Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Art on the Roosevelt Road Bridge



Roosevelt Road Bridge..
Constructed: 1929
Rehabilitated: 1994
Sculptor: Miklos Simon
There is a bascule bridge over South Branch Chicago River on Roosevelt Road..

 
Thanks to Alan Gornik.. for information on these sculptures..
 
There are obelisks of three sizes, towering fluted lampposts, finely detailed planters and retaining walls, handrails that incorporate a miniature version of the Chicago "Y" found at Congress Plaza, and sculptures by Miklos Simon, which are (among other things) likenesses of books, dolphins and celestial navigation instruments..


















Some more images of the sculptures..














Ram's heads atop bridgehouses..
Also interesting are these garlanded Ram's heads, on top of the bridgehouses..
These are very similar to the ornamentation atop the Michigan Avenue bridgehouses.. Are these Egyptian influence on Chicago's art scene, where Ram's head is often used to depict the Egyptian sun God, Amun. The discovery of Tutankhamen's tomb in 1922, had it's influence on everything, and Chicago was no exception. There is also the stepped pyramid-like formation. These are just my guesses. I have not found any information on these.







View of the 18th Street bridge..
The Roosevelt bridge also provides an outstanding view of the 18th Street bridge, a beautiful Bascule bridge over South Branch Chicago River..

For more on the Roosevelt Road bridge.. click here..

4 comments:

adgorn said...

Found this info from an article by Blair Kamin, Tribune Architecture Critic, Aug 6, 1995. Here are relevant excerpts from the lengthy article. Alan
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"The most ambitious of the neighborhood projects has produced a new, but entirely old-looking, bridge where Roosevelt Road stretches over the Dearborn Park neighborhood as well as Metra and Amtrak railroad tracks on the Near South Side.

More than 1,500 feet long and decorated with obelisks and sculptures that represent nearby institutions (dolphins for the Shedd Aquarium, books for the University of Illinois at Chicago), the span reminds us how far we've come from the dogma of the modern movement, which likened ornament to a crime.

But their most intriguing project is the $42 million Roosevelt Road bridge. It leads to Daley's new neighborhood, Central Station, and replaced a portion of a bridge constructed in the late 1920s when it was completed earlier this year.

The bridge is an aesthetic flashpoint because of its abundant use of classicism, which would have been unthinkable when architects were under the sway of the modern movement four decades ago.

There are obelisks of three sizes, towering fluted lampposts, finely detailed planters and retaining walls, handrails that incorporate a miniature version of the Chicago "Y" found at Congress Plaza, and sculptures by Miklos Simon, which are (among other things) likenesses of books, dolphins and celestial navigation instruments.

The design, by DLK's Diane Legge Kemp, raises questions about the propriety of employing such forms today. Some in the avant-garde point to their use as a failure of architectural nerve and a tacit admission that American culture has lost its faith in the future.

It is altogether proper, then, that the bridge has unusual features such as traffic lanes reserved for bicycles and that its decorative elements break down its massiveness in a way that gives it a human scale compatible with Dearborn Park.

The many obelisks, which suggest the profile of a suspension bridge, create pleasing rhythms that appeal to both the driver and the pedestrian. And the sculptures emphasize the bridge's link between the University of Illinois and three lakefront cultural institutions that eventually will be part of a museum campus uninterrupted by Lake Shore Drive--the Shedd Aquarium (dolphins), the Field Museum (prehistoric creatures including mastodons) and the Adler Planetarium (a celestial navigation instrument known as an astrolabe)."

Jyoti said...

Alan,
I cant thank you enough for this information.
Now it makes perfect sense.. The aquarium, the planetarium and the museum... all reflected in these sculptures. Now I like it even more!!!
Thanks again Alan!

Dees Stribling said...

I ran across the art on this bridge a few years ago, and wondered about it too. Blair Kamin's article must not have been archived at the Trib web site. So I'm glad to finally read about it.

Jyoti said...

Thanks Dees Stribling, for your visit and comment.