In the early days of architecture when labor and materials were relatively inexpensive, even city utility buildings were dressed in the latest style. Today, new utility installations are bid out and the lowest bid accepted with no regard for the aesthetics of the installation but instead based on price and function alone. As the population increased so did the need for larger, more functional utilities, which needs rapidly outgrew the buildings in which they were formerly housed. The electrical substations today, made up of huge open coils, transformers, pipes and wiring on fenced-in concrete pads create a public eyesore in comparison to the lovely Art Deco era when they were encased inside building walls that were carefully decorated in the architectural style of the day, making them a welcome addition to their respective neighborhoods. No longer a simple operation, there are three types of these open air facilities; one to increase voltage, one to decrease voltage and the third to distribute the correct amount of voltage to the places where needed.
With the changing needs incurred by population growth, the original architect-designed utility buildings were left empty. Realizing the architectural value by developers, the cities began selling these now unwanted buildings to contractors, business owners and potential homeowners for repurposing. Such is the case with this former electric substation in downtown Chicago whose residential buyer retained the fine Art Deco facades and turned the building into a contemporary mansion.
Now one of the city’s most expensive and glamorous homes, the 15,000-square-foot building is cutting-edge contemporary with its original Art Deco facade incorporated into the design. With wide open interior spaces, beautiful views and lots of sunlight, the six-bedroom, seven-bath home has light wells, terraces, atria, a large front lawn, swimming pool and patio. At over four stories, it has an elevator, a rooftop greenhouse, two kitchens, a fitness space, large wine cellar tasting room and a four-car garage.
Chicago’s Prairie style Art Deco former electric company substation turned elegant urban contemporary is priced at $9.99 million - reduced from $13.9 million. The listing agent is Emily Sachs Wong of @properties in Chicago.
Photo credit: @properties
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