Leave the Seat Empty - 3442 South Hoyne Avenue

 Leave the Seat Empty consists of photos taken of buildings in Chicago in between the time a demolition permit is issued and the time the wrecking crews come.

The vast majority of the city's demolitions are vernacular residential buildings in areas that are either seeing immense new investment or immense ongoing disinvestment. In most cases, the doomed buildings are not deemed architecturally or culturally notable enough for proactive preservation efforts to succeed, where such efforts exist. They are most frequently replaced by new single family homes, or by empty land. These patterns aren't universal among demolitions, but are common outcomes of Chicago's current legal and market environment around land use, building vacancy, and new construction.

Despite its international reputation as a destination for architecture tourism, Chicago's policies around building demolitions often fail to protect historic structures. There are no easy answers to the question of which buildings should remain standing under which circumstances, but residents lack easy access to information about upcoming demolitions, leaving them unable to campaign effectively against demolitions they might oppose. I seek to document many of Chicago's doomed buildings in their final days, often with green demo fencing already up, and be present to acknowledge their disappearance.


 3442 South Hoyne Avenue

Permit issued 07/27/2022


This vernacular workers cottage with a bay window, part of a row of structurally identical homes with divergent alteration and upkeep histories in McKinley Park, sat across the street from the longstanding New Archview Restaurant. The family that owns the restaurant purchased the house in 2013.


I'm not sure what their initial plans were for the place, but the restaurant's existing parking lot is next door, so they may have intended to expand the lot. It appears that the family eventually had other intentions, though, performing unpermitted work on the building that (along with existing structural issues) landed the property in demo court.



The family got plans approved in 2021 to convert the former home into a commercial structure and address outstanding code violations, but it appears that the effort was halted. As the demo court case proceeded with the city, the owners filed to demolish the structure in 2022.