Posts tagged with "Adaptive Reuse":

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JGMA overhauls a former Kmart for a progressive Chicago high school program

Before JGMA was given the job to design a new school for the Cristo Rey St. Martin College Prep (CRSM), it was working with students and faculty in design charrettes. The high school was looking for a design and an architect as progressive as its approach to education, which endeavors to have students function at college level by the time they graduate. On top of offering typical coursework, CRSM matches students with corporations; the students work for the corporations and in turn the corporations sponsor them. Now, the school is hoping to have a campus that lives up to its academic ambitions.

The path to a state-of-the-art school has not necessarily been clear. Currently located in a building in desperate need of repair and updating, CRSM has had no room to expand—even after the school bought a nearby abandoned Kmart store. It took working with the JGMA team to realize a design that would transform the banal nature of a big-box structure into a cohesive campus.

One of the first and most difficult challenges of the project was to remove the stigma of the big box and its not-so-appealing suburban surroundings: Seas of parking lots, strip malls, and fast-food joints surround the site. So JGMA worked to break up the monotony of the vast concrete lot and sterile facade of the building. “These students are used to getting hand-me-down everything,” noted JGMA designer Katie LaCourt. “Their current building is a hand-me-down. Overcoming this stigma associated with the big box was one of our first concerns.”

The artificially lighted interior also needed to be addressed. This came in the form of the biggest and most visible move in the project: plans for three large cuts to be taken out of the roof and facade of the building. These cuts will bring light into and throughout the building, interrupting the visual form of the 120,000-square-foot structure. Playing on the Kmart’s original decorated shed form, a second facade will be draped over the building, giving it a completely different appearance and character. Additionally, the former parking lot at the front of the building will be covered by a soccer field, distancing the building further from its big-box roots.

The large cuts will also provide common areas between the teaching spaces to create the feeling of a campus rather than a single building. Outside of the building, the planned landscaping mirrors these cuts. Long paths will extend from the front and the back of the building to provide outdoor learning areas and connect a marsh to the campus.

Though on track to begin construction by early spring 2017, the conversion process is a long one. Working to accommodate the school and its students, JGMA has divided the project into three phases. The first phase will involve converting 50,000 square feet of the floor area and making two of the designed cuts. This will allow the current 375 students to move into the new space. When the second phase is complete, the entire building will have been converted, and the school will be able to expand to its goal of 500 students. The third and final stage will be the landscaping, which will complete the transformation to an educational campus.

JGMA’s conversion of this empty Kmart is not the first of its kind, but it is indicative of changes happening in many of America’s suburbs. Many big boxes across the country, which for numerous reasons have closed or moved into new spaces, have begun to be redeveloped. In a few notable examples, large stores have been converted into city libraries. In Eden Prairie, Minnesota, BTR Architects converted a former grocery store into the county’s public library; just as for the Cristo Rey project, light and large expansive spaces were issues that had to be addressed. Others have been converted into fitness centers and go-kart tracks, and one even became a Spam museum. These conversions have achieved varied levels of success and innovation. When complete, Cristo Rey will arguably be one of the most ambitious.

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The iconic Saint Boniface Church on Chicago’s Near North Side narrowly avoids the wrecking ball

One hundred and fourteen years to the month after the cornerstone of Saint Boniface Church was laid, the building was saved from the wrecking ball. After lying vacant since 1990, the City of Chicago set a deadline of September 23 for the building to be sold, or it would be ordered demolished. That same day, local developer STAS Development closed on the property with plans to convert the iconic North Side church into residences and a music school.

The Saint Boniface parish has been a staple of the Near North Side in Chicago since 1860. First German and then Polish, the story of the parish and the church it called home is one that is common in Chicago. As one of the first schools in the area, the church was the center of an immigrant community. The four-towered Romanesque design by architect Henry J. Schlacks sits 900 and has a 52-foot-high ceiling.

Now, a collaboration between STAS Development and the Hyde Park–based Chicago Academy of Music will transform the original structure: The 32,000-square-foot church will be converted into 15 residential units, with a music school and 24 more units planned for new construction on the site. While this will completely change the nature of the historic structure, it is still considered a big win by preservationists.

As development continues at breakneck speed on the Near North Side, churches have become popular structures for conversion into housing throughout its neighborhoods. Saint Boniface’s neighborhood of Nobel Square, as well as nearby Wicker Park, Ukrainian Village, Bucktown, and Logan Square, were once filled with German Catholics and Eastern European Catholics building churches literally every few blocks. Only a very small number of these churches remain as active worship spaces. Those lucky enough to be spared the wrecking ball attract developers with their high ceilings, stained-glass windows, and distinctive character. As they are often larger than the typical stacked-flat housing stock in the neighborhoods, they can be used for denser development.

Saint Boniface is an outlier among these converted churches, though. Unlike so many of the others, it is not deeply embedded in the tight streets of its surrounding neighborhood. Instead, it stands out on a major street with its four large bell towers, one of which is 150 feet tall. The church is an icon in its neighborhood, and more recently an icon for the whole city. After the Chicago Cubs’ recent World Series win, Saint Boniface was used as the backdrop for a Nike commercial in which a young Cubs fan plays out his own World Series win in the adjacent park.

Although neighborhoods in Chicago quickly change in demographics and density, Saint Boniface will not be the last of the old churches to be “saved” by development, though it is likely to be one of the largest. While complete plans have not yet been released, one can’t help but wonder if someone will have a condo with an ornately vaulted ceiling or a rose window.

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Foster-designed Apple store proposed for historic Carnegie Library in D.C.

The Carnegie Library at Mount Vernon Square, a historic building next to Washington’s Convention Center, is likely to become the home of a flagship Apple store designed by Foster + Partners of London. Events D.C., the convention and sports authority for the District of Columbia, last week entered into a letter of intent with Apple to lease portions of the 63,000-square-foot library, which is under its jurisdiction. If negotiations are successful, the development will reimagine the historic site for the 21st century, while remaining consistent with its original purpose. The plan calls for the tech giant to renovate the 1903 library at 801 K. Street N. W. and pay market-rate rent to operate a store designed by Foster + Partners, which was founded by Norman Foster and also designed Apple stores in San Francisco and London. “This is an extremely important repositioning of an iconic building—a building whose original purpose was about community, information and sharing of knowledge,” said Max Brown, chairman of the board of Events DC. "Amid rapid change in our city, we are confident the space can become a true blend of the square’s past and future.” “We are excited that Apple is interested in joining our growing tech ecosystem,” said Washington Mayor Muriel Bowser. “The store’s proposed location… will link D.C.’s rich history to our continued economic renaissance, will demonstrate the strength of our retail market, and will tell companies across the globe that the District is open for business.” According to Events DC, the proposed arrangement calls for Apple to lease portions of the library’s ground floor and basement levels under a 10-year lease, with two five-year options to renew. Events DC will have certain rights to use non-retail areas of the library for special events, and Apple will “co-locate” in the library with its existing tenant, The Historical Society of Washington. “A partnership with Apple would be a tremendous opportunity for Events DC, for the Historical Society, and for the District,” said Gregory A. O’Dell, president and chief executive officer of Events DC. “Not only can this new partnership cement the Shaw neighborhood as a convention and entertainment district in the city, but it can also drive economic impact with substantial revenue opportunities. Designed by Ackerman & Ross in the Beaux Arts style, the Carnegie Library was one of thousands of libraries funded by steel industry titan Andrew Carnegie, and it was the first fully-integrated public building in Washington, D.C. In 1999, Congress granted $2 million and a 99-year lease to the historical society to use the building as a history museum about Washington, D.C. After $20 million worth of renovations funded by local donors, the library has served as the home of the historical society’s exhibits, public programs, and renowned Kiplinger Research Library since 2003. The area around the library has seen rapid growth in recent years, with the opening of the Marriott Marquis Washington and a series of new restaurants, stores and housing developments. In 2014, Carnegie Library was considered as a new home for the International Spy Museum, which had outgrown its current location at 800 F. Street N. W. But the museum and its architect, MGA Partners, wanted to build additions to the existing structure and their plan was turned down by historic preservationists. Now that Events D. C. has shown support for Apple’s project, plans still must be approved by the National Capital Planning Commission and Washington’s Historic Preservation Review Board before construction can begin. It would be the second Apple store in Washington, after one in Georgetown.
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The plan to turn a Chicago industrial complex into an urban food manufacturing hub

The Chicago-based Center for Neighborhood Technology (CNT) wants to transform Chicago’s Central Manufacturing District (CMD) into a food-producing facility. The CMD is a city-owned complex in the near South Side which currently lies nearly vacant. Over 100 years old, the CMD was the first planned manufacturing district in the country, and was once one of the largest manufacturing districts in the entire world, home to over 250 businesses at one point. To those who know that neighborhood, the CMD is mostly known for the 12-story clock tower that stands at its main entrance. Now the CNT has some thoughts on how to return it to some of that glory. The Center for Neighborhood Technology is a think tank dedicated to research and strategy aimed at making cities more livable and equitable. In late 2015, the CNT brought together 28 though leaders to discuss the future of the CMD and propose actions to the city. The CNT set forth a specific mission for the group: “To revitalize the historic central manufacturing District as a 21st century vertical, green, and urban Industrial park that benefits from its central Chicago location, a dense network of related firms, and transportation cost savings from On-site rail-based freight handling.” The resulting recently released report outlines the group's findings and thoughts on revitalizing the district. The main idea presented in the report is to return the multiple six-story buildings to their manufacturing roots, and transform the site into a “food hub” and “Industrial EcoDistrict.” The CMD’s location, near rail and major interstates, and its near blank slate interiors mean the site can still handle the demands of manufacturing. With millions of square feet to work with, whatever happens there could be a big deal. The report sets forth five ideas on how to move forward with the CMD: Position the CMD facilities as a “food hub.” This involves attracting small to medium size food industry businesses by providing needed amenities to startups. Create a design/build competition or “right to develop” award. Based on competitions used by other cities to promote redevelopment, this would involve architects, planners, and designers. Use workforce development imperative as an investment generator. The CNT proposes expanding new workforce resources to provide training and jobs for the surrounding community and greater city. Eliminate the “transit desert” effect in the immediate area. The CMD currently lacks extensive access to public transportation. The report proposes adding a new L station, as the Orange Line currently runs above the western end of the site. Demonstrate the site’s potential in the near-term. By promoting events, pop-ups, and short-term low-cost leases, the CNT believes the site can gain the needed interest to get the redevelopment started.
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Dreyfuss + Blackford to convert historic power station in Sacramento to STEM center

Sacramento-based Dreyfuss + Blackford Architecture revealed plans this week to convert a long-vacant Beaux Arts style power plant designed by Bay Area architect Willis Polk into a $63 million regional science and educational center. The structure, designed in 1912 during the region’s recovery from the disastrous 1906 San Francisco earthquake, and while Polk was the West Coast representative of the illustrious and prolific D.H. Burnham & Company, was once the largest power plant north of San Francisco. The plant formally closed in 1954 and was declared a superfund site in 1986 due to a high concentration of heavy metals in the soil around the Sacramento River-adjacent structure. After being remediated over the following five years, the power plant came to be seen as the lynchpin of a post-industrial, regional science and culture greenway. Dreyfuss + Blackford’s adaptive reuse project aims to bring the structure back into relevance as a Science Technology Engineering and Math (STEM) center by inserting a new mezzanine level into the plant’s former turbine and boiler rooms. The large, open volumes formerly housing massive industrial machinery will make way for approximately 48,000 square feet of exhibit space and offices and will include a 150-seat planetarium. A new entry structure, clad in glass and intentionally deferent to Polk’s design, will feature exhibits, a café, and support services for the historic structure. Future phases of the project will also include the construction of a parking structure (with a 273 car capacity), outdoor amphitheater, terrace, wetland “living machine,” and other outdoor hands-on exhibits, with West Office Exhibition Design of Oakland, California, designing the interior and exterior exhibits. The project is currently in the midst of capital campaign, a construction timeline has not been released for the project.
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PARTSIANS transforms power plant into venue for Toronto’s Luminato Festival

Toronto’s 10th Luminato Festival will #TurnOnTheHearn from now until June 26. To host the festival, Toronto-based architecture firm PARTISANS, in collaboration with theater and acoustics consultancy Charcoalblue, have repurposed the decommissioned Hearn Generating Station as a cultural center. The 400,000-square-foot space now serves a variety of purposes, including housing galleries, theaters, and cafes. A drone video captures the Hearn transformed: One of the exhibits—dubbed Trove: A View of Toronto in 50 of its Treasures and curated by Luminato Festival Artistic Director Jörn Weisbrodt—features fifty photographs by Toronto-based artist Scott McFarland of treasured objects and artworks from the city's private and public collections, The images are adhered onto the sides of the building. "Trove is like looking in a rear view mirror only the reflection reveals objects rarely before seen and stories yet untold," the press release states. PARTISANS designed a virtual gallery for Trove accessed via an augmented reality app “TheHearnAR." The app was developed by PARTISANS and Norm Li Studios; the duo also developed a video game to #PlayTheHearn that permits the exploration of the space and festival. PARTISANS has set up a temporary studio in the Hearn where it can engage with visitors and produce 3D models of the power plant and surrounding Port Lands. The models, created with the help of Ryerson University design students, will be a part of PARTISANS & Friends: Pop-Up Studio I & II, a two-part studio session in which designers and guests will imagine the future of Toronto. The discussion will range from the city’s infrastructure and architecture to its cultural and economic success. Guests will include: Halifax-based architecture firm Omar Gandhi, Toronto-based architecture firm UUfie, Luminato Festival Art Director Jörn Weisbrodt, and Toronto City Councillor Paula Fletcher.
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“Maker Park” emerges as newest idea for development of Bushwick Inlet

A new idea recently emerged for a piece of property, which has long been in dispute, along the Bushwick Inlet. The initial plan for the Bushwick Inlet was to convert the industrial “wasteland” into a 28-acre park. That was what was promised to the people of Williamsburg and Greenpoint in 2005 following the Waterfront Rezoning Agreement, introduced under the Bloomberg administration. Advocates for this proposal, including Friends of Bushwick Inlet Park, have continually voiced their desire that the property be used for green space. However, Citistorage owner Norman Brodsky still possesses an 11 acre triangle of land needed for the park. It currently holds the old Bayside Oil Depot. Brodsky wants to sell the property for $250 million to the city. However, the city has far exceeded initial cost estimates for the park—$60 million to $90 million—having already spent around $224 million. Rumors are circulating that city may use eminent domain to take the land. If that were to happen, the city would have to compensate Brodsky for a certain amount, then additionally pay for the extensive environmental remediation needed to make the site usable. As of yet, the city has not make decision. More recently, however, local stakeholder Zac Waldman has floated a vision for a “Maker Park” at the site's industrial facilities. In fact, Waldman has assembled a team of supporters to translate that vision into a more definitive plan. They include the events coordinator for the Municipal Art Society (MAS); Stacey Anderson, a creative director at Kushner Companies; Karen Zabarsky; and architect Jay Valgora of New York City–based firm STUDIO V Architecture, along with other designers and developers. Valgora is known for his adaptive reuse projects, such as Empire Stores, the redevelopment of an empty and neglected brick storehouse in DUMBO, Brooklyn. While no definitive plans have been revealed for Maker Park, the development team is working to devise a strategy to convert the warehouses, garages, and cylindrical fuel containers into an artisan marketplace and industrial playground. The Maker Park website describes the vision as “a beautiful and otherworldly industrial topography.” However, Natalie Grybauskas, a spokesperson for Mayor de Blasio, has stated that Maker Park is not a feasible use of the site due to the need for environmental remediation, according to The New York Times. Previous projects of this nature have proved successful, notably the on-going Freshkills Park project and the Croton Water Filtration Plant. Freshkills was the world’s largest landfill until 2001, when it stopped receiving trash (save the debris from post-9/11 cleanups). Over the course of two decades, each of the Staten Island landfill’s massive mounds have been capped, allowing development of 2,200 acres of parkland that offer hiking, biking, playgrounds, and a number of other amenities not typically accessible to residents and visitors of New York City. The site even harvests natural gas from the contained landfill. The Croton Water Filtration Plant, designed by New York City–based Grimshaw Architects, is situated beneath a golf driving range in Van Cortlandt Park in the Bronx. An article in The New York Times notes that 290 million gallons of water are treated each day at the $3.2 billion plant. Additionally, the plant provides 100 million of gallons of water each day to the western edges of Manhattan and areas of the Bronx. While adaptive reuse has played a significant role in breaking up the monotony of the congested metropolitan landscape in these projects, the concept of an "industrial theme" for the Maker Park remains vague. Although the use of existing infrastructure presents advantages, there are still many considerations to take into account before this is deemed feasible and worthy of the community. The fact remains that Citistorage still owns 11 acres of the property needed to pursue any development for public use of the site, or development, period, since anyone could snatch up the property.
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Gensler reveals plans for 35-acre Port of L.A. Marine Research Center

Gensler’s Los Angeles office has revealed plans for a $150 million expansion to the Port of Los Angeles by marine science and business innovation group AltaSea. At a ceremony hosted at the firm's Downtown L.A. headquarters, designers at Gensler detailed a 280,000 square foot facility encompassing a new waterfront promenade, aquaculture research center, and science hub set 35-acre stretch of historical docks and waterfront spaces. The project combines the adaptive reuse of existing dockside warehouses with the construction of a new visitor’s center and signal-house. Three formerly industrial warehouse shells, exposed composite steel beams, and original overhead trusses will house dedicated research and business development facilities for aquaculture and underwater robotics endeavors. The project's development will be divided into phases beginning with the redevelopment of Warehouses 58 through 60, which will add 180,000 square feet of combined research and business hubs to the site. This phase also incorporates an education pavilion and wharf plaza into the mix. The second and third phases entail renovating Warehouse 57—which will contain 60,000 square feet of laboratory and classroom space—and the construction of the site's two new structures.  Those new constructions, Berth 56 and a tower dubbed “the Viewing Structure,” are located between the arms of the two docks housing the science warehouse spaces. Berth 56 is a  landscape-oriented community center with educational and exhibition spaces, as well as amenities like viewing platforms and a theater. The 5-story viewing tower is located at the foot of a Berth 56’s roof terrace, which has been sculpted to blend with a street-level plaza. After citing the prominence of tower structures in the port’s historical development, Li Wen, Design Director at Gensler, described the firm’s approach with the new tower as an attempt to, “make a place with a new, 21st century tower that’s all about sustainability. So instead of emitting light, this tower actually harvests energy.” The overall scheme is an attempt to create a closed loop of scientific discovery, product innovation, and entrepreneurial commercialization at AltaSea’s campus. It is also being designed to be “net-positive” by generating more energy, through tidal, wind, and solar generation, than it consumes. Gensler expects to begin construction on the first phase of the project in 2016 with the community center set to open in 2023.
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Wheeler Kearns to design experimental art space for Crystal Bridges Museum

Bentonville, Arkansas will soon be home to a new art space designed by Chicago-based Wheeler Kearns Architects. The Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art has announced plans to convert a former Kraft cheese factory in Bentonville into new gallery space for unconventional programming. Like MoMA’s PS1 in Queens, New York, this venue will facilitate the showing of temporary, interactive, and performance art in a less formal setting. The museum’s permanent collection is currently displayed in a Moshe Safdie-designed building that bridges natural spring ponds in a forested setting. The museum grounds are also home to the Frank Lloyd Wright designed Bachman-Wilson House, which was moved from its original location along the Millstone River in New Jersey. The new exhibition space will take on a much different feel than the polished Safdie galleries. The former factory will be allowed to maintain much of its industrial character throughout its 63,000 square feet. The new space's downtown location will also distinguish it from the museum's more rural main campus. The biggest difference, however, will be the way in which art is displayed and created in the space. In addition to film screenings and performances of music and theatre, the former factory will host a new multi-disciplinary artists-in-residence program. As such, Wheeler Kearns plans to design the space to be flexibly-used. Crystal Bridges will also collaborate with the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art (MASS MoCA) to develop the programing for the space. The Walton Family Foundation, Wal-Mart's philanthropic group, was heavily involved in the creation of Crystal Bridges. Steuart and Tom Walton—grandsons of Walmart founder Sam Walton—are leading the foundation’s support the new space. Both have served on the museum's Board of Directors. The yet-to-be-named exhibition space is scheduled to be completed in 2018.
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San Francisco seeking enhanced landmark protection for one of Frank Lloyd Wright’s most significant works

A gestural ramp takes visitors to the upper stories, passing objets d'art nested into built-in niches. A bubbled skylight lets the sun's rays penetrate into an expansive atrium, even on cloudy days. The AIA says the landmarked building is one of Frank Lloyd Wright's 17 essential works. The Guggenheim? Not so much. Wright's only San Francisco building, a city landmark since 1974, sits on Maiden Lane, a quiet side street downtown. The last tenant, Xanadu Gallery, closed up shop last year. Before the next tenant moves in, preservationists are rallying to expand existing landmark protections to include parts of the interior that date to 1948, including the ceiling, a skylit plane comprised of 120 acrylic domes, mahogany display cabinets, and a brass hanging planter. Wright designed the project, one of his only renovations of an existing building, in 1948 for V.C. and Lillian Morris. The couple had a shop on the same street and had previously commissioned Wright to design four houses for them (none were built). The space became the home of the V.C. Morris Gift Shop. Although the exterior, whose arch could be a subtle tribute to Louis Sullivan, is elegant, Wright experts concede that the interior is more architecturally significant. 140 Maiden Lane was a real-world test for the Guggenheim, built in 1959, which Wright conceptualized sixteen years earlier. The skylight hints at Wright's later work, like the 1961 Marin County Civic Center. The Prairie-style homes Wright completed in the Chicago suburbs are echoed in the masonry cliff, muses John King, The San Francisco Chronicle’s urban design critic. When Xanadu Gallery moved into the space in 1997, the owners, Raymond and Marsha Handley, restored many of the interior details that were left to languish in the basement. They consulted preservation experts, including Aaron Green, who with Wright collaborated on the Marin Civic Center. Marsha feels confident that the new owner, a Hong Kong–based investor who also owns Los Angeles's Bradbury Building, will be mindful of this building's significance. It's rumored that the new tenant may be a restaurant, or a European clothing boutique. City Planners have broached the bid for elevated landmark status with the owner's representatives, as they intend to send the revised landmark designation to the Planning Commission and Board of Supervisors in the next few months.
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BNIM cancels ultra-green Kansas City headquarters project after tax incentive controversy

Less than a year after presenting a design proposal to renovate an empty warehouse into their new national headquarters in the Crossroads Art District of Kansas City, local firm BNIM has withdrawn its plans. After a losing battle over tax incentives, the firm and the building’s owner have stated that without the financial support of the city, the project is not economically viable. The proposal by BNIM, the 2011 AIA National Architecture Firm Award winners, was envisioned as a “living” building that would efficiently use water and produce as much energy as it used. As planned, the building would achieve a higher standard than LEED Platinum, something that BNIM has achieved one other time in a built project in New York State. To achieve this level of sustainability, the project was planned to utilize numerous novel technologies and techniques, including a greenhouse to help with water management and a solar array used for energy, passive water heating and cooling, and shade. Also serving as a space for professional and academic education the firm described the project as “a global laboratory for quality sustainable design.” The firm would have used the top two floors of the 43,000 square foot building while the bottom floor was slated for retail, commercial, and office space. With the support of the mayor and city council, the $13.2 million project was hoping to utilize $5.2 million from the cities Tax Incentive Finance Committee (TIF). A hotbed issue in many cities, social justice activists and concerned Kansas City School District parents opposed the incentives going to the project, stating that too much money would be diverted from public schools. Understanding the concerns of residents, BNIM and the city attempted to negotiate and reformulate the proposal and incentive package to accommodate the resistance. The decision to provide the TIF money was to be voted on as a ballot initiative. By gathering petition signatures, opponents were able to stop the measure from even being added to the ballot, effectively killing the possibility of the money being released. BNIM has stated that its is still committed to staying in Kansas City, and will now be looking for a new office space as current projects require growth in the coming year.
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Wheeler Kearns’ renovation of a Chicago nonprofit arts center wins 2016 SEED Award

Building on a long relationship, the 2016 SEED Award for Public Interest Design has been awarded to the arts education nonprofit Marwen’s new renovation and expansion, designed by Chicago-based Wheeler Kearns Architects. Founded in 1987 in a one-room studio, Marwen now serves from 200 to 300 students a year in part thanks to expansions and renovations done over the last 20 years by Wheeler Kearns. The newest of these projects renovated 30,000 square feet, expanding the organization’s space within its current building. New spaces in the building include a main student gallery, an alumni gallery, a library, administrative offices, nine state-of-the-art instructional studios, and a 950-square-foot glass loggia on the north side of the building. The loggia, an element Marwen and Wheeler Kearns have been discussing for since 1999, was finally able to be realized with the purchase of the neighboring parking lot. The space acts as an additional public exhibition and gathering space. Continuing with some of the elements and sensibility of earlier renovations for the organization, Wheeler Kearns worked with existing conditions in the former manufacturing building. Most walls were left as exposed brick and heavy timber douglas fir beams make up the structure and ceiling. The floors were replaced with poured, sound-deadening, tooled concrete. Gallery and studio spaces have limited color pallets to allow for exhibition flexibility, while informal support spaces are set in vibrant colors. The new and improved spaces will be used to expand Marwen’s programs and support its increased focus on college and career counseling for under-served 6–12 grade students from around Chicago. Along with that counseling the organization provides free classes in photography, graphic design, film, animation, textiles, and ceramics. Besides working with Marwen on its former spaces, Wheeler Kearns has also worked on other small cultural institutions in Chicago including the Old Town School of Folk Music and the Beverly Art Center. In a statement Dan Wheeler, founding partner at Wheeler Kearns explained the office's interest in designing for the youth and the arts, “In many minds, the arts are seen as an avocation; for a parent to come into a designed place and see that there are serious teachers and artists working with and instructing the students, and that their child’s work is considered and presented in a professional way, that gives them the confidence that this activity might actually be something to support and sustain their child.”