Time museum not standing still

South facade

Architects for a museum planned for Oak Avenue in Evanston won approval of their designs from a city staff committee this afternoon.

The City Council approved a special use permit for the proposed Evanston Museum of Time and Glass 18 months ago.

The museum, owned by Cameel Halim, a real estate investor who owns the Carlson Building and other properties in Evanston, would house his extensive collection of antique time pieces and art glass.

Photo with rendering
A photo of the existing building with a rendering of the addition superimposed behind it.

The plans for the property at 1560 Oak Ave. would preserve the existing Queen Anne Victorian mansion there, the former home of the Catholic Woman's Club of Evanston, and add a 6,000 square foot contemporary-style addition behind it.

Architect Donald Kavin said construction of the addition likely will begin next spring with completion about a year later.

Architects
Architects Adam Wilmot and Donald Kavin at the site plan meeting.

Architect Adam Wilmot said the addition is needed because of the size of Halim's collection. He said the clock collection will be installed in the Victorian house while the art and stained glass collection will be located in the modern addition.

The plans include nine parking spaces behind the addition. A condition of the special use permit requires the museum to provide valet parking for heavily attended special events.

The existing building is a protected local landmark and city Preservation Coordinator Carlos Ruiz said the Preservation Commission had reviewed plans for the project twice.

1560 Oak
A summertime view of the former Catholic Woman's Club building.

He said the preservation ordinance says "contemporary designs should not be discouraged" but should try to be compatible with the existing structure.

The commission concluded that "the addition would not be competing with the original landmark house," Ruiz said, "and could in theory be removed in the future without causing damage to the landmark."

The addition will be surfaced with a combination of glass, stucco and manufactured hardboard panels.

The Site Plan and Appearance Review Committee approved the plans unanimously.

Jill Chambers, the city's director of building and zoning, praised the "handsome design" of the project, and Committee Chair Walter Hallen said the museum "will be a welcome addition to Evanston."

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Comments

Museum of time and glass

Well, there isn't much historical context in that neighborhood, anyway, with the eclectic mix of architecture. And I'm certainly in favor of a nice museum. I didn't even know there was such a museum, and I am fascinated by clocks and beautiful glass. But couldn't the design have included a couple of gables or something as a nod to the Women's Club? On its own, the building is attractive in a contemporary sort of way. In the rendering, situated next a Queen Anne home, it looks like a really high, really ugly wooden backyard fence.

Actually, this is part of

Actually, this is part of the Evanston Ridge Historic District and there are three homes directly south of the new addition which were built in 1904. As well, the rumored site of the first ice cream sundae is at the end of the block (Wild Tree Cafe)!

It is odd that the committee didn't even acknowledge these homes (they had no idea they were there) or the impact on them.

As well, this project has removed 30 parking spaces from the area adding to the already strong congestion. With special events at the museum, the current traffic burden will be increased dramatically. Imagine school buses parked near the King Home and YMCA for these special events and people circling for on-street parking. Traffic controls will need to be in place, perhaps with a traffic light at Ridge and Grove or speed bumps.

Currently the original house has been vacant for well over a year and is great need of repair. It is becoming an eyesore to the community.

Hopefully this project will commence quickly and add to the historic district, though it remains questionable as the addition is hardly complimentary to the original structure.

Springsteen and Obama to appear at Museum of Time and Glass

Actually, this is part of the Evanston Ridge Historic District and there are three homes directly south of the new addition which were built in 1904...
It is odd that the committee didn't even acknowledge these homes (they had no idea they were there) or the impact on them.

OK, so what will the 'impact' be? And what is so 'historic' about these homes? Being built in 1904 doesn't make them historic --- it just means that they are old. 'Historic' and 'old' are not necessarily the same thing.

As well, this project has removed 30 parking spaces from the area adding to the already strong congestion. With special events at the museum, the current traffic burden will be increased dramatically. Imagine school buses parked near the King Home and YMCA for these special events and people circling for on-street parking. Traffic controls will need to be in place, perhaps with a traffic light at Ridge and Grove or speed bumps.

Oh, yes, it's always about traffic....Really, I can't imagine that the "Museum of Time and Glass", which will house Mr. Halim's collection of clocks, will generate a lot of (any?) large crowds - this is not exactly a Wal-Mart or an Obama rally. This sounds more like another Dawes House, which brings in maybe 800 people ANNUALLY. [At least Mr. Halim is not trying to squeeze money out of the City or Northwestern.]

More traffic controls and speed bumps? The anti-development crowd is always complaining about the 'traffic problem'.. why would we want to create more congestion in Evanston by putting in unnecessary speed bumps and stoplights?

I just care about tax revenue...sounds like this will be a non-profit 'museum', perhaps tax-free. Boo! I would prefer an IHOP or Hampton Inn.

Bush to Time Museum

OK, so what will the 'impact' be? And what is so 'historic' about these homes? Being built in 1904 doesn't make them historic --- it just means that they are old. 'Historic' and 'old' are not necessarily the same thing.

Not sure what impact there would be but this is an historic district as defined by the city. What is historic about anything other than age? The city didn't even know there was a Ridge Historic District, which is interesting - just this old and now decrepit building.

Oh, yes, it's always about traffic....Really, I can't imagine that the "Museum of Time and Glass", which will house Mr. Halim's collection of clocks, will generate a lot of (any?) large crowds - this is not exactly a Wal-Mart or an Obama rally. This sounds more like another Dawes House, which brings in maybe 800 people ANNUALLY. [At least Mr. Halim is not trying to squeeze money out of the City or Northwestern.]

Yes, a great deal of the city revolves around traffic issues and parking. While Obama isn't expected, the collection of clocks and timepieces are derived from a rather well-known collection which drew significant crowds - certainly more than people interested in the history of Evanston which is hardly a reasonable comparison.

More traffic controls and speed bumps? The anti-development crowd is always complaining about the 'traffic problem'.. why would we want to create more congestion in Evanston by putting in unnecessary speed bumps and stoplights?

The proximity of the King Home and the YMCA is significant here along with the Davis Street and regular downtown traffic. The "dining district" is just down the street, after all.

This is not anti-development just about thoughtful control of traffic densities. It would appear Evanston is pretty well developed at the moment or haven't you noticed the many condo developments?

I just care about tax revenue...sounds like this will be a non-profit 'museum', perhaps tax-free. Boo! I would prefer an IHOP or Hampton Inn.

The Catholic Women's Club, in fact, paid taxes on the property so hopefully this isn't a non-profit.

It would be an interesting addition to the city and neighborhood but the huge addition (it looks like a doubling of size) is hardly in line with the Victorian structure to which it is connected. Perhaps we should just tear down anything that is "old" and put up condo boxes, Wal-Marts and Gaps so the tax revenues would be greater.

what is historic?

Bruce Springsteen wrote:

"Not sure what impact there would be but this is an historic district as defined by the city. What is historic about anything other than age?

Hey Boss, glad that you brought up this question. It is an important issue.

Many people in Evanston seem to think that 'old' and 'historic' are the same. Now I realize that in the NIMBY language, these two words are synonyms. However, in standard English there is a difference.

'Old' would be something that has just been around for a ( relatively ) long period of time. So, by Evanston standards, the 708 Church building is 'old'. The Hahn Building is also 'old'. Some of the buildings on Sherman Ave. are 'old' too. There are plenty of unimportant, nondescript buildings that are 'old'. There is nothing special about a building being old.

'Historic', on the other hand, is different.

'Historic' would imply that an event of great importance happened in the building (like where Fermi split atoms at U of C) or a major figure in world events occupied the building (no, obscure 1-term Vice Presidents don't count), or that the building has some great architectural significance (Hancock, Wrigley, Monadnock, Inland Steel...not 708 Church).

NIMBYs like to hide behind the word 'historic' to prevent development in their neighborhoods, which are really not historic..just old.

Awfully narrow definition of historic

While I don't really care one way or the other about this project, Bill (personally, it's not my taste, but I don't feel the need to have a distant building conform to my idea of esthetics) I think you've missed out on a very important definition of "historic" which is what most people mean when they're discussing architecture: does a building or area represent a particular style from a particular time. This is what most "historic districts" intend to preserve - our history as expressed in architecture. While I agree that there are plenty of NIMBY folk in Evanston, I wouldn't dismiss historic preservation entirely just because the two sometimes intersect.

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Museum nears completion

After 6 years, the Museum of Time and Glass is nearing completion. Just wanted all to know. Of course, it's design has been drastically altered due to a devastating fire a couple years ago. The "historic" Queen Anne building is now gone and it is taller than all neigboring structures, versus the original height. The concrete siding seems to be quite bland and when finished there will be few windows. Hopefully it won't look like a well-designed vertical warehouse, but that, in fact, is what it will be (warehousing  historic timepieces and glass).
Drive by.