anticipated Harper Court on 53rd street. The Hyde Park Bank also boasts a rather impressive façade, though it is easily overlooked because the storefronts at street level distract from the imposing arch shaped windows on the lower levels. Inside the bank, the immense windows are again eclipsed by the sumptuous ornate gold plated ceiling and chandeliers. Though the light doesn’t seem natural, the twinkling glow from the high golden ceiling makes the room feel almost churchlike in its grandeur.

Open House Chicago, by opening up buildings to the public, gave residents a chance to appreciate the hidden gems in their own neighborhood, as well as in other neighborhoods citywide to truly understand the historic character of the city.