Posts tagged with "Chicago":

Placeholder Alt Text

Goettsch Partners unveils new 51-story tower for Downtown Chicago

Chicago-based Goettsch Partners has released an extensive set of renderings for 110 North Wacker Drive, a new office tower proposed for a site just across the river from the firm's nearly finished 150 North Riverside Tower. The 51-story 110 North Wacker Drive will rise along the east bank of the south branch of Chicago River, adding 1.35-million-square-foot to Chicago’s financial district. Clad in a sheer aluminum and glass curtain wall, the tower will include one of Goettsch Partners’s signature bases. The tall glassy ground floor is set back from the street and the river, not unlike 150 North Riverside. A serrated facade along the building’s western side will provide views up and down the river for its tenants, while rooftop decks will provide a 360-degree panorama of the surrounding city. Along with class-A office space, the tower will include retail dining, a conference center, and a fitness facility. “One of the few office building sites in downtown Chicago bounded by three streets and the Chicago River, 110 North Wacker Drive is the last premier office site in Chicago offering unmatched views of and from the building,” said James Goettsch, FAIA, chairman and CEO of Goettsch Partners in a press statement. “The site’s trapezoidal shape allows us to provide a series of stepped projections on the western facade, enhancing views up and down the river, emphasizing the building’s verticality, and providing the building with a distinct identity. At street level, almost half of the site is publicly accessible and features a soaring covered riverwalk, supported by a distinctive structural design.” To achieve its size, the project paid $19.55 million into the city’s Neighborhood Opportunity Bonus system. This money, which allows developers increase FAR or building height, is then used for community improvements around the city. A full 80% of the nearly $20 million will go towards commercial corridor improvements in under-served neighborhoods, while the remaining 20% going towards landmarks around the city and infrastructure in the neighborhood around the tower.
Placeholder Alt Text

Merchandise Mart facade to host grand public light installation

As reported by the Chicago Tribune, Chicago’s epically-scaled Merchandise Mart will soon host a public art piece to match its size. Scheduled for a 2018 unveiling, the installation will be comprised of large-scale projections that will illuminate the two-block stretch of the Chicago River in front of the building. Leading the design of the installation is New York–based A+I architects and San Francisco-based Obscura Digital. Obscura specializes in immersive experience design and has done similarly scaled projection projects on such iconic buildings as the Empire State Building, the Sydney Opera House, and the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi. An RFP released by the city in 2014 hints at a possible vision for the installation, with interactive videos playing on its facade. That RFP was a call for a design team for the Lighting Frame Work Plan (LFP) to imagine a comprehensive lighting plan for the public spaces of Chicago. A major portion of the RFP was dedicated to the stretch of the Chicago River which now is home to the Riverwalk. The language of the RFP specifically addressed lighting as a part of the city’s goal to integrate art, design, and technology into public spaces to attract tourist. The announcement comes as the city celebrates the Year of Public Art, which includes the installation of multiple new pieces in public spaces, a $1.5 million investment from the city, and a series of public events and programs. The Merchandise Mart project is planned to be completely privately funded. Completed 1931, the art deco Merchandise Mart was designed by Graham, Anderson, Probst and White. It was the largest building in the world by floor area until the Pentagon was built and is still in the top 50 for largest buildings in the world. Today the building is filled with a variety of tenants but is best known for its wholesale design showrooms on the lower floors. Upper floors are filled with office and exhibition spaces, including a large tech startup incubator, and Motorola Mobility. The Mart, as it is usually referred to, is also home to NeoCon, the international commercial design show.
Placeholder Alt Text

New details emerge for EXPO CHICAGO’s Palais de Tokyo exhibition

Representatives from EXPO CHICAGO, Paris’s contemporary art venue Palais de Tokyo, the Institut français, and the DuSable Museum of African American History have announced the location of the Palais de Tokyo’s off-site exhibition for this year’s EXPO CHICAGO, opening this September. Along with the announcement of the exhibition’s location, it was also revealed, at least in part, what the format of the show would be. The site for the exhibition will be the Roundhouse at the DuSable Museum near the University of Chicago, on the city’s South Side. The Roundhouse, which was designed by Burnham and Root in the late 19th century, was originally used for equestrian activities in Washington Park, where it and the DuSable are located. The structure includes an impressive wood dome, which has been completely refurbished along with the rest of the building in recent years. The Palais de Tokyo show will be the first public exhibition in the space. "As we continue to build support for EXPO CHICAGO’s extraordinary collaboration with the Palais de Tokyo, no venue in Chicago is more appropriate to host the first U.S.-based iteration of the renowned French institution’s Hors Les Murs program than the Roundhouse at the DuSable Museum of African American History," said EXPO CHICAGO President/Director Tony Karman. "The institutional connection and historical relevance of the Roundhouse provides a perfect setting for the local and global art and architecture communities to engage in this landmark exhibition." The show will be curated by Palais de Tokyo’s Katell Jaffrès, with exhibition design by designer Andrew Schachman, who was nominated by the Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts. Focusing on “the dialogue between architecture and artistic process,” the exhibition will fill the 17,000-square-foot building with site-specific works by a yet-to-be-announced group of artists.  The artists will be from France and Chicago, and will work closely with Schuchman to conceive pieces that are not only works of art, but also spaces able to receive the works of others. The clear connection to architectural installations helps align the show with the Chicago Architecture Biennial, which will coincide with the opening of EXPO. “The simultaneity of EXPO CHICAGO and the Chicago Architecture Biennial provides the opportunity to affirm the vital relationship between the two disciplines of art and architecture,” said Palais de Tokyo President Jean de Loisy under the massive wooden dome. “Just as El Lissitzky did with his Proun Rooms, or Frederick Kiesler for Peggy Guggenheim’s Art of this Century Gallery in 1942, we are devising an imbrication of the constructive activities of artists with the possibility of external interferences on their structures coming from other, complicit artists. Palais de Tokyo is thus bringing together artists from the French and Chicago scenes to produce a show conceived to be something utterly unusual.” The show will be executed in two parts over coming months, first as a residency and then as the exhibition. The residency work in partnership with Mana Contemporary Chicago, which will give the resident artist space to produce their large-scale pieces. The entire program will be the first in a new three-year program in Chicago that has been developed by the Palais de Tokyo and the Institut français. EXPO Chicago will run from Thursday, September 14th through Sunday, Sept. 17th.
Placeholder Alt Text

City of Chicago asks architects to envision future of riverfront

A group of architectural firms will work with the City of Chicago to develop design concepts for a substantial new portion to the Chicago's quickly developing riverfront. Mayor Rahm Emanuel, the Chicago Department of Planning and Development (DPD), and the Metropolitan Planning Council (MPC) announced the launch of the Chicago Urban River Edges Ideas Lab. The participating firms include David Adjaye, James Corner Field Operations, Perkins+Will, Ross Barney Architects, Sasaki, Site Design, SOM, Studio Gang Architects, and SWA. “Following the successful completion of the latest sections of the Chicago Riverwalk and with a number of riverfront developments in progress across the city, including the planning process for the North Branch Industrial Corridor around Goose Island, now is the perfect time to engage the architectural community to help us create new river edge guidelines,” said Mayor Rahm Emanuel. Each of the listed firms has extensive experience with designing award-winning riverfronts, public spaces, and parks around the world. The Ideas Lab will gather new concepts from the firms while engaging the local and global community for feedback. Each of the firms will submit more formal design proposals by June 2017, which will then be displayed to the public during the second Chicago Architecture Biennial. The information gathered throughout the process will also be used to inform the city’s riverfront design guidelines, which are planned to be released in 2018. Along with the physical exhibition, WSP Parsons Brnckerhoff, with support from Comcast, will produce digital exhibition components that will include augmented and virtual reality experiences (viewed via cell phones). Additional installations using California company Owlized's virtual reality technology will also be developed. The Chicago Urban River Edges Ideas Lab will be funded by the Richard H. Driehaus Foundation and Comcast. The announcement by the city came as the Mayor, along with Anne Hidalgo, mayor of Paris, hosted an 18-mayor conference on to discuss the future of urban waterways. The conference, held in downtown Chicago, included input from Jeanne Gang. “On behalf of all of the firms participating in the Ideas Lab, we’re honored and excited to get to work. Chicago’s rivers are an amazing landscape and waterscape that can connect our neighborhoods, enliven our civic life, and provide solace, all at the same time,” said Carol Ross Barney. Ross Barney Architects, along with Sasaki, were responsible for the design of Chicago’s current Riverwalk
Placeholder Alt Text

Chicago Architecture Club announces 2016 Chicago Prize winners

The Chicago Architecture Club (CAC) has just announced the winners of the 2016 Chicago Prize. This year’s competition, entitled "On the Edge," asked entrants to envision the future of Chicago’s Lakefront. Along with the winners, a group of shortlisted submissions will go on display at the Chicago Architecture Foundation. The top prize went to the Kwong Von Glinow Design Office for its entry Grand Lattices. The proposal calls for a series of steel-frame structures in the median of Lake Shore Drive. The structures are integrated into the current tunnels that connect the city to the lakefront under the road, enticing pedestrians to stop and climb into a space that is normally relegated completely to automobiles. Aerial Greenway by Tulio Polisi and Michael Graceffa, which received an Honorable Mention, proposes to connect some of the city’s most popular pedestrian areas to the lakefront through a system of winding elevated footbridges. The project extends the Chicago Riverwalk and Upper Wacker Drive over Lake Shore Drive to the Lakefront Trail. Another Honorable Mention by Loren Johnson is entitled Open Source (OS) Edge Network. Perhaps the most dramatic of the three, the Edge Network pushes Lake Shore Drive out into Lake Michigan and fills the space between the road and land with a grid of vertical piers. The piers come in multiple forms, including one to capture kinetic energy, one that provides habitat for wildlife, and a third type that is dedicated to recreation.
Placeholder Alt Text

Chicago Architecture Biennial announces 2017 participants

The Chicago Architecture Biennial has announced its 2017 list of participants. Artistic directors Sharon Johnston and Mark Lee of Los Angeles-based firm Johnston Marklee selected the 100 firms to present their work at the second Biennial from September 16th, 2017, through January 7th, 2018. This year’s Biennial, titled "Make New History," will take a decidedly historical look at architecture. The show hopes to address the persistent "insistence on creating works that are unprecedented and unrelated to architectures of the past." The participating architects represent a generation which has a renewed interest in historic precedents, while still being interested in progressive architecture. "This year’s list of participants was carefully chosen to showcase the future of architecture and design rooted in history," said Todd Palmer, Executive Director of the Chicago Architecture Biennial. “Through presenting a variety of work, we aim to give visitors of all kinds, from leaders across the global architecture community to the interested traveler, an in-depth look at architecture as we know it today, and the chance to be inspired by how architecture is making new history in cities around the world.” The following participants will present work at the Chicago Cultural Center, as well as sites across the city. 51N4E (Brussels, Belgium; Tirana, Albania) 6A Architects (London, UK) Ábalos+Sentkiewicz (Madrid, Spain; Cambridge, USA; Shanghai, China) Adamo-Faiden (Buenos Aires, Argentina) AGENdA agencia de arquitectura (Medellin, Colombia) Aires Mateus (Lisbon, Portugal) Ana Prvački and SO-IL (Los Angeles, USA; New York, USA) Andrew Kovacs (Los Angeles, USA) Angela Deuber Architect (Chur, Switzerland) Ania Jaworska (Chicago, USA) Aranda\Lasch and Terrol Dew Johnson (New York, USA; Tucson, USA) Archi-Union (Shanghai, China) Architecten de Vylder Vinck Taillieu (Ghent, Belgium) Arno Brandlhuber and Christopher Roth (Berlin, Germany) Atelier Manferdini (Venice, USA) AWP office for territorial reconfiguration (Paris, France; London, UK) Bak Gordon Arquitectos (Lisbon, Portugal) Barbas Lopes (Lisbon, Portugal) Barkow Leibinger (Berlin, Germany) baukuh (Milan, Italy) Besler & Sons LLC (Los Angeles, USA) BLESS (Berlin, Germany) BUREAU SPECTACULAR (Los Angeles, USA) Caruso St John (London, UK) Charlap Hyman & Herrero (Los Angeles, USA; New York, USA) Charles Waldheim (Cambridge, USA) Christ & Gantenbein (Basel, Switzerland) Daniel Everett (Chicago, USA; Salt Lake City, USA) David Schalliol (Chicago, USA) Dellekamp Arquitectos (Mexico City, Mexico) Design With Company (Chicago, USA) Diego Arraigada Arquitectos (Rosario, Argentina) DOGMA (Brussels, Belgium) DRDH (London, UK) ENSAMBLE STUDIO (Madrid, Spain; Boston, USA) Éric Lapierre Architecture (Paris, France) Estudio Barozzi Veiga (Barcelona, Spain) fala atelier (Porto, Portugal) Filip Dujardin (Ghent, Belgium) Fiona Connor and Erin Besler (Los Angeles, USA; Auckland, New Zealand) First Office (Los Angeles, USA) formlessfinder (New York, USA) Frida Escobedo (Mexico City, Mexico) Gerard and Kelly (Los Angeles, USA; New York, USA) Go Hasegawa (Tokyo, Japan) HHF Architects (Basel, Switzerland) Iñigo Manglano-Ovalle (Chicago, USA) J. MAYER H. und Partner, Architekten and Philip Ursprung (Berlin, Germany) James Welling (New York, USA) Jesús Vassallo (Houston, USA) Jorge Otero-Pailos (New York, USA) June14 Meyer-Grohbrügge & Chermayeff (New York, USA; Berlin, Germany) Karamuk * Kuo Architects (New York, USA; Zurich, Switzerland) Keith Krumwiede (New York, USA) Kéré Architecture (Berlin, Germany) Kuehn Malvezzi (Berlin, Germany) Luisa Lambri (Milan, Italy) Lütjens Padmanabhan Architekten (Zurich, Switzerland) Made In (Geneva, Switzerland; Zurich, Switzerland) MAIO (Barcelona, Spain) Marianne Mueller (Zurich, Switzerland) Marshall Brown (Chicago, USA) MG&Co. (Houston, USA) MONADNOCK (Rotterdam, The Netherlands) MOS (New York, USA) Norman Kelley (Chicago, USA; New York, USA) Nuno brandåo costa arquitectos Ida (Porto, Portugal) OFFICE Kersten Geers David Van Severen (Brussels, Belgium) PASCAL FLAMMER (Zurich, Switzerland) Patrick Braouezec (Paris, France) Paul Andersen and Paul Preissner (Chicago, USA; Denver, USA) Pezo Von Ellrichshausen (Concepción, Chile) Philipp Schaerer (Zurich, Switzerland) PRODUCTORA (Mexico City, Mexico) REAL Foundation (London, UK) Robert Somol (Chicago, USA) SADAR+VUGA (Ljubljana, Slovenia) Sam Jacob Studio (London, UK) SAMI-arquitectos (Setubal, Portugal) SANAA (Tokyo, Japan) Sauter von Moos (Basel, Switzerland) Sergison Bates (London, UK; Zurich, Switzerland) Serie Architects (London, UK; Zurich, Switzerland) SHINGO MASUDA+KATSUHISA OTSUBO Architects (Tokyo, Japan) Stan Allen Architect (New York, USA) Studio Anne Holtrop (Muharraq, Bahrain; Amsterdam, The Netherlands) Studiomumbai (Mumbai, India) Sylvia Lavin (Los Angeles, USA) T+E+A+M (Ann Arbor, USA) Tatiana Bilbao Estudio (Mexico City, Mexico) Tham & Videgård Arkitekter (Stockholm, Sweden) The Empire (Verona, Italy) The Living (New York, USA) The Los Angeles Design Group (Los Angeles, USA) Thomas Baecker Bettina Kraus (Berlin, Germany) Tigerman McCurry Architects (Chicago, USA) Toshiko Mori Architect (New York, USA) UrbanLab (Chicago, USA; Los Angeles, USA) Urbanus (Shenzhen, China; Beijing, China) Veronika Kellndorfer (Berlin, Germany) WELCOMEPROJECTS (Los Angeles, USA) Work Architecture Company (New York, USA) Zago Architecture (Los Angeles, USA) ZAO/standardarchitecture (Shanghai, China) “Our goal for the 2017 Chicago Architecture Biennial is to continue to build on the themes and ideas presented in the first edition,” said Mark Lee. Sharon Johnston added, “We hope to examine, through the work of the chosen participants, the continuous engagement with questions of history and architecture as an evolutionary practice.”
Placeholder Alt Text

Wheeler Kearns wins top Chicago Neighborhood Development Award

The Local Initiative Support Corporation (LISC) Chicago brought together over 1,500 architects, developers, business leaders, neighborhood advocates, and elected officials to present the 23rd Annual Chicago Neighborhood Development Awards (CNDA). The awards recognized nine organizations for their work in community development and architectural design. Taking home the night’s top architectural award, the 20th Richard H. Driehaus Foundation Award for Architectural Excellence in Community Design, was Wheeler Kearns Architects for the Lakeview Pantry. The Pantry has been a community institution in Lake View, on Chicago’s North Side, for 45 years. Recently outgrowing their rented one-story building, the organization needed to expand. Working with Wheeler Kearns, they acquired and rehabilitated a two-story masonry building just below an L station. The 7,500-square-foot space now holds a community pantry with gathering space on the lower level and administrative office space on the upper level. Second and Third place for the Richard H. Driehaus Foundation Award for Architectural Excellence in Community Design went to SOM for Chicago Public Library – Chinatown Branch and to Landon Bone Baker Architects for Terrace 459 at Parkside of Old Town. Postmodernist icon Tom Beeby was also recognized with the Richard M. Daley Friend of the Neighborhoods Award for lifetime achievement. Beeby has chaired the Richard H. Driehaus Award for Architectural Excellence in Community Design jury for the last 20 years. “For more than two decades the Chicago Neighborhood Development Awards and the Richard H. Driehaus Foundation Award for Architectural Excellence in Community Design have celebrated Chicago’s neighborhoods while honoring and recognizing the outstanding achievement in neighborhood real estate development, community engagement, neighborhood planning, and building stronger and healthier communities,” said LISC Chicago Executive Director Meghan Harte. “Community development by definition is neither easy or fast, but the people and organizations who do this work in our neighborhoods have succeeded in making progress. It is our neighborhoods that provide the flavors and texture that make Chicago unique. At CNDA, we stop briefly to recognize and celebrate individual achievements and the communities that together we have created by design.” Other Chicago Neighborhood Development Awards given out included: The Chicago Community Trust Outstanding Community Plan Award for the Near North Unity Program for Near North Quality-of-Life and Design Guidelines, The Richard H. Driehaus Foundation for Outstanding Non-Profit Neighborhood Real Estate Project Award for the The Breakthrough FamilyPlex, The Polk Bros. Foundation Affordable Rental Housing Preservation Award Winner to the Chicago Metropolitan Housing Development Corporation for Renters Organizing Ourselves to Stay, The Outstanding For-Profit Neighborhood Real Estate Project Award Winner to DL3 Realty for Englewood Square, The Woods Fund Chicago Power of Community Award Winner to the Southwest Organizing Project for Reclaiming Southwest Chicago Campaign, The Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois Healthy Community Award Winner to Saint Anthony Hospital Mental Health Services.
Placeholder Alt Text

Delve into the John Hancock Center’s history with this unique, first-person account now on display

Few buildings are more loved in Chicago than the John Hancock Center. The black, monolithic, 100-story tower was designed by Bruce Graham and structural engineer Fazlur Khan for SOM in the late 1960s, and to this day commands a prominent place on Chicago’s skyline. While most of the building is private office space and residences, three of the uppermost floors are dedicated to an observation deck (dubbed 360 Chicago), a restaurant, and a lounge. 360 Chicago sports some of the best views of the city along with historical information, a gift shop, and a “ride” in which guests are tipped over the edge of the building in a glass apparatus to look down over 90 floors, known as the Tilt! In a recent ceremony, a bit of enigmatic ephemera was added to that observation floor that any architectural fan can appreciate. "The Journal of Michigan Pete" is a first person account of the building of the iconic structure written by Evald Peterson, a.k.a. "Michigan Pete," a caisson inspector for the project. The journal, displayed in facsimile and digitally, recounts the technical side of the construction project as well as the more personal view of the rising tower. Along with the journal, Michigan Pete collected construction site photos, postcards, and other building literature from the time, which is all integrated the interactive display on digital tablets. The ceremony to open the new display included short talks by Gerald Peterson, Michigan Pete’s son, and William F. Baker, structural and civil engineering partner at SOM, and Lynn Osmond, president and CEO of the Chicago Architecture Foundation. Gerald Peterson, who also worked under his father as a laborer on the construction of the Hancock, spoke of his father’s pride in having worked on the building. “To the majority of people, Big John is just a big building, but to Michigan Pete it was his little baby. The building intrigued him. At night, when getting home in the evening, he would always write notes of the events of the day, this was the start of the journal,” explained Peterson. Peterson also recounted a story of how his father talked his way through security to ascend the 100 stories on foot once the structure was complete, a story that is included in the journal as well.
Placeholder Alt Text

56-story tower coming to Chicago’s Michigan Avenue, across from Grant Park

It is rare to be given the chance to build anything along the Michigan Avenue “wall.” The iconic stretch of Chicago’s most famous street looks out to Lake Michigan over Millennium and Grant Parks, and was designated a Chicago Landmark in 2002. Yet 2017 will see the start of more than one new tower along the historic one-mile district.

The most recently announced of these new towers has been dubbed Essex on the Park. The name makes reference to the neighboring building, the Essex Inn, which will also be redeveloped in the process of erecting the new tower. The 56-story Essex on the Park is being designed by Chicago-based Hartshorne Plunkard Architecture. While the 479-unit tower is distinctly contemporary, it also references its historic context.

Designing along Michigan Avenue involves the careful navigation of a long list of regulations related to height, massing, and position relative to historic district as a whole.

At Essex on the Park, this plays out as a large base that addresses the heights of surrounding buildings. Stretching from lot line to lot line, the base continues the wall of mostly late 19th-century buildings. A large four-story winter garden mediates between the base and the more articulated tower.

Paul Alessandro, a partner at Hartshorne Plunkard Architecture, discussed the challenges of building within the strict zoning along Michigan Avenue. “The building is shaped by all of these forces, you can see this in the base. Those parameters give you an outline, which you can design in, something of a Hugh Ferriss envelope. They take a lot of the decisions away from you, which gives you a chance to focus on the specifics and details of the design.”

The neighboring 14-story Essex Inn is one of the most recognizable structures along South Michigan Avenue. It is known, not so much for its architecture, but for an epic sign that adorns its roof. While these types of signs were once common in Chicago, they have been the center of more than one controversy in recent years: once when Motorola removed the large Santa Fe sign from the top of a building just blocks from the Essex, and again when the 20-foot Trump sign was added to the Trump Tower. A new ordinance passed after the Trump sign’s installation now makes it much more difficult to add such signage to new buildings. The Essex sign and the building itself, built in 1961, are now protected. And though the Essex Inn signage will stay, the building will be rebranded as the Hotel Essex once renovations are complete.

The two buildings will connect via a restaurant in the new tower and the lobby of the older building. Construction will begin on the tower later this year, while the renovation of the hotel will begin in 2018. Both will be completed in 2019.

Placeholder Alt Text

Studio Gang completes a second public boathouse along the Chicago River

As the first snow of the season fell, a large crowd gathered along a quiet bend in the South Branch of the Chicago River. Jovial groups of teens, community members, and public officials were all there for the opening of the Eleanor Boathouse at Park 571 in the South Side neighborhood of Bridgeport. The boathouse is the second designed by Studio Gang Architects and the final of four boathouses planned for the Chicago River.

The boathouses are part of a much larger movement within the city to connect the public with the underutilized river. Though the river is still heavily polluted—two half-sunken boats can be seen up river from the Eleanor Boathouse—the city is quickly improving its resources along the shore. The boathouses specifically provide space for rowing teams to train, kayaks to be rented, and people to directly access the water.

“The Eleanor Boathouse supports the larger movement of ecological and recreational revival of the Chicago River,” Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel said at the opening. “For too long, Chicago residents were cut off from an asset in our own backyard. So today, we are transforming our rivers from relics of our industrial past to anchors for our neighborhoods’ futures.”

Like Studio Gang’s earlier iteration, the Eleanor Boathouse takes its form from the rhythmic movements of rowers. Divided into two structures, undulating rooflines allow for clerestories, which bring soft light into the project. The lofty interior of the 13,171-square-foot boat storage structure can hold up to 75 boats for use by several rowing teams, clubs, and organizations. The other structure is a 5,832-square-foot field house that contains a multipurpose community room, main office, open seating area, restrooms, and showers, and can accommodate 57 “erg” machines, which simulate rowing movements for training purposes. A dark zinc facade wraps most of the project, while one face of the boat storage building is a custom green gradient window screen.

While Chicago’s winters can be brutal, the boathouse is already under heavy use. Rowing teams train in the river nearly year-round and there is also classroom and activity space for after-school and community programs. “This connects us to the origins of the city. The river is the first reason that the native peoples and eventually Fort Dearborn were settled here,” said Studio Gang’s Managing Principal Mark Schendel at the opening. “And it is that potential to come back to that amazing resource and put citizens back on the water. It is the type of project, as architects, we love to do.”

Placeholder Alt Text

Striking laser-cut installation brings the ancient past to the present in Chicago

Architectural designers John Clark and Taylor Holloway are giving Chicago a look into the distant past with an exhibition titled Ancient Age: An Endless Journey in Place. Currently on show at the Logan Square Comfort Station—a small gallery on Chicago’s Northwest Side—the show runs through February 24th. Ancient Ages is part of Comfort Station’s annual "Takeover Exhibition." Conceived as a massive window-box diorama, the exhibition fills the building's Southern windows. The carefully lit scenes represent the end of the last Ice Age—the Pleistocene Era—when the Midwest's last ice sheet was recessing. The installation's aim is to highlight the spatial character of the era, which has shaped the landscape of the Midwest but is scarcely visible in Chicago. A prehistoric scene is superimposed on distant Miesian towers, compressing time and space. Dioramas, meanwhile, are composed of laser-cut imagery, lit to play with light and shadow. Multiple laser-cut layers include plant life and animals including the wooly mammoth and the saber-tooth tiger in what looks like a deep endless forest. Comfort Station is a community-based multidisciplinary art space. It regularly holds art exhibitions, concerts, film, workshops, lectures, and participatory events. The building itself is, as the name would imply, a former comfort station of sorts: a public toilet. John Clark teaches architecture at the University of Illinois at Chicago and the School of the Art Institute Chicago, as well as being a designer at Chicago-based Jordan Mozer and Associates. Taylor Holloway is a project designer at Chicago-based Landon Bone Baker Architects.
Placeholder Alt Text

Express rail to Chicago O’Hare airport once again floated by Mayor Emanuel

Speaking to a crowd of union workers last week, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel reiterated his intentions to have a high-speed express rail built between O’Hare International Airport and the city’s downtown. Details, however, remain unclear. It was almost exactly one year ago that Emanuel announced that the city would be spending $2 million to investigate new and existing proposals for the rail, which would carry passengers 17 miles in under 30 minutes. Currently, there already is a train, the CTA’s Blue Line L train, that travels from the airport to Chicago's downtown in about 50 minutes. Critics of the proposed express train argue that the costs of building a new rail system far outweigh the benefits of cutting that trip's time in half. The mayor argued for the need by pointing out the success of express airport rails in other cities, such as London, Hong Kong, Tokyo, and Toronto. While the latest announcement did not include an idea of the cost, earlier studies into the rail have estimated the price at anywhere between $750 million and $1.5 billion. Those numbers come from a 2006 report commissioned by Emanuel’s predecessor, Mayor Richard M. Daley. Daley also made multiple attempts to kick start the express rail project, but with little success. The wide price range for the project is based on the major options for the path of the train. The more affordable option would see the train sharing space with the existing Blue Line, possibly running on an elevated level above the slower local train. The more expensive route would follow an expressway and existing freight rail lines that run west out of the downtown. While that 2006 report estimated passenger tickets at $10, twice the current price to take the Blue Line, many believe tickets would have to be much higher. Similar rails around the world charge anywhere from $30 to $60. This latest mention of the proposed express train came packaged in a speech celebrating the 5th year anniversary of Emanuel’s “Building A New Chicago” initiative to rebuild Chicago’s infrastructure. In those five years, the city has been busy. According to the mayor’s speech, renovations have happened at 40 CTA L stations, 108 miles of protected or widened bike lanes have been added, 1,600 miles of city streets have been repaved, 500 miles of water mains have been replaced, and over 300 neighborhood parks have been renovated. O’Hare itself is also set to receive $3.5 billion in city bonds to build a new runway and make other improvements in the coming years.