Posts tagged with "Chicago":

Football-field-sized party barge for Lake Michigan unveiled

Chicago is getting closer to having a new piece of offshore architecture. Breakwater Chicago is the football-field-sized floating pleasure island designed by Chicago-based Space Architects + Planners for Lake Michigan. With the original capital coming from a successful Kickstarter campaign in 2014, the project is currently being reviewed by the U.S. Coast Guard for approval to move forward. The project takes its name from, and will be located within, the Chicago Harbor breakwater, a 5,321-foot-long structure surrounding the downtown. Renderings show the Breakwater located specifically in the area of the harbor locally known as the Playpen. The area is filled with pleasure boats throughout the few months weather permits. The promise of the Breakwater is that it will make this area more accessible, as currently it is almost exclusively large yachts enjoying the calm water. Breakwater president and co-founder Beau D’Arcy said he wants the project to cater to families as well as those looking to party out on the water. The Breakwater will include pools, three restaurants, and docks for pulling up in a boat. Those that do not have their own boat will be able to take a water taxi service out to the floating attraction. “We wanted it to look like something rising out of the water. Something rather than a boat or a barge that is placed on the water. Almost like an island or an oasis in a desert,” said Jay Keller of SPACE Architects + Planners about the design. The proposal also includes a multi-part sustainability plan in an attempt to be “truly [in] harmony with its environment.” The hull of the craft will include an underwater garden to help absorb potentially dangerous nutrients from the water, a common problem in the Great Lakes caused by runoff. The Breakwater is also planning to use renewable energy sources including photovoltaics, solar water heating, aqua thermal cooling, and potentially even kinetic wave power. And despite not being a building, the project will also follow LEED. standards when at all possible. While no expected launch dates have been announced, a new video gives the most complete look at the proposal so far. You can learn more about Breakwater Chicago on its website.

Landmarks Illinois releases list of most endangered places

Landmarks Illinois has announced its 2017 list of Most Endangered Historic Places in Illinois. The list includes ten structures ranging from buildings to infrastructure across the state. Launched in 1995, the Most Endangered list highlights historic sites in severe need of “responsible stewardship, creative reuse plans and/or advances in public policy” “This year’s most endangered list includes a variety of iconic places that define our Illinois communities and our state’s heritage,” said Bonnie McDonald, president & CEO of Landmarks Illinois. “From historic bridges, to a round barn, to mid-century modern buildings, the sites on our 2017 Most Endangered list are wide-ranging and demonstrate the need for financial incentives and private-public partnerships. Landmarks Illinois stands ready to help all of these historic properties find productive and creative reuse opportunities.” The 2017 Most Endangered Historic Places in Illinois list includes:
  • James R. Thompson Center, Chicago, Cook County. Designed by Helmut Jahn.
  • O’Hare Rotunda Building, Chicago, Cook County. Design by Gertrude Kerbis.
  • Singer Pavilion, Chicago, Cook County. Designed by Loebl, Scholssman, and Bennett.
  • Ryan’s Round Barn, Johnson-Sauk Trail State Recreation Area, Henry County.
  • McKee House, Lombard, DuPage County.
  • Norway Temperance Hall, Norway, LaSalle County.
  • Federal Historic Tax Credit, Statewide.
  • Historic Bridges, Statewide.
  • Route 66, Statewide.
  • World War I Monuments, Statewide.
Each of these sites is threatened by neglect or purposeful attack. The James R. Thomson Center, the post-modern civic building in Chicago’s downtown, has been targeted by Illinois’s Governor Bruce Rauner. If the governor has his way, the building, which contains the state’s government offices, would be demolished or sold to make way for a new skyscraper. Of note, the Federal Historic Tax Credit is not a specific site, but a program that affects historic places across the country. The tax credit is part of the National Parks Service which is facing major budget cuts under the current federal administration. Route 66, which begins at the steps of the Art Institute of Chicago and runs to the Santa Monica Pier, faces a similar challenge. The National Park Service’s Route 66 Corridor Preservation Program is due to expire in the next three years. If the program is not renewed, the historic highway, which is already in despite need of maintenance, faces an uncertain future. You can learn more about all the sites at the Landmarks Illinois website. You can find the complete list here.

New grant initiative will fund explorations into Chicago’s art and design history

The Terra Foundation for American Art has just announced the launch of ART Design Chicago, a grant initiative which will explore Chicago’s diverse history of art and design. Focusing on the work produced from the time of the Chicago Fire, in 1871, through the close of the last century, the program is set to include dozens of exhibitions, academic programs, public programs, and publications. The Terra Foundation is a granting institution “dedicated to fostering exploration, understanding, and enjoyment of the visual arts of the United States for national and international audiences.” Terra provides funding through grants and fellowships to institutions and individuals. Funds can be used for exhibitions, academic programs, academic fellowships, publications, as well as for primary education and public programs. While the events and exhibitions will take place in Chicago, organizations from around the world were asked to participate. Those awarded grants will be expected to produce exhibitions and public programs for the second half of 2018. Grant winners will be announced in June. Though proposal deadlines have passed for most of the categories, a second round of public program grants will open for application later in 2017. The wide range of grants being offered by the Terra Foundation includes publication grants, expected to range from $3,000 to $10,000, and academic program grants for up to $25,000. In all cases, grantees are expected to dig deep into archival resources and include contributions from scalars from Chicago, as well as across U.S., and abroad. The Terra Foundation is based in Chicago, with an additional center in Paris, France. The foundation is behind shows around the world, including current exhibitions in London, Mexico City, Denmark, Barcelona, and around the United States. Art Design Chicago will be primarily funded by the Terra Foundation with additional support from the Richard H. Driehaus Foundation. Click here to learn more!

Chicago moves forward with lakefront 41st Street bridge project

After multiple delays, the City of Chicago is set to move forward with the construction of a new pedestrian bridge over lake shore drive. The 41st Street bridge would connect the Oakland and Bronzeville neighborhoods to the lake over multiple railroad tracks and eight lanes of high-speed traffic. The project, which was initially announced to begin last fall, is part of Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s plan to build multiple Lake Shore Drive pedestrian crossings on the city’s South Side. The new bridge will join a recently completed suspension bridge at 35th Street. In the original announcement of the bridge, a second “twin” bridge was also announced for 43rd street. Aurora, Illinois–based Cordogan, Clark & Associates is responsible for the design of both bridges; the firm's proposal won the “Bridge the Drive” competition in 2004. The bridges will be double-curved mono-truss structures that will echo the curves of the walkways in Burnham Park, where they will land. The building of the bridge highlights the tension between the City of Chicago and the State of Illinois as portion of the money will be coming from the state. Earlier this month plans to move forward with the bridge were delayed due to the state’s refusal to contribute an extra $2 million to the project. Since the initial proposal and budget, the project has seen a sharp rise in estimated cost. Early estimates by the city were 33% lower than the current estimate of around $34 million. Transportation Commissioner Rebekah Scheinfeld told the Chicago Tribune that the city would seek “alternative sources” to fill the funding gap. Currently, a large portion of the money will come from federal and state grants, with the remainder coming from the federal Surface Transportation Program. The F.H. Paschen construction company, who has worked on other projects for the city, was the low bidder at around $29 million. Once a contract with them is reached, the project is expected to begin in late spring.

John Ronan Architects designs Blu Dot’s Chicago outpost

Minneapolis-based furniture company Blu Dot has recently opened its first Chicago outpost. The company—founded by two architects and a sculptor—sells clean-lined contemporary domestic furniture online and in nine stores across the U.S., Mexico, and Australia. To match its design sensibilities, Blu Dot tapped Chicago-based John Ronan Architects to overhaul a decidedly mundane strip mall space in the Lincoln Park neighborhood. To differentiate the 7,500-square-foot structure from the row of franchise fast food joints it is connected to, Ronan wrapped the building in a facade of thin vertical aluminum tubes. The effect is a mass separated from its immediate surroundings.

The interior is also set apart from the strip mall aesthetic. A polished clear resin on the concrete floor shows the history of past tenants, while clean white walls and a black-painted exposed utility ceiling let the furniture be the focus of the space. “The challenge was to utterly transform what had been a nondescript diner into something unique and memorable,” John Ronan explained. “And to employ an economy of means doing it. Our strategy was to bleach out the existing structure, create new openings and enlarge existing ones, and layer on a new identity.”

Blu Dot 1953 N. Clybourn Avenue, Chicago Tel: 872-315-3339 Architect: John Ronan Architects

School of the Art Institute to host discussion series on architecture’s afterlife

As part of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago’s Spring 2017 Mitchell Lecture Series, the school’s Architecture, Interior Architecture and Design Objects (AIADO) Visiting Artist will moderate discussions about the afterlife of architecture. Entitled "Trash Talks," the panel discussions will take place on Thursday, April 4th and Saturday, April 8th. The first panel entitled, "Trash Talks: Re:Industrial City," will be moderated by FT Visiting Artist in architecture/interior architecture Eric Rothfeder. Participants will include Dora Apel, Clare Lyster, and Brian Rosa. "Re:Industrial City" will explore the post-industrial city through strategies of preservation and demolition. The discussion will address the effect of imagery of industrial ruins on our relationship to the post-industrial city, and the potentials of new modes of urbanism. The second panel will be moderated by FT Visiting Artist in architecture/interior architecture Ang Li and will include Andrew Balster, Dennis Maher, Thom Moran, Eric Nordstrom, David Schalliol, Anne Sullivan, and Chicago artist/architect Amanda Williams. The discussion, "Trash Talks: The Afterlives of Buildings," will be an open conversation among artists, designers, and thinkers hoping to find a more optimistic dialog concerning the architectural refuse. Participants will share their thoughts through built and unbuilt works, ranging “from second-hand salvage economies to the political agency of ruins.” Trash Talks: Re:Industrial City will be held on Tuesday, April 4, 2017  from 4:15pm to 5:45pm in the SAIC Ballroom at 112 S Michigan Ave., Chicago, IL. Trash Talks: The Afterlives of Buildings will be held on Saturday, April 8, 2017 from 1:00pm to 5:00pm at the LeRoy Neiman Center at 37 S. Wabash Ave., Chicago, IL.

New sky-high attractions proposed for Willis Tower

The battle of the observation deck attractions continues as new information was revealed about possible improvements to the Willis Tower’s Skydeck. Following last month’s unveiling of a $500-million plan to upgrade the tower, which includes major improvements to its base, it is no surprise that the top of the tower would get some love too. Following the major success of the Skydeck’s “Ledge” attraction, a set of glass boxes suspended off the side of the building, the new plans include even more high-flying theatrics. One of the new attractions would allow for guests to descend from the 103rd floor to the 102nd floor by rope in a glass enclosure on the side of the building. Another, called the “Ledgewalk,” would allow guests to walk along a glass ledge cantilevered off the side of the building. The rendering also includes a new glassed-in staircase attached to the corner of the building. The new attractions were revealed in a report by Morningstar Credit Rating. They would be part of a $20 million overhaul of the Skydeck which would include expanding the observation deck to accommodate double its current 600 guest capacity. The 102nd floor would be added to the space, which currently is contained completely on the 103rd floor. The Skydeck is in direct competition with the John Hancock Center’s 360 Chicago observation deck that includes the "Tilt" attraction, which suspends guest face-first over the side of the building. The attractions also are reminiscent of the Los Angeles’s US Bank Tower’s “Skyslide,” which lets guest slip from the 70th floor to the 69th. It would seem that Blackstone, the Willis Tower’s owner, is betting that the annual 1.5 million guests might be just as interested in being terrified as they are getting a good view.

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.

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.

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.

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

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.