Like a lot of Chicagoans, I’m something of an architecture nerd. Being proud of this town’s skyline and the engineering that went into it is second nature to Windy City natives, but we don’t often slow down to take a close look at the stories behind the world-famous postwar modern styles. It’s an international story: the likes of Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, Bertrand Goldberg and Walter Netsch will not likely appear again, but their work as a whole forms the visual and functional vocabulary associated with modernism the world over.
Filmmaker Nathan Eddy’s documentary The Absent Column explores the story behind Chicago’s Prentice Women’s Hospital Building a 1975 Goldberg building in the brutalist style. Colleagues of the architect as well as preservationists have faced off over the fate of this half-bunker-half-flower structure, and Eddy captures the story. Definitely worth a look.