Architecture and progress have always gone hand-in-hand in Chicago. From the post-fire redevelopment to the Columbian Exposition to the first skyscrapers and the famous architects to continual reinvention across the neighborhoods, forward progress has always been on the minds of our leaders. But when does it go too far?
Before and After looks at old houses, churches and buildings around the city and what replaces them when they are knocked down. Many of these buildings are abandoned. Some are in disrepair. And nearly all were the aspirations of the new, early- to mid-20th century middle class. In many cases, what’s replacing them would be out of reach for those same people. And where uniqueness, design and decoration once stood, brick, bland siding and conformity often rise in their place. The side-by-side presentation implores the audience to ask is progress about turning one’s back on what came before, no matter how beautiful, loved or even neglected? Or is it about reimagining things as bigger, better and with a greater purpose?