Those of us who regularly cross Congress Parkway have been suffering through a project begun in 2010 to make the Parkway more pedestrian-friendly. The construction has of course made things quite a bit less pedestrian-friendly, but we may be turning a corner. Major work has ceased, and it looks like we are just awaiting some decorative metal trellises (illustrated above) to complete the friendlier look.
As the project is slated for completion in "late 2012", we look forward to an easier and more aesthetically pleasing crossing soon. For more information, check out this glossy brochure from the City and slideshow about the Congress Parkway Improvement Project.
An interesting campus project is centered on the front of the 618 S. Michigan building: a facelift to take its look back to the past and forward to the future at the same time. The late '50s metal-and-blue-rectangular structure has been removed, and the underlayer of bricks is being repaired. Once the brickwork is finished, a glass wall will be installed on the front of the building that features a "ghost image" of its original 1913 terra cotta façade.
For the time being, the building looks like it's on life support, with windows removed, dessicated masonry on display, and a scaffold to end all scaffolds gracing its front. Here's hoping the finished product provides that blast from the past that takes us back to the future. For pictures of what the finished building may look like, see the Chicago Tribune's Cityscapes blog.