Condo owners above MCA say its roof is no work of art
Loop North News

Streeterville 220 E Chicago Ave - MAP
Photo by Barbara Champion

(Above) View of the Museum of Contemporary Art rooftop from the eighth floor of a neighboring condominium. Photo by Barbara Champion. (Click on image to view larger version.)

Condo owners above MCA say its roof is no work of art

4-May-17 – Neighbors of Chicago’s Museum of Contemporary Art have no complaints about the exhibitions. It’s the roof of the museum they say has become an eyesore.

“An evolutionary creep of mechanical equipment has been plopped on the roof,” says Barbara Champion, a qualitative market researcher whose eighth-floor condo unit overlooks the MCA roof. “Unsightly cell towers, yellow chain link fencing, a jumble of other unidentifiable metal.”

She says when the nonprofit museum was proposed in the 1990s, its designers understood the roof of the low-rise structure would be especially visible to high-rise residents and so they made the roof aesthetically pleasing.

Aesthetics got especially worse over the past four months with construction of Marisol, the restaurant at MCA that will open in July.

Barbara Champion “Enormous HVAC and kitchen ventilator fans to service the venue are mounted on the roof – a big eyesore that obliterates the original five-sided design concept and poses the potential for noise and cooking odors blasting out to Pearson Street neighbors,” says Champion (left).

She calls it “blight” and predicts it will lower property values.

Neighbors from four condo buildings on East Pearson Street have banded together to raise concerns with MCA and 2nd Ward Alderman Brian Hopkins.

They want the equipment relocated and MCA to “keep its original promise to the city and to the community and to restore the roof to its original intent – a clean, aesthetically simple and beautiful design.”

They have spoken with an architect and heating/ventilation/air conditioning experts and say their requests are reasonable.

Champion says members of her building’s condo board met with the museum’s public relations representative and then later, Teresa Samala de Guzman, MCA’s Chief Operating Officer, along with a representative of the construction company, came up to her living room to see the roof first-hand.

“Even they seemed surprised by how awful it looks from my eighth-floor living room,” said Champion, with de Guzman telling her, she recalls, “On a blueprint the equipment just looked like small squares.”

According to Champion, Hopkins has written to MCA but she says once equipment on the roof needed for Marisol becomes operational, “we will have little chance of doing much of anything.”

By Steven Dahlman | Loop North News | sdahlman@loopnorth.com

Published 4-May-17 2:56 AM

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