This week, as part of our ongoing Epstein Throwback Thursday series, we take a trip back to 1956 Evanston, Illinois for the opening of the mid-century modern headquarters and manufacturing facility for the Shure Brothers; world-renown manufacturers of microphones. This Epstein designed and engineered facility located at 222 Hartrey Avenue (for you Evanstonian's this building is located directly behind the Howard Street Target) which served as the hub of Shure operations and is where Shure produced not only microphones but for many years magnetic tape recording heads and 4-channel recording heads.
This Shure facility is another grand example of Epstein's 50's modernist design aesthetic and features clean, simple lines, a well-detailed masonry facade as well as significant daylighting through the inclusion of translucent glazing. The interiors are also well organized and include unique 50s era light fixtures as well as some fun décor items like Shure microphones on the desk of the receptionist.
Shure called this facility home for nearly 46 years before moving in 2003 to a new Helmut Jahn designed headquarters on Touhy Avenue in Niles, Illinois. Today, Shure is the leading producer of performance microphones, wireless systems, earphones and headphones.
If you are curious this building still stands and will soon serve as the home for the Autobarn's (an Evanston-based local car dealership) auto service and storage facility. Evident from a recent site visit is that the building is currently being renovated and expanded. The brick façade is in the midst of receiving a new pre-cast concrete skin – resulting into a new elevation that sadly diminishes the simplicity and elegance of the original design. Additionally, sometime during that past 50+ years the original clear windows have been replaced with opaque glass and the subtle entrance, with the well-proportioned canopy, has been modified to now features a dark, entrance box. The best that can be said is that the bones of the building live on, but it's now really just a sad shell of itself.