Posts tagged with "Studio Gang":

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Rockford Valley College May Axe Booth Hansen / Jeanne Gang Project

A push to consolidate art classrooms and performance venues on the campus of a prominent Rockford, Illinois college seems to have hit the doldrums, as Rock Valley College (RVC) administrators shake up priorities and pull back the budget. The Rockford Register Star reported RVC’s new arts instructional center, which received plans from Booth Hansen and Jeanne Gang, may get the axe. RVC faculty originally envisioned a campus arts center 13 years ago, but things have changed. Most notably their finances and administrative leadership. The college has already spent $3 million on plans sketched by Booth Hansen and Jeanne Gang of Studio Gang Architects. But now they are considering abandoning the concept altogether, instead scattering art classrooms and performance facilities across campus and throughout renovated existing buildings. It is possible, however, future plans will still include the high-profile Chicago architects. The Rockford Register Star quotes two opposing voices on the situation:

“No one has proven to me that a name attached to the design brings enough cachet to justify the return on investment,” [RVC Board Chairman Michael Dunn, Jr.] said. “The culture argument is not about who designed the building. It’s about what’s in it.”

Director of the Rockford Area Arts Council Anne O’Keefe had a different take:

“Jeanne Gang is going to be the Frank Lloyd Wright of our generation,” O’Keefe said. “I’d just hate to lose this opportunity and look back in 20 years and say oh, we let that one get away.”

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Kimmelman: Have your Prentice and Build It, Too

New York Times architecture critic Michael Kimmelman waded into the controversy embroiling Chicago’s old Prentice Women’s Hospital Wednesday and wound up soliciting a unique solution from Jeanne Gang that has already garnered praise from the coalition of preservationists fighting to save the building from demolition. Noting the “familiar” tone of the dispute between landowner Northwestern University, who wants to demolish Prentice to make way for up to 500,000 square feet of medical research facilities, and preservationists seeking landmark status for the distinctive 1970s Bertrand Goldberg structure, Kimmelman called for a third approach: incorporate old Prentice into a new design on the site. As the pendulum begins to lean towards demolition, with 42nd ward Alderman Brendan Reilly saying he supports Northwestern’s decision, the critic asked Gang what she thought. Gang, who previously signed a letter of support for the movement to save Prentice, whipped up some concept drawings for a curved 31-story skyscraper that would sit atop Goldberg’s iconic quatrefoil. The architect said her design was meant to “[open] up a dialogue,” not serve as an actual proposal from her studio. In delivering on Northwestern’s specs for a new building while elegantly playing off Prentice’s structural strengths, however, she has reinvigorated the preservationists’ call for alternatives to erasing Prentice outright. Kimmelman’s comments and Gang’s concept come the same day Mayor Rahm Emanuel, whose power to appoint members of the commission on Chicago landmarks gives him a great deal of say in such matters, is quoted in the Sun-Times wistfully conceding, “There may not be a common ground or a third way.” If he is indeed committed to compromise, the mayor now has a middle ground to consider.  

Rahm’s Security Loves Art, Passes On Booze

It’s been (another) terrible year for Jeanne Gang! From being awarded the MacArthur Genius Grant to starring in the just opened solo exhibition, Building: Inside Studio Gang Architects, at the Art Institute, there appears to be no slowdown in Studio Gang momentum. Of course, Eavesdrop stopped by the opening and we have a few things to say. The first has little to do with Jeanne and more with the Art Institute. Their openings are always so snoozy! Get more of the students and younger folks in there, in addition to your stodgy museum patrons! We probably wouldn’t have stuck around long, accept a little bird told us that Mayor Rahm Emanuel would be making an appearance and we wanted to see how short he is in real life. Zoë Ryan, the museum’s chair of the department of architecture and design, looked nervous awaiting Rahm’s arrival, while Jeanne looked quite at ease, milling about in a really cute dress. One of the hottest architects in the world is certainly in the same power echelon as the mayor of the Second City.
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Forest Retreat: Studio Gang Groundbreaking in Kalamazoo

Studio Gang, which recently kicked off the first solo exhibition of their work at the Art Institute of Chicago, will celebrate another opening event next month: the architects’ Arcus Center at Kalamazoo College will ceremoniously break ground October 9. Gently curving wood walls demarcate a 10,000-square-foot space for social justice leadership development in the woods. The structure uses local white cedar, engaging its environment while transparent façade elements honor the building’s goal to facilitate conversation. Targeting LEED Gold certification, the project will source sustainably harvested wood for its low-impact, highly insulating structure. A curvilinear floor plan funnels activity from the building’s three wings into a communal meeting space. Though the corridors grow out from the central area and allow for separate functions in the institutional building, large windows at each terminus accentuate a feeling of interconnection with generous sightlines.
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Eavesdrop> The Gang Gang

In news that will surprise no one, Studio Gang is getting the star treatment by the Art Institute with a monographic show planned for fall 2013. Eavesdrop is certainly not immune to Jeanne Gang’s charms, nor do we dispute her talent, but her work is exhaustively covered in these pages and every other design publication as well as prestige glossies like The New Yorker. Last year, Studio Gang released a monograph of their work, as well as a book-length design proposal for the Chicago River. The firm’s contribution to MoMA’s Foreclosed exhibition just opened. Zoe Ryan and her team at the AIC, then, have given themselves a difficult task: how to show or say something new about the MacArthur-anointed genius architect. And next time, AIC, shine the spotlight on someone a bit less exposed!

Yet Another Star Turn For Jeanne Gang

Watch Jeanne Gang: The Sky's the Limit on PBS. See more from WTTW DOCUMENTARIES.

Still riding the wave of publicity following her recent MacArthur genius grant win, Jeanne Gang gets the full star treatment from Chicago's public TV station WTTW. This documentary, "Jeanne Gang: The Sky's the Limit," is all praise. Blair Kamin and Stanley Tigerman figure as her head cheerleaders. It would have been nice to have someone puncture the bubble a bit, possibly interrogating Gang about architect's limits, rather than merely presenting the discipline (and Gang as one of its leading lights) as a environmental and societal savior. The documentary does show some engaging glimpses of Studio Gang's working methods and office style, so there's plenty to enjoy, even for the (mild) skeptics.

 

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Gang Floats New Ideas for Chicago’s Waterways

Studio Gang has long partnered with nonprofits and community groups to realize their unconventional designs. For her recent Harvard GSD studio, principal Jeanne Gang partnered with one of the nation’s largest environmental groups, the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), to tackle an issue with repercussions across the northern Midwest: separating the South Branch of Chicago River to prevent invasive Asian carp from decimating the Great Lakes. “NRDC told us they were tired of just being against things,” Gang said, in a recent talk at Cooper Union in New York. “They want to be for things.” Gang and her GSD studio investigated the possibilities of returning the river to its natural course, the findings of which have been compiled into a book called Reverse Effect: Renewing Chicago’s Waterways (available from Amazon's and Studio Gang's website beginning November 7). With images as compelling as the one above, it’s easy to see why NRDC thinks partnering with designers is a smart advocacy strategy. For Gang and her students, a region-wide threat called for neighborhood-scale intervention. Such strategic thinking makes architects central players in addressing urgent societal and ecological problems. It never hurts to be essential. A reception for the book will take place tomorrow night at Architectural Artifacts, 4325 North Ravenswood Avenue, Chicago.
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Marriott, Developer Kill Gang’s Tower of Tubes

When Jeanne Gang was brought on board in April to help reimagine a stalled tower in downtown Lexington, Kentucky, the entire community's spirits were uplifted by the bold collaboration proposed by the Chicago-based architect and MacArthur genius. Studio Gang's design replaced an uninspired high-rise block that destroyed an entire city block before running out of steam, but developer Dudley Webb announced Thursday that Gang will no longer be involved with the mixed-use project. Studio Gang's proposal called for a 30-story tower of bundled tubes anchoring one corner housing a small hotel and residences and an 8-story crystalline office tower on the opposite side. In between, smaller structures to be designed by five local firms were situated around green space and organized with a cellular ground plan. Michael Speaks, Dean of the College of Architecture at the University of Kentucky was disappointed by the news that Studio Gang would no longer be involved. "I assumed, like I think a lot of people, Studio Gang had been hired to do the whole thing," he told the Lexington Herald-Leader. "My impression is that Jeanne thought they were going to do the whole project, too." Webb said the bundled tower was among the challenges that wouldn't work for the project. Plans for a boutique hotel fell through, so the developer reverted to original plans for a much larger J.W. Marriott convention hotel. Webb told the Herald-Leader that Marriott will only work with architects who have previously designed convention hotels, a project type Studio Gang hasn't undertaken. Jeanne Gang had expressed interest in working with an architect from Marriott to move the project forward. Now, EOP Architects, one of the five local firms brought on board by Gang to work on the project, will work to redesign the larger hotel and its accompanying 10,000 square foot ballroom and fit it into Studio Gang's master plan. Lexington Mayor Jim Gray, who was influential in bringing Studio Gang on board in the first place, suggested the city should insist on a design that won't compromise Gang's original vision.
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Zaha the Lioness

It felt a bit like the Decoration & Design Building at the Architecture and Design Film Festival last night for the U.S. premiere of Lioness Among Lions: The Architect Zaha Hadid, thanks in part to a smattering of East Side stylings in the crowd at the Tribeca Cinemas and the clever addition of Potterton Books to the festival. Waiting for the theater doors to open, we swigged wine provided by event sponsor Resource Furniture and perused shelves filled with a fantastic collection  of both old and new books; Loos and Gio Ponti pressed up against Studio Gang. As we raved about Van Alen's new bookstore, Potterton's book buyer Beth Daugherty admitted she still mourns the loss of Urban Center Books. Once inside the theater, a sexy little short by photographer Dave Burk cast Studio Gang's new Columbia College Media Production Center in Chicago in soft light and perfectly realized cross-fades. And so it was a bit of disappointment to see the feature film's production values were slightly less than the opener. But the problem with Lioness, which was released in Germany last year, isn't entirely the production. The buildings are handsomely handled by director Horst Brandenburg, though they're not choreographed in a manner that makes one truly feel the flow. No, the main problem is in the fawning tenor of a voiceover that sounds like it's intended for the "Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous." The oversimplified narration will make architecture fans understand what historians must feel watching the History Channel. The saving grace, not surprisingly, is when Hadid weighs in. Only then does the film delve slightly into the technology and offer any deep analysis. But here the editing keeps the focus on the fabulous: Here's Zaha fanning herself in Spain with a Spanish fan; here she is in Hong Kong at a Chanel opening wearing Prada, there she is in ripped jeans... you get the picture. Of course, it's understood that the film is for a general audience, but general audiences dig details, too. Throw in a foundry, a glass manufacturer, and a computer program for good measure. Explain how the buildings work in layman's terms. Only then will the audience understand why she's fabulous.
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Gang in the Great Hall

Fresh off winning a MacArthur Fellowship, last night Jeanne Gang gave a lecture at the Great Hall at Cooper-Union, organized by the Architectural League, which emphasized her firm's commitment to material research, sustainability, and collaboration with experts from diverse fields. She spoke about an ongoing research project into possibly restoring the natural flow of the Chicago River, which may have intrigued New York's Planning Commissioner, Amanda Burden, who was among those in the audience. The project, in many ways, mirrors the Bloomberg Administration's citywide sustainability efforts. Amale Andraos, from Work AC, introduced Gang and guided her through some gentle questioning. Andraos praised Studio Gang's civic engagement and the persistent "earnestness" of their work. When asked about mentors, Gang praised her unnamed professors, made a glancing reference to having worked for Rem Koolhaas, and said how much she learns from her employees. The Koolhaas connection, which she shares with Andraos, seemed particularly intriguing. Because though Koolhaas's research intensive process certainly inform's Gang's approach--as it has influenced countless architectural practices around the world--Gang's earnestness and plainspoken Midwestern attitude seems almost diametrically opposed to Rem's persona. She also discussed her Tower of Tubes in Lexington, Kentucky, which, though it was well received in the community, has yet to secure financing. In addition she gave an preview of the firm's contribution to MoMA's forthcoming exhibition Foreclosed, which looks at a post-industrial site in Cicero, Illinois.  And while she emphasized the importance of community engagement, she said the firm has yet to "spring" the proposal on Cicero.
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MacArthur Dubs Jeanne a Genius

Today the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation announced their 22 new fellows, including Chicago architect Jeanne Gang. Congratulations to Jeanne and everyone at Studio Gang. Best known for the Aqua Tower, the firm has generated consistently innovative solutions for houses, community and cultural projects, beginning, most notably, with the Starlight Theatre in 2003 all the way through their contribution to MoMA's Foreclosed exhibition, currently in development. One of the most prestigious awards in the country for artistic, intellectual, scientific, and professional achievement, the MacArthur also comes with a $500,000 prize, doled out over five years.

Other fellows, via a release from the foundation, include:

  • radio producer engaging a new generation of listeners with audio explorations of scientific and philosophical questions that recreate the thrill of discovery (Jad Abumrad);
  • sports medicine researcher advancing the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of sports-related brain injuries to improve the safety of athletes of all ages (Kevin Guskiewicz);
  • technologist and electrical engineer inventing low-cost, easy to deploy sensor systems to enable users to track household energy consumption and to make buildings more responsive to our needs (Shwetak Patel);
  • clinical psychologist deepening understanding of self-injury and suicide among adolescents and adults in the interest of saving lives and influencing mental health care in our society (Matthew Nock);
  • parasitologist decoding the genomes of virulent human pathogens that cause rare diseases and threaten the lives of millions in the developing world (Elodie Ghedin);
  • long-form journalist crafting richly illuminating accounts of ordinary people in such rapidly changing societies as Reform Era China (Peter Hessler);
  • percussionist and composer infusing Latin jazz with bold new energy and sound, dazzling technical abilities, and rhythmically adventurous compositions (Dafnis Prieto);
  • an evolutionary geneticist resolvingsuch long-standing, fundamental questions as the evolutionary benefits of carrying two copies of each gene and of sexual over asexual reproduction (Sarah Otto);
  • public historian reframing the history of colonial America in works that illuminate the complex relationship between African and Cherokee peoples (Tiya Miles); and
  • poet and translator mining the classical world and poetic techniques to craft imaginative explorations of contemporary life that evoke insights about antiquity’s relevance for today (A.E. Stallings).

A full list of winners can be found here.

Numerous architects have won in the past, not every group of fellows includes an architect. Previous winners include architects Elizabeth Diller, Richardo Scofidio, and Samuel Mockbee and artist designer James Carpenter.

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Stop, Collaborate & Lexington: Studio Gang Reveals New Plans for Stalled Kentucky Site

Developer Dudley Webb of the Webb Companies didn't make any friends when his company razed an entire block of Downtown Lexington, Kentucky for a massive mixed-use tower that ended up stalling in the recession. Now, though, after bringing on Chicago-based Studio Gang to help reimagine the project at the behest of Lexington Mayor Jim Gray and dean of the University of Kentucky College of Design Michael Speaks, the community is regaining excitement over new plans to revamp the CentrePointe site. Jeanne Gang, principal at Studio Gang, took to the stage today to present her latest plans for the CentrePointe site and to announce a team of five Lexington-based architects (chosen from a pool of 25 applicants) who will collaborate on the project to offer variety and local character. The selected firms include: David Biagi, ArchitectCSC Design GroupEOP Architects; OMNI Architects; and Ross Tarrant Architects with Pohl Rosa Pohl. The focal point of the design is a 30-story tower of "bundled tubes" housing a hotel, apartments, and condos. The tower is similar to a concept massing model presented in early June, and features patterning reminiscent of traditional horse farm fencing common around Lexington. Gang told the Lexington Herald-Leader, "The benefit of the tubes is you can go inside and on top of them and have public spaces." Renderings show landscaped voids where the vertical tubes are separated as they rise to maximize air flow and sunlight hitting the building. Adjacent to the tower is an 8-story glass shard office building. Connecting the two larger buildings are a series of smaller scale structures to be designed by local architects. Studio Gang studied the topography of Lexington's equine landscape including the sinuous patterns created by fences around horse farms. Initial concept studies showed a cellular network based on these farms informing the site's layout. Gang also hopes for a pedestrian passage running through the center of the site, possibly housing a sculpture park.