City Moves to Preserve Water Tanks

You may remember that last month our own Steven Downs published this photo in a post titled “Alley & Blue.” I thought (and still think) it’s a great look at a ubiquitous, overlooked element of our cityscape.

Fortunately, the water tanks are not going to be overlooked for much longer. Earlier this week, the Daley Administration and the Chicago Architectural Club announced that they’ve launched a competition to preserve them.

From their website:

“The purpose of this project is to promote awareness of urban water tanks within the City of Chicago and to encourage their
preservation either as artifacts, or through creative reuse.

The majority of water tanks in Chicago were erected as gravity tanks for fire-suppressant systems, some of which are still in use. However, with changing technologies many tanks have become redundant and are now disused. . .

While these tanks are private property they have long contributed to the urban flavor of Chicago and their disappearance is a civic injury suffered by all.”

The winning entry gets $3500 (and the satisfaction of knowing they helped preserve part of our city’s character). Applications are due October 11.

Sun-Times article by architecture critic Kevin Nance on competition here.

(Btw, the website for the competition includes a ton of photos of the water tanks throughout the city. None captures the found, dreamy beauty of the tanks as well as the one Steven took above.)

1 Comment so far

  1. steven (unregistered) on June 30th, 2005 @ 11:36 am


    What a great idea to preserve a reminder of the past.

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