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Thursday, March 31, 2016 08:55 am

More jet-age wonders

Space limitations kept me from discussing all of Springfield's International Style buildings in my recent column on jet-age architecture. You’d think that the basic building model for the state fair and similar expositions is the barn, and so it is at the state fairgrounds, but one of the barns at the Illinois State Fairgrounds is a jet-age barn -- the Illinois Building, which was completed in 1950 to plans drawn up by the Chicago firm of Loebl, Schlossman and Bennett. It’s just a pavilion really, and seems unfinished in parts, although it has a nice small auditorium. 

One's view of it from the street is obscured by trees -- State of Illinois has landscaped the grounds as if the building was a mountain lodge --the grounds are cluttered by bric-a-brac and the street furniture is jarringly Olde Timey. Spruced up and relocated downtown or in one of the motel malls along the interstates, the Illinois Building would make a nice venue for small conventions and exhibitions.

The Illinois Building would sit very nice next to the Horace Mann Building, for example, if that firm could have borne giving up one of its parking lots. The Horace Mann, of course, is itself an International Style work by Minoru Yamasaki. The International Style was wildly popular for such temporary residences as airport terminal and motels. The main terminal of what is now Lambert-St. Louis International Airport,  a trend-setter when it opened in 1956, also was designed by Yamasaki. I’ve always wondered if Horace Mann executives weren’t made aware of Yamasaki as they traipsed through Lambert on their ways to and from Springfield. 


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