Posts tagged with "Chicago":

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Illinois Governor ransoms Thompson Center for public school money

In an act of political wrangling that typifies the relationship between the City of Chicago and the State of Illinois, Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner announced that if the city would allow the sale of the Helmut Jahn–designed James R. Thompson Center, he would provide the Chicago Public Schools (CPS) with additional funding. Last week Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel said that he would block the sale of the postmodern building out of fear of having to replace the large CTA subway station beneath it. Over the past few years, the city and state have played tug-of-war over funding for the often-beleaguered public school system. In his address, Governor Rauner promised to provide an additional $45 million a year through 2040 if the city permitted the sale of the building. It was only a few months ago that Rauner has vetoed a bill that would have provided $215 million to CPS’s pension fund. The battle over the Thompson Center officially began back in October 2015, when Rauner announced his intention to sell the building. He called the building “ineffective,” and “just not useable for much of anything.” The building is facing a deferred maintenance bill of over $100 million and costs the state roughly $12 million a year to operate. Despite that cost, the building contains one of the largest interior public civic spaces in the city, and many fear selling the building to a private developer would be a major loss for the city.
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Early midwestern modern landmark will be restored

Atop a tall sand dune overlooking the southern shore of Lake Michigan sits one of the last remnants of the 1933 Chicago Century of Progress World’s Fair. In severe need of restoration, the House of Tomorrow, designed by Chicago architect George Fred Keck, is set to receive an update from a team of Chicago firms.

The announcement by Indiana Landmarks named bKL Architecture as the architecture and interior design lead. Bauer Latoza Studio will offer historic preservation services and Wiss, Janney, Elstner Associates will be the structural engineer. Willoughby Engineering will handle mechanical, electrical, and plumbing engineering, and HJKessler Associates will act as the sustainability consultant.

In fall 2016, the National Trust for Historic Preservation and Indiana Landmarks launched a $2.5-million campaign to restore the house after the Trust named it a National Treasure. At the time of the fair, the house was often referred to by the media as “America’s First Glass House,” and it was a beacon of modern technology for the World’s Fair’s 39 million visitors. The glass curtain walls came nearly 20 years before both Philip Johnson’s 1949 Glass House and Mies van der Rohe’s 1951 Farnsworth House, which sits only 90 miles directly to the west. Giving a view of an optimistic future, the home focused on how science and technology could improve everyday life. 

The house’s innovations include an “iceless” refrigerator, the first-ever General Electric dishwasher, and copious amounts of glass for passive solar heating. Keck would later go on to design 300 other passive solar houses, mostly in the Chicago area, throughout his long career, but the House of Tomorrow remains a standout for its uncanny design.

The 12-sided home radiates from a central hub that contains mechanical equipment. Spoke-like steel girders cantilever from the center, supporting the second and third-floor concrete slabs. This unusual structural system allows for an open floor plan, which is also rare for its time. The plan for the restoration includes removing deteriorated surfaces and revealing this steel framework. The house’s iconic glass facade will be replaced with contemporary smart glass.

The story of the House of Tomorrow after the fair is almost as eccentric as the house itself. After the closing of the World’s Fair, a Chicago developer named Robert Bartlett commissioned a fleet of barges and trucks to move the house and four other houses from the exposition to their current resting place in Beverly Shores, Indiana. Bartlett’s plan was to develop a vacation hotspot for Chicago. While this may not have worked out for him, they have become a pilgrimage point for architects and beachgoers alike as part of the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore.

Though listed in the National Registry of Historic Places in the 1980s, the houses had fallen into severe disrepair by the 1990s. In order to save them, Indiana Landmarks was able to lease the homes from the National Parks Service and sublease four of them to individuals. Those sub-lessees were obliged to restore them, at their own expense, in exchange for long-term residency. The cost of restoration for the four houses was in excess of one million each, and the House of Tomorrow’s atypical materials and construction meant Indiana Landmarks would have to do the work itself.

But, with the naming of the restoration team and fundraising, the future of the House of Tomorrow is bright.

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Taproom and marijuana display win AIA Chicago Small Projects Awards

AIA Chicago has announced this its 2017 Small Projects Awards. The awards celebrate projects with limited budgets and even tighter space constraints. This year’s top honors include a brewery taproom and a medical marijuana display. Citations of Merit went to eight other projects in the Chicago area. This year’s jurors included, Joan Craig, AIA, Lichten Craig Architecture and Interiors; Michael Graham, AIA, Liederbach and Graham Architects; Elissa Morgante, AIA, Morgante Wilson Architects Ltd.; Josh Shelton, AIA, El Dorado Inc.; and Andrea Mills, Editor in Chief Modern Luxury Interiors Chicago. Taking the award for Commercial / Institutional Architecture went to RANGE Design & Architecture an Honor Award for its design of the Hopewell Brewing Company. Located in the Logan Square neighborhood on the northwest side of Chicago, the spaces if filled with floor-to-ceiling light oak and custom furniture. The bright contemporary interior is designed to reference the brewery’s products. The top award in the Objects category went to Perimeter Architects for their design Dispensary 33—Chicago’s first medical marijuana dispensary. Perimeter designed a custom vacuum sealed cannabis display canister. Pot Holders feature hand-blown glass and millwork. The eight other Citations of Merit awards went to UrbanLab, Tigerman McCurry Architects, Wrap Architecture, Vladimir Radutny Architects, Stewert Cohen & Julie Hacker Architects, and Kuklinski + Rappe Architects.
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Design unveiled for Obama Presidential Center

As part of a community meeting in Michelle Obama’s home neighborhood of South Shore, the former president and first lady unveiled the first images and a conceptual model for the future Obama Presidential Center. Described at the meeting as “more than a building or museum,” the center will be a “working center for citizenship.” Classrooms, labs and outdoor spaces will be used for programming focused on giving visitors “real tools to create change in their own communities.” A video of the design can be seen below. Located in Jackson Park, on Chicago’s South Side, the center is being designed by New York-based Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects | Partners and Chicago studio Interactive Design Architects. As part of the Olmsted-designed park, the complex will include 200,000 square feet of space divided into three structures—a museum, forum, and library. The three structures will great a central public plaza, while landscaping will connect the green roofs of two of the buildings to the existing park. The tallest of the buildings will be the museum portion of the center, will hold exhibitions and public space, while the forum and library will be public resources to further the civic goals of the center. “The design approach for the center is guided by the goal of creating a true community asset that seeks to inspire and empower the public to take on the greatest challenges of our time," the architects said at the meeting. "The Obamas were clear that they wanted the Center to seamlessly integrate into the Park and the community, and include diverse public spaces. Our hope is that this design for the Center interspersed with Jackson Park honors the legacy of Olmsted and Vaux and unlocks potential and opportunity for Jackson Park, the South Side, and the City of Chicago." Mayor of Chicago, Rahm Emanuel also commented: "I am thrilled to join President Obama and Mrs. Obama as we outline the vision for both the Obama Presidential Center and Jackson Park as a whole," he said. "This vision will enhance the historic landscape of Jackson Park as originally envisioned by Frederick Olmsted, and we all look forward to engaging with residents as we begin the community process to turn this vision into reality in a way that maximizes economic development and opportunity in Woodlawn, South Shore and Washington Park.”
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“Flying Pigs” installation will block Trump sign in Chicago

This is really happening. Late last year Chicago-based New World Design proposed Flying Pigs on Parade: A Chicago River Folly, an installation of four golden flying pigs directly in front of the Trump sign on the Trump International Hotel and Tower. After receiving permission from Roger Waters, co-founder, bassist, and lead songwriter of Pink Floyd, New World Design will reproduce the same pig used for the iconic Pink Floyd photo shoot over Battersea Park Power Station, London, for the Animals album cover. This time the pigs will be gold. The helium-filled balloons will then be floated, single file, from a construction barge in the Chicago River at just such a height to obscure the 20-foot-by-141-foot Trump sign. The single day installation is expected to be launched in late August or early September. The pigs hold multiple meanings and make a number of pop culture references, most clearly to the 1977 Pink Floyd album cover and George Orwell’s Animal Farm. Other references include Trump’s alleged “Miss Piggy” comment directed at a former Miss Universe and the gold so often used in Trump’s interior design. "The design follows meticulous rationale in imparting layers of meaning but ultimately allows for interpretation by individual viewers," said Jeffrey Roberts, partner at New World Design. The Trump Tower has become a lightning rod for protest since the election. The base of the tower has been the site of multiple peaceful demonstrations, and the Honorary Trump Plaza sign, which marked Wabash Avenue in front of the tower, was removed some months ago. On any given day, tourists can be seen across the river taking selfies of themselves giving the building the middle finger. As reported by the Chicago Tribune, another consequence of Trump’s lack of popularity in Chicago has been slowed condo sales. Currently, over 50 condos in the Tower are on the market. That is nearly three times that of any similar tower in the city. “We are a small group of designers creating visual commentary on the inflammatory nature of our current political environment. We are not radicals. We see design as our path to building and reinforcing a community of more rational, optimistic and inclusive minds,” said Roberts. The pigs and the protests are all happening in a public way, peacefully. So it would seem that the targeting of the tower by scornful Chicagoans is not going to stop anytime soon. Not even when pigs fly.
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Chicago Architecture Biennial announces over 100 Program Partners

The Chicago Architecture Biennial (CAB) has announced over 100 Program Partner organizations that will produce additional events and exhibitions across the city during this year’s event. Program Partners include a range of institutions, NGOs, museums, galleries, universities, and foundations. While most are based in Chicago, a number of national and international partners are also on the list. “The Program Partners of the 2017 Chicago Architecture Biennial will further explore and examine the meaning of architecture today, and reflect and expand on the Biennial’s theme of ‘Make New History,’” said the 2017 Biennial Artistic Directors, Sharon Johnston and Mark Lee in a press release. The 2017 CAB Program Partners include: 6018North Adaptive Operations AIA Chicago AIA National AIA Practice Management Knowledge Community AIGA Chicago Archeworks Architecture & Design Society Arquitectos, Inc Art Institute of Chicago Arts + Public Life Arts Club of Chicago Aspect/Ratio Gallery Association of Architecture Organizations Benjamin Marshall Society Beverly Willis Architecture Foundation for Women Block Museum California College of the Arts Canadian Centre for Architecture Chicago Architectural Club Chicago Architecture Foundation Chicago Cultural Alliance Chicago Design Museum Chicago History Museum Chicago Ideas Week Chicago Loop Alliance Chicago Park District—Culture, Arts & Nature Chicago Public Library Chicago Women in Architecture Chinatown Public Library, Chicago City of Chicago, DCASE, Year of Public Art City of Chicago, Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events City of Chicago, Department of Planning and Development Columbia Books on Architecture and the City Columbia GSAPP (Graduate School of Architecture, Planning, and Preservation) Defibrillator Gallery DePaul Art Museum DePaul University Department of History of Art and Architecture Design Evanston DOCOMOMO_Chicago DuSable Museum of African American History Edgar Miller Legacy Experimental Sound Studio EXPO Chicago Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation Frank Lloyd Wright Trust Friends of Historic Second Church Gallery 400 at the University of Illinois at Chicago Garfield Park Conservatory Glessner House Museum Goethe-Institut Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in Fine Arts Harvard Graduate School of Design Hong Kong Design Center Hyde Park Art Center Illinois Humanities Council Illinois Institute of Technology Institute for Public Architecture Lampo Landmarks Illinois Logan Center Exhibitions Mana Contemporary MAS Context Metropolitan Planning Council Mies Society Monique Meloche Gallery Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago National Museum of Mexican Art National Museum of Puerto Rican Arts and Culture National Public Housing Museum Navy Pier, Inc. Neubauer Collegium for Culture and Society Northwestern University Department of Art History Palais de Tokyo Pleasant Home Foundation Preservation Chicago Rebuild Foundation Renaissance Society Rhona Hoffman Gallery Rootwork Gallery Royal Institute of British Architects US Region Ruth Page Center for the Arts SC Johnson School of Architecture at Taliesin School of the Art Institute of Chicago Sixty Inches from Center Smart Museum of Art Society of Architectural Historians The Cliff Dwellers The Farnsworth House The National Trust for Historic Preservation Annual Conference, PastForward The Richard H. Driehaus Foundation The Ruth Page Center for the Arts Unity Temple Restoration Foundation University of Chicago University of Illinois Chicago School of Architecture UW-Milwaukee School of Architecture and Urban Planning (SARUP) Van Alen Institute Volume Gallery Workshop 4200 "It's exciting that visitors to the Biennial and Chicago residents will be able to enjoy the architecture related programming throughout the entire city," said Mark Kelly, commissioner of the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events. "Chicago's architectural history is embedded within every neighborhood and touches so many of our world-class cultural organizations and venues." The Chicago Architecture Biennial will run from September 16, 2017, through January 7, 2018. Once again, the center of CAB will be the historic Chicago Cultural Center on Michigan Avenue, in Downtown Chicago. The opening will align with the EXPO CHICAGO, the International Exposition of Contemporary and Modern Art, which will run September 13 to 17 at Navy Pier.
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Chicago Architecture Foundation names new Board of Trustees members

The Chicago Architecture Foundation (CAF) has announced the appointment of eight new members to its Board of Trustees. The new members are made up of high-ranking executives of the architecture, development, design, and cultural communities. The CAF Board of Trustees is charged with guiding and advising the nonprofit organization as it continues to expand. The new trustees include: Ramón (Ray) Cepeda, senior vice president and senior managing director, Northern Trust Corporation Brian Lee, design partner, Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP Anthony LoBello, principal, SmithGroup JJR and past president of the board of directors, AIA Chicago Robin Loewenberg Tebbe, chief marketing officer, Magellan Development Group Jenny Niemann, president/CEO and owner of Forward Space Lee Pollock, trustee and advisor to the board, The International Churchill Society Constance Rajala, CAF docent council president Theodore (Ted) Yi, partner, Quarles & Brady, LLP “CAF is pleased to welcome these eight individuals, each a leader in their own fields,” said CAF President and CEO Lynn Osmond in a press release. “Their expertise will provide CAF, the world’s largest public architecture organization, with the counsel we require as we undertake an expansion that will take CAF, and the city of Chicago, through our next fifty years.” CAF is in the process of expanding its public programming in its 51st year. Programs include tours programs, exhibitions, field trips, and online resources for the public to better appreciate architecture. Notably, the CAF runs Open House Chicago and the extremely popular Architecture River Cruise through the city’s downtown on the Chicago River.
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World’s largest Starbucks to open in Downtown Chicago

Much to the delight of tired downtown Chicago architects in need of caffeination, Starbucks has announced plans to open a Starbucks Reserve Roastery in Chicago in 2019. Starbucks describes the mega-coffee house as “a fully sensorial coffee environment dedicated to roasting, brewing and packaging its rare, small-batch Starbucks Reserve coffees from around the world.” The roastery will be located in the heart of Chicago’s Magnificent Mile, along Michigan Avenue, in what is currently a flagship Crate & Barrel store. At four stories and 43,000 feet, it will be the largest Starbucks in the world. The Chicago Tribune has reported that the Crate & Barrel store is expected to close in early 2018 to make way for the caffeinated coffee compound. The Roastery will also include a working bakery and rooftop terrace. The Chicago roastery will be part of a larger move by Starbucks to open 20 to 30 similar projects around the world. The roasteries will supply the company’s Reserve Stores, which are set to open up to 1,000 new locations in the coming years. Chicago currently has three of the upscale Reserve Stores, with another planned for the West Loop neighborhood.
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Historic abandoned Sears complex transformed into affordable housing

Sears and Roebuck Company may no longer be the giant it once was, yet its physical presence is still all over the city of Chicago. As the company had no brick and mortar retail stores until nearly 30 years after its founding in 1886 as a mail-order catalog, many of its earliest buildings were for logistics and storage. One of those old structures is its large original headquarters and catalog printing facility. Abandoned for 40 years, the epic building has now been converted into 181 affordable housing units. Located in the North Lawndale neighborhood on the city’s West Side, the complete renovation was lead by Solomon Cordwell Buenz Architects, James McHugh Construction Co., and Denco, for client Mercy Housing Lakefront. The six-story brick complex will house upwards of 300 residents in 79 one-bedroom units, 52 two-bedroom units, 40 three-bedroom units, and 10 four-bedroom units. Other amenities include a community room, laundry facilities, a computer center, and an exercise facility. The redeveloped complex will now be known as the Lofts on Arthington. Limestone and terracotta details throughout, as well as many of the other original details, were restored in the process of converting the campus. Nearly the entire roof and over 100,000 square feet of flooring had to be completely replaced. Much of the structure had to be updated as well, along with filling in underground tunnels once used by Sears to move across the complex. In recent years, Sears has continued its decline, with an announcement from the company’s leadership expressing “substantial doubt” about its future. Famously, the company’s namesake supertall tower was renamed the Willis Tower in 2014, though most Chicagoans still refer to it as the Sears Tower. The Old Chicago Main Post Office, which was once the largest post office in the world thanks to Sears’s mail-order business, was vacated in 1997. Now with many of Sears’s old buildings being refurbished, and the Old Main Post Office being completely renovated, some of Chicago’s largest structures, from the golden age of mail-order merchandising, are getting a second chance at life.
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Chicago uses Airbnb fees to house 100 homeless families

While many cities struggle with their relationship with house-sharing micro-rental companies, Chicago is looking on the bright side of the relatively new phenomenon. The city has announced that it will use $1 million raised from fees paid by homeowners who use home-sharing platforms, such as Airbnb, to help house 100 homeless families. The Housing Homeless Families program is a joint initiative with the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless, one of the city’s primary resources for information on and advocacy for the homeless population. The program will focus on families in areas of the city with high violent crime rates, including Austin, Englewood, West Englewood, and Humboldt Park. Working with shelters that specialize in family services and the Chicago Public School system, the program will focus specifically on families with school-age children. “The goal of this initiative is to help our most vulnerable families to establish stability so that their children can succeed,” said Department of Family and Support Services Commissioner Lisa Morrison Butler. "Thanks to collaboration with our partners at the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless, the city will deliver a coordinated response to ensure the needs of our most vulnerable families are met, and to prevent families on the cusp from experiencing homelessness.” The Chicago Coalition for the Homeless recently released a report on the number of homeless people in the city. The count includes data on those who “double-up,” referring to people that do not have their own home but stay with friends or relatives. The report, which looks at 2015, found the city to have 82,000 homeless individuals, which includes nearly 10,000 homeless families. It is estimated that 87 percent of those who identified as homeless were “doubled-up.” The money for the new program was raised through a $1 million investment by the Chicago Low Income Housing Trust Fund, with matching funds from a four percent surcharge leveled against homeowners using Airbnb and other home-sharing programs. That money will go towards providing housing vouchers to families and provide additional transition services. Those services will include helping families set up appointments, navigate the housing application process, and work with housing providers. The ultimate goal is to find permanent housing for the participating families. “Around the city, children should be able to focus on their studies, and not where they are going to sleep at night,” said Mayor Rahm Emanuel at the announcement of the initiative. “Working with our partners at the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless on this new initiative, we will work to ensure that more families experiencing or on the verge of homelessness can find and maintain the housing and stability they need to thrive and provide for their children.”
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Gensler designs affordable housing TOD for Chicago’s South Side

While transit-oriented developments (TOD) have become ever more popular on the near Northwest side of Chicago, the latest such project is on the complete other side of town, and it offers something the others don’t. The Woodlawn Station development will be located at the 63rd and South Cottage Grove station of the CTA L Green Line, and will include 70 units of mixed-income housing, in three buildings. The main building of the development will have 55 market-rate and affordable housing units. The four-story building was designed by Gensler with Chicago-based Nia Architects as the architect of record. The base will include 15,000-square-feet of retail and commercial space, and other amenities include a rooftop deck, a play garden, and community room. As a transit-oriented development, it will have limited car parking, and extra bike storage space. A digital transit info screen will let residents know when trains are approaching, as they will only have a few steps to take to get to the station. The importance of the Woodlawn Station project is in the role it will play in the quickly revitalizing neighborhood. Earlier this year it was reported that, for the first time in 50 years, Woodlawn had seen an increase in population while simultaneously a decrease in crime. A great deal of emphasis is being put on the neighborhood by the city, as it will also soon be home to the Tod Williams Billy Tsien-Designed Obama Presidential Center. In recent years, other projects, from the Woodlawn Resource Center to University of Chicago student housing, have all added to the improvement of the neighborhood. The developers of the project, Preservation of Affordable Housing, Inc. (POAH), specifically focus on developing affordable housing. Along with U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD); City of Chicago; Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC); JP Morgan Chase; BMO Harris Bank; and the Illinois Housing Development Authority (IHDA) the project is an example of how multi-layered public/private financing is often used to build affordable housing in Chicago. Yet local officials are quick to point out that federal funding may soon be a smaller part of the equation. "The developers of this project were able to leverage more than $400 million in additional investments from the private sector after receiving $30 million in federal funding from the Choice Neighborhood Grant Fund—a HUD program that would be eliminated in President Trump’s budget blueprint," ‎said U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) at the project's groundbreaking. "Programs designed to help revitalize struggling communities are smart investments that yield great benefits for the neighborhood and nation alike. They should receive more federal investment, not less.”
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Chicago tower gets 150-foot-long LED art installation

A new art installation has recently been illuminated in the epic lobby of the Goettsch-designed 150 North Riverside. At 150 feet long and 22 feet high, 150 Media Stream is an ever changing digital installation comprised of 89 LED blades. Commissioned by the building's developer, Riverside Investment & Development, the installation was closely integrated with 150 North Riverside's design. “150 Media Stream represents an interesting convergence of art, architecture, and technology, and we believe it celebrates the transformational experience of media art,” said Yuge Zhou, creative director at Riverside Investment & Development. The physical components of 150 Media Stream were designed and constructed by McCann Systems, who worked with Digital Kitchen. Chicago-based Leviathan produced the initial artwork and content delivery system. “We set out to build a flexible, intelligent system of endless digital content that would make 150 Media Stream look exceptional, every moment of every day,” explained Jason White, executive creative director of Leviathan. The artwork that will be displayed on the installation will be commissioned from artists and students. A series of collaborative projects have been specifically created for the piece in classes sponsored by Riverside. Partnering cultural and educational institutions also contributed. The first prominent artist to be featured on the installation will be Chicago-based new media artist Jason Salavon. Coupled with its site specificity, this will be one of the largest pieces Salavon has ever done. “The opportunity to explore these aspects of this project was intriguing. There is no other video wall in the world that looks like this one,” Salavon said.
The 150 Riverside tower will officially open Thursday, April 20, 2017, with the lobby being open to the public starting Friday, April 21, 2017, at 6pm.