Posts tagged with "Chicago":
In anticipation of the Art Institute of Chicago opening a permanent architecture and design gallery, Design Episodes: Form, Style, Language highlights some of the museum’s most enigmatic pieces from its vast design collection. The show is divided into three sections: the modern chair, early postmodern design, and contemporary graphic design. Chairs on show include pieces by designers such as Charles and Ray Eames, Rudolph Schindler, and Charlotte Perriand. The postmodern section includes the colorful work of the radical Italian Memphis Group, its founder, architect and designer Ettore Sottsass, and Austrian architectural firm Coop Himmelblau. The show focuses on a diverse array of contemporary commercial and cultural graphic design work. Graphic designer Amir Berbić produced a custom installation entitled Boundary Lines, which fills the gallery windows overlooking Griffin Court, broadcasting the exhibition to the rest of the museum.
Design Episodes: Form, Style, Language Art Institute of Chicago 11 S Michigan Avenue Chicago Through July 9
In recent years, Cubs baseball fans have watched as the neighborhood immediately surrounding their beloved Wrigley Field transformed into a Cubs-themed village. A new hotel, residential real estate, and entertainment venues are making the area a year-round destination. Nearest and dearest to the stadium though is a new mid-rise office building and a public plaza. Designed by Stantec Architecture’s Chicago office, the project shares an odd-shaped block with the stadium and houses the baseball team’s administrative offices.
While the space is everything you might expect of a new office (with the addition of plenty of Cubs branding and some appropriately ivy-covered walls), it is the public plaza, currently being called the Park, that is creating the most buzz.
Debuted for the 2017 Cubs home opener, the Park is wedged between the stadium and the new office building. The ground floor of the office building houses a handful of stores and food and drinking options, but the plaza itself was designed to be used for more than just pregame events. Tiered seating, strategic plantings, and performance space provide opportunities to watch scheduled programs or just take in Wrigley’s atmosphere. Stantec took cues from Place des Vosges, in Paris, and Chicago’s Millennium Park when designing the Park, with the goal of making it more than just an entrance to the stadium.
“When we first dreamt about what the plaza could be, we wanted it to be more than just a walkway people pass through on game day,” said Grace Rappe, principal designer at Stantec. “We wanted to create a park for memories, a place for the community to gather and thrive.”
In its first year, the Park has already seen plans put in place to activate the space when there is not a game being played. The Old Town School of Folk Music has started biweekly morning and afternoon music programs. The nearby art-house Music Box Theatre will also be hosting six of the city’s “Movies in the Park”—the first of which will be, appropriately, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off; Rookie of the Year and The Sandlot are also on deck.
However, not everyone has had the same vision for the space. Local alderman Tom Tunney pushed, with some success, for a handful of restrictions on the use of the Park, citing the well-being of the residents of the surrounding neighborhood. Ald. Tunney was able to establish rules about who could drink alcohol in the Park on game days, and when. Currently, only ticket holders will be allowed onto the plaza immediately before and after the game, and barriers and bike racks have been set up to control the crowds. This did not make the Cubs administration too happy.
“I want to apologize to our fans when they show up today; they’re going to see bike racks and other things that channel them in and out of the Park, rather than walk in and let them enjoy it,” Crane Kenney, Cubs president of business operations, said to the press on opening day. “So we’ll try that for the first year and see how that works. Nobody has more to lose than we do if something happens that is untoward, and so we’ll police like we do everywhere else around Wrigley Field.”
Kenney had other words for the city, which he felt could have provided more financial support for the project, as it is part of a larger $500 million renovation of the entire complex.
“The mayor made clear the city could not give us the kind of financial support the White Sox got in rebuilding Comiskey Park or the Bears got renovating Soldier Field,” Kenney said.
Despite the financial discussion, the Cubs were openly grateful to Mayor Rahm Emanuel, who was on hand at the ribbon cutting. While the city has not provided the tax and financial backing the team had hoped, it has provided support through the temporary and permanent closing of multiple streets surrounding the stadium.
Exactly what the Park’s role will be in the greater Wrigleyville neighborhood may still be up for debate, but, for the Cubs, the new space is a chance to reach out and bring the community a little closer. And timing couldn’t be better: With the Cubs winning the last World Series and effectively having the best season in the stadium’s 103-year history, much of the city is already going Cubs crazy.
Dubbed the Global Hub, Northwestern University’s latest addition to its Evanston campus is a grand new home to the Kellogg School of Management. The recently opened five-story building sits immediately along the shore of Lake Michigan on land reclaimed by the university decades ago. Defined by four large wings, which produce a plan that resembles the letter K, the curving form of the building makes no small reference to the waves on the water it overlooks.
“The first inspiration was the action of the water and the waves, and how they round off materials and forms to make them smooth,” explained Bruce Kuwabara, partner at Toronto-based firm KPMB, which designed the new building. “It was beautiful, the power of Lake Michigan and nature.”
The project is composed of a series of vastly different-sized spaces, accumulating to a whopping 415,000 square feet. The building is the new home to full-time business students, faculty, and administration offices. Collaboration areas throughout can accommodate from two to twenty individuals, and larger gathering spaces can handle from 200 to 2,000.
The largest space in the complex is the massive multistory center atrium, where all four wings connect. The structure’s exterior curves continue into this space in the form of flowing balconies and staircases. Two of the large wooden staircases at the heart of the building double as seating for formal and informal events. Another atrium on the upper levels acts a second major space. Both allow for copious amounts of natural light.
The building’s high-tech envelope not only allows in all of that light, but also contributes to the project’s goal of achieving LEED Gold certification. Throughout, double and triple glazing provide daylight and energy efficiency, while automated shading controls glare and solar gain. A series of undulating fritted glass fins adds an additional layer of shading. On the interior, borrowed light is distributed through glassed office partitions. Perhaps even more than daylighting and energy efficiency, the glass facade provides something the building takes ample advantage of: unmatched views of the lake and the downtown, 15 miles to the south.
Called the “Global Hub,” it is part of the University’s larger building program that includes the 2015 Goettsch Partners–designed Patrick G. and Shirley W. Ryan Center for the Musical Arts. Both new additions to the campus run counter to its existing catalogue of Brutalist and gothic-revival structures.
The stark contrast between old and new on Northwestern’s campus is the school’s physical manifestation of its vision for the future of education. And Northwestern is not alone—dark wood–lined halls and oak tree–filled quads are being replaced by brighter, more transparent and generous collaboration spaces at many traditional campuses. It is only a matter of time before the image of the elite campus is less about spires and more about sunlight.
Valerio Dewalt Train Associates overcomes NIMBY lawsuit to build expressive tower on Chicago’s South Side
It was a long road from design to construction for Vue53 in the South Side Chicago neighborhood of Hyde Park. The 13-story tower sits along the bustling 53rd Street and has completely changed the character of the area. While change to the busy conduit was inevitable, not everybody was thrilled about it.
Designed by Chicago-based Valerio Dewalt Train Associates, Vue53 was originally scheduled to begin construction in early 2014. A NIMBY lawsuit delayed that start date by nearly one and a half years. The Save 53rd Street advocacy group felt the project was out of scale for the neighborhood and that the zoning change passed by the city, which allowed the tower to go up, was illegal, among other complaints. Opponents donned “Sky, Not Skyscraper” buttons at community meetings. The First District Illinois Appellate Court did not agree. In February 2015 the case was dismissed, permitting the project to continue.
Fast forward two years or so, and Hyde Park has a new 135-foot-tall 267-unit tower. A formally expressive building in glass and concrete, Vue53 comprises a large base and two shifted linear towers. The base rises to the height of the surrounding buildings and contains retail and amenities. These include a compact urban Target store as well as a rooftop terrace, complete with grass and views of the lush park across the street. The building also includes an exercise facility, a business center, and a number of study rooms distributed throughout (for the students the Vue53 is aiming to attract).
The studio, one-bedroom, and two-bedroom units may be a bit smaller than the average being built downtown, but they may also be just right for the intended tenants. The project was in fact initiated by the University of Chicago, just blocks to the south. Yet it is not the amenities, or the battle against upset neighbors, that have set this project apart.
While developers are busy constructing sleek, glassy monolith apartment buildings downtown, Vue53 takes a decidedly more formally daring approach to attracting young renters. Particularly in the upper towers, the project plays a Tetris-like game of solid and void. Together with the shifted relationship of the two towers, the project is more than a glass box on a plinth. The interplay of glass and exposed concrete only exaggerates these moves.
That relationship of glass and concrete carries right into the building’s multi-story lobby and even the units themselves. Cashing in on the trend of rougher unfinished materials, the units are a mix of the exposed concrete and more typical drywall. And though the units may be small, they are all dominated by floor-to-ceiling windows with views either to the north to downtown, or to the south over the picturesque Hyde Park neighborhood.
While Vue53 ran into some stiff opposition in its initial stages, it is by no means alone in the rising skyline of Hyde Park. With multiple new Studio Gang towers in the neighborhood as well, it may seem a bit out of the blue for the area to be receiving so much architectural investment. Yet it should be remembered that, historically, Hyde Park has been one of the most architecturally rich neighborhoods in the city. The University of Chicago alone is a zoo of formal exuberance, from Saarinen to Legorreta. Despite its detractors, Vue53 may be only the beginning of a reenergized architectural scene on the city’s South Side.
A reimagined public space in the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago (MCA) is being designed and built by Los Angeles–based Johnston Marklee and Mexico City–based Pedro&Juana. A new restaurant will also be designed by Turner Prize–winning British painter Chris Ofili. Pedro&Juana was introduced to Chicago through the 2015 Chicago Architecture Biennial, with its major installation in the Randolph Square space in the Chicago Cultural Center, entitled Dear Randolph. Like that installation, the social space the firm is designing for the MCA, which will be called The Commons, will be a colorful environment of large custom-made hanging elements. The space’s colorful planters and ornate chandeliers will be a stark departure from the normally austere spaces of the MCA. Sharon Johnston and Mark Lee, also the artistic directors of the 2017 Chicago Architecture Biennial, are leading the redesign. The entire $16 million project is expected to be completed by June of this year.
Architect: Johnston Marklee, Pedro&Juana, Chris Ofili Client: Musem of Contemporary Art Chicago Location: Chicago Completion Date: June 2017
For 47 years, the Lakeview Pantry on Chicago’s North Side has provided for the poor and hungry. Through food distribution and self-help initiatives and programs, the pantry has become a staple of its immediate neighbors as well as the greater Chicago community. When it came to establishing its first permanent space, the much-lauded organization turned to local firm Wheeler Kearns.
Originally known as the People’s Pantry of Lakeview, the organization was spread out among a variety of buildings throughout the neighborhood, often with administrations and operations in separate spaces. An adaptive reuse project, the new Lakeview Pantry brings the entire operation under one roof a few blocks from Lake Michigan, nestled up against the overhead L tracks.
Wheeler Kearns’s design for the 7,500-square-foot two-story space brings together the Pantry’s food distribution and social services programs, as well as the administrative staff, with connected spaces and natural light. The lower level includes the waiting area with a distribution counter, walk-in freezer-cooler, dry storage, and sorting room. The goal of the public face of project was to match the Pantry’s own mission by providing a dignified space for those in need. The bright front space serves over 8,000 people a year, with over 800 tons of food distributed in the form of 14-day supplies, so the front of house sees a lot of traffic and a lot of food.
Bathed in sunlight, a wood staircase leads to the upper level. Efficiently laid out offices fill the majority of the upstairs. Much-needed private meeting spaces, a conference room, a shared lunchroom, and open staff office space are lit from above and from the two ends of the thin building.
While the project was only recently finished, it has already been recognized with the Richard H. Driehaus Foundation Award for Architectural Excellence in Community Design, an annual award given to outstanding built community-design projects in Chicago.
“When you work with an organization whose mission is so powerful and important, and they approach that mission with such vigor and earnestness, it is pretty easy to get behind it,” said project architect Danny Wick when he received the Driehaus award at the end of February. “Asking for help can be a pretty undignified thing to have to do. To try and bring a dignified experience to that, and recognize that good design is not only reserved for the wealthy, but that everybody can gain from design, was always the goal.”
Bauer Latoza Studio and Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill tapped for Pullman National Monument Visitor Center
With only one previous iteration, it seems impossible not to continuously compare the upcoming 2017 Chicago Architecture Biennial to its predecessor. And that does not have to be a bad thing. During a panel discussion during the inaugural 2015 Biennial, British architect Sam Jacob was asked what the theme of next biennial should be. His response? In sum: Just do the exact same theme. That way, not only can we see the progress of the field over two years, but then we will also have two events that can be compared, apples to apples. His statement, though somewhat in jest, seems to have been, at least in part, prophetic.
With the recent announcement of the participants list, under the artistic direction of Sharon Johnston and Mark Lee of Johnston Marklee, we have our first look at how similar the exhibition may be. And though the list of around 100 offices does include many new names, there are 22 repeats from 2015. There are other similarities between the lists. Neither 2015 nor 2017 include any significant contribution from corporate firms. In 2015 this was a sore point for many of the hundreds of local architects that work in the numerous mega-firms in Chicago. Many local architects admitted to not even having seen the show, despite it being free and only blocks from many of the largest offices in the city.
But this is why Jacob’s idea of repetition could end up being so brilliant. First, the biennial is not for the big corporate firms—even if it is being held in the city that is bursting with giants. Biennials are where the most avant-garde architectural discourse is presented. While contemporary large firms often lead the way in engineering and technological daring, they are rarely at the fore of architectural discussion. The nature of their business means that they cannot afford to be. Small, young practices on the other hand, with fewer mouths to feed and less money on the table, can’t afford not to be on the edge. For ambitious young firms, being experimental is the only way to set themselves apart in a world of architecture blogs and Instagram. For good or for bad.
One thing the large firms do well is exporting Chicago Architecture to the rest of the world. The biennial is a rare chance for the city, and the U.S. at large, to import some architecture. This factor should never be undervalued. The well-known story of Frank Lloyd Wright being influenced by the Japanese pavilion at the 1893 Columbian Exposition should be enough of a lesson. Chicago is already benefitting from this in the form of the Museum of Contemporary Arts’ upcoming renovation by two 2015 CAB participants, Johnston Marklee and Pedro&Juana.
Something can also be said about the quality of the practices being invited. The list, repeats and new firms alike, is filled with excellent firms. The names might not always be familiar or pulled from glossy magazine pages, but the last iteration is proof that these practices are thoughtful yet daring in their architecture. The United States, and Chicago in particular, have a problem with not supporting small and/or young practices. Biennials are a place where that can happen.
Another notable similarity is the presence of Johnston and Lee. They were responsible for an exhibit in the main show as well as a solo exhibition at the Museum of Contemporary Art. Johnston was also on the jury for the 2015 Biennial’s Lakefront Kiosk Competition (a program that will not be continuing this year).
Only five months out from the September 17 opening, we still don’t know a ton about what the show will be all about. Yet through a close reading of the participant list, and the memory of the last show, we can make some educated guesses about its nature. The overlap of offices, the exclusion of corporate firms, and the main venue of the Chicago Cultural Center tell us the show will likely feel familiar. Yet, knowing the wide range of small, diverse offices, it is just as likely to be full of surprises and architectural ideas that Chicago has not seen.