When you’re on the L train in Chicago, the last thing you probably expect to see out the window is an Airstream on top of a building.
But you’d be surprised.
Right by the north end of the Montrose station platform, this vintage camper almost always calls for a second look.
It’s perched on the roof of a Lincoln Square – Ravenswood building, right next to the rail tracks.
The sweet 1960s camper belongs to Edward Noonan, an architect. He first got the idea of putting it on the roof after renovating an old industrial building for his design co-op, back in the ’80s.
Ed and his wife share a mutual love for vintage Airstreams. They’re also both crazy about the view from the roof, which overlooks downtown Chicago.
They looked into the laws, and found there was nothing that said they couldn’t park a trailer on the rooftop. So, the idea was born.
They shelled out over two grand for the trailer (money well spent). Instead of hoisting it on the roof themselves, they decided to hire others to move it up there.
When the Airstream was being placed on top, it actually became level with the tracks right when a Brown Line train was passing by.
Panicked, the conductor noticed something silver in the distance and slammed on the brakes. The workers waved to him it was alright, so the train was able to pick up again and continue on.
But – how is it supported?
Well, the roof can handle quite a bit of weight. The air conditioning units for the building are even heavier than the trailer.
They also built a wooden platform and secured it so there wouldn’t be any risk of it blowing away.
Ed and his wife kindly leave the Airstream unlocked for the tenants in the building. It’s a haven where people can escape from the office, and a place for creators to find inspiration (like architects, filmmakers, and artists).
The inside is complete with two cushioned benches, a small kitchenette with a counter and mini-fridge, along with plenty of cabinet space and windows.
There’s no air conditioning or heat inside, but the trailer is still left open all year round. The interior also helps block out the wind and a lot of the noise from passing trains.
Ed’s wife, Eve, believes people have even spent the night up in the trailer. Perhaps when the building was being re-painted, or when maintenance was being done. It wouldn’t be very comfortable, though, considering there’s no bathroom or running water.
She even recalled a time when Ed went on the roof, only to find the trailer was locked and rocking (if you know what I mean). Of course, Ed decided it was best not to start knocking.
Every once in awhile, they’ll get a call from someone interested about the Airstream after seeing it from the train.
The public has actually been able to enjoy it a lot over the last few years, thanks to the Chicago Architecture Foundation’s Open House Chicago.
Every year, the free event offers a closer look inside several buildings throughout the city. The tour also happens to include the Ravenswood building, giving non-tenants a chance to take a look around this rooftop treasure.
If you also happen to love Airstreams in Chicago, check out The Happy Camper Pizzeria.
What do you think? Have you ever spotted this vintage trailer while you were in Chicago?
(Source: Red Eye Chicago)
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