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Hyde Park, Woodlawn, South Shore

Promontory Apartments, Mies Van Der Rohe’s First High-Rise, Takes First Step Toward Becoming A Chicago Landmark

The nation's first example of International Style architecture received a unanimous first recommendation from the Commission on Chicago Landmarks.

The Promontory Apartments
Eric Allix Rogers; Maxwell Evans
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HYDE PARK — The Promontory Apartments at 5530 S. South Shore Drive has received preliminary landmark status from the Commission on Chicago Landmarks.

Its designation was unanimously approved by the commission on Thursday. The building is now protected from significant changes and demolition.

Credit: Teemu008/Flickr

The tower was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1996. The building is legendary architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe’s first high-rise and is considered the nation’s first example of the International Style.

The International Style is “not dependent on ornament,” Promontory Apartments board member David Fleener said. “It uses the structure and materials in proportion to derive its aesthetic.”

The Promontory Apartments board began seeking Chicago Landmark status in 2015, Fleener said.

Credit: Courtesy of the Department of Planning and Development
The Promontory Apartments, left, designed by Mies van der Rohe.

There are a slew of economic incentives toward improving the building if it’s approved as a landmark.

The commission will now weigh a final recommendation through a process that typically takes six to nine months, before sending it to City Council for approval.

The council has up to a year to act on the recommendation, but rarely takes that long.

Chicago Landmark status is “an honor we think the building deserves,” Fleener said.

Credit: Eric Allix Rogers/Flickr
Promontory Apartments (1947), the first Mies van der Rohe high rise ever built, along the lakefront south of 55th Street.

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