After a week off, we are back today to shine the Throwback Thursday spotlight on a small but eye-catching Epstein designed and engineered 50's era Chicago eye and medical office building. The building you see here – called the 3333 Medical Building - is a grand example of mid-century modernism and was located at 3333 W. Peterson, just west of the North Branch of the Chicago River. Epstein was chosen for this assignment by optometrist Dr. Paul Hurwitz and this building served as his professional home as well as offices for numerous other optometrists, general practitioners and pharmacists.
Constructed and completed in September 1956 the 3333 Medical Building featured timber framing with decorative stone accents and masonry & wood façade. In addition, this 1 ½ story medical office building included clerestory windows throughout as well as in-house pharmacy.
Our client for this assignment, the aforementioned Dr. Hurwitz, was a fascinating individual as well. A combat veteran of WWII and a graduate of the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign and the Rush Medical School, Dr. Hurwitz was a huge fan and supporter of music including being the founder, past president and honorary president of the Skokie Symphony Orchestra. In addition, Dr. Hurwitz was extremely active raising funds for Jewish causes throughout Chicago and Israel and served as the president of both the Zionist Organization of American and the Zionist Organization of Chicago. Dr. Hurwitz devotion to the Jewish cause makes the following fact about the current usage for the 3333 Medical Building extremely fitting – this building is now the home of the Bais Yaakov High School, a private Jewish school serving 164 student from grades 9 to 12.
Architecturally the building still looks pretty good, although the eye-catching metallic 50's typography identifying the building has been replaced by a pretty generic and bland typeface and the clean varnished wood façade accents have been stained red which makes the Peterson elevation seem busy, and worse of all, blends in with the KFC outlet located right next door.