Posts tagged with "Chicago":

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Trump sign flying pigs installation delayed

“We’ve hit a timeline point where it’s too late to fabricate, ship, and float the balloons within a reasonably predictable weather window,” said to Jeffrey Roberts, partner at New World Design, Ltd., designers of the lighter-than-air civic demonstration, Flying Pigs on Parade: A Chicago River Folly. This latest news pushes the launch of the installation to 2018, moved from the original plan of this September. Roberts cites the city’s refusal to grant the installation a docking permit and larger-than-expected municipal reimbursables, such as security and sanitation fees, as the reasons for the delay. The city noted the potential for the hindrance of commercial and recreational traffic on the river in its refusal to New World Design. The refusal also referenced concerns about setting a precedent with the event. The design team is still optimistic about the future and says it is continuing the campaign to realize the project. "Given the continuing irrational nature of the political environment, our team remains committed to the message and deployment of the art installation," said Roberts in a press release. "We greatly appreciate the support from those that have contributed and those that have helped us spread the message via social media channels and other media outlets." The proposed Flying Pigs on Parade: A Chicago River Folly consists of four golden replicas of the flying pig made famous by Pink Floyd’s 1977 album Animals. The installation has the blessing of Pink Floyd frontman Roger Waters. The plan calls for the pigs to be attached to a construction barge and floated in front of the 20-foot-tall Trump sign on the Trump International Hotel & Tower in Chicago. Donald Trump has not yet commented or tweeted about the project.
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The Night Gallery projects architectural visualizations into the streets of Chicago

On a quiet street on Chicago’s South Side, a six-foot-by-seven-foot screen glows every night from sunset to sunrise. The glowing storefront window is known as The Night Gallery. In month-long installations, The Night Gallery projects architectural visualizations ranging from algorithmic generative drawings to looping coded animations. The architecture office Future Firm hosts The Night Gallery on its storefront. The young practice launched the gallery in May to showcase the works of other young practices dabbling in video. The current show, opened last Friday, is entitled An Algorithm for Living in. Produced by Los Angeles–based speculative designer Lee Cody, the show explores the “space of your google search history.” Past shows include When the Drawing is Moving by Carl Lostritto and Another Campo Marzio by Outpost Office. When the Drawing is Moving explored randomness in computational animated line drawings. Another Campo Marzio uses coding software to reexamine Piranesi’s classic Campo Marzio etchings, re-configuring urban fragments into a continuous streaming animation. The next two installations will be The Enchanted Forest: Satellite Canopies and Digital Understories by Jenny Rodenhouse and (Another) Rear Window by BairBalliet. The final installation, which will run through November, has yet to be announced. The Night Gallery launches a new installation on the third Friday of each month. Every new show starts with a gathering along the sidewalk in front of Future Firm to hear comments from the artist. The next opening will be on August 18th, but each ongoing exhibition can be seen every night. The Night Gallery and Future Firm are located at 3149 S. Morgan St. in Bridgeport, Chicago.
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Chicago park will finally be cleansed of radioactive waste

Chicago has a bit of a thorium problem. The radioactive element, once heavily used in the making of gas light mantels, can now be found in contaminated superfund sites across the city. One of those sites also happens to be the long-delayed and much-anticipated DuSable Park in the downtown Streeterville neighborhood. While the park is on the Chicago Park District’s website, it has not been programmed or developed in any way. Now, 30 years after its founding, the park is set to finally be cleared of its radioactive waste, enabling its development into a usable public space. Located at the mouth of the Chicago River, immediately east of Lake Shore Drive, DuSable Park is named after the first non-native settler of Chicago, Jean Baptiste Point DuSable. An African-French-Haitian, DuSable was born on the island of Haiti around 1745 to a French mariner and a slave. After marrying and starting a family with a Potawatomi woman, DuSable settled at the mouth of the Chicago river. There he maintained a successful trading post and farm. Today his name adorns many civic institutions, including the DuSable Museum of African American History. Unlike that celebrated museum, DuSable Park has had a hard go since its founding in 1987 by then-mayor Harold Washington. Over the past 30 years, dozens of proposals have been made for the 3.24-acre site. At one point, it seemed that the park would be designed by Santiago Calatrava as part of the failed Chicago Spire development, which was to be directly west of the park. In 2001, Chicago artist Laurie Palmer established an open call for proposals for the site. That call resulted in an exhibition and book outlining 65 other ideas for the site. Yet it is still unclear what the future holds for the little park on the lake. First and foremost, the thorium contamination—first identified on the site in the 1990s—must be cleaned up. As part of a cooperative agreement signed with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in June 2017, the agency will be providing $6.8 million to the Chicago Park District to facilitate that cleanup. While this is not the first attempt to clean up the park, it is hoped that attempt will completely remediate the site. Thorium, a naturally occurring radioactive element, is notoriously hard to clean up, in part because of how it gets into the soil in the first place. As with many other sites around Streeterville, DuSable Park's thorium is likely from the Lindsay Light Company, which processed the material from raw ore and manufactured gas light mantles in the area from 1904 through 1936. Some of the waste from the refining process is a sand-like material called thorium mill tailings, which was often used as infill in the low-lying Streeterville. It is likely thorium mill tailings were used as part of the fill on the DuSable site, which is reclaimed land from the lake. A second costly factor in removing thorium is that is can only be trucked to a few disposal sites in the United States. The only one that is likely to take the waste from DuSable is in Utah. The money earmarked by the EPA for the cleanup comes from $5.1 billion settlement with the company that acquired Lindsay Light, the country’s largest environmental contamination settlement to date. Despite moving out of Streeterville in the 1930s, the company continued to give away the radioactive fill to home builders in the west suburbs. While thorium is far from the only environmentally disastrous legacy left by Chicago’s industrial past, it is one that is particularly troubling to builders. In most cases, the contamination is not a direct hazard to the public until the soil and concrete covering it are disturbed. On sites known to formerly be industrial, developers often have to conduct extensive testing before breaking ground. As is the case with DuSable Park, this can add time and money to already long projects. With the EPA’s help, there is now hope that Chicago will have a new growing, rather than glowing, lakefront park.
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This graphic novel aims to shape Chicago’s next generation of city planners

The Chicago Architecture Foundation (CAF)'s latest venture is an educational graphic novel about urban planning and its challenges. While the book—titled No Small Plans—raises questions that aren’t new, it serves as an introduction for its target audience, namely children in grades six to ten. It’s tough to write a book for young teenagers on issues like urban planning, civic engagement, and the socioeconomic factors that shape our cities today, but No Small Plans, armed with colorful drawings and references to modern day life, brings light to these topics. As part of its 50th-anniversary celebrations, the CAF published No Small Plans and modeled it after Wacker’s Manual, a 1911 textbook on Daniel Burnham’s 1909 Plan for Chicago. Wacker’s Manual was required reading for eighth graders in Chicago Public Schools for at least three decades and it aimed to engage children with Burnham’s grand, ‘City Beautiful’ vision for Chicago. No Small Plans, by Gabrielle Lyon and in partnership with Eyes of the Cat Illustration, has the same goal and will be taught in the city’s public school starting this year. It’s a reimagined Wacker’s Manual, in a 21st-century medium, to help young Chicagoans envision and build a city that they want now, and in the future. The graphic novel is split into three different time periods: the past (1928), present (2017), and future (2211). Each section follows different groups, all of whom are grappling with different issues such as racial discrimination, gentrification, affordable housing, zoning, and community engagement. It’s set in the Chicago we know today, featuring sites like the Chicago Theatre and the 606. It’s also a dive into what Chicago’s future could be. In the year 2211, the book depicts Chicago so fractured that virtual reality is the only means of connecting people between different neighborhoods. The lack of “real facing” (i.e. actual human interaction) has led to a disconnect between what residents need and what big-time developers plan for the city. The book is an attempt to bridge the civic education gap: low-income students, students of color, and those not planning to attend college have fewer opportunities to engage with questions every young city resident should be thinking about, according to Lyon. “When young people have opportunities to consider questions like the ones the characters wrestle with in No Small Plans, it makes a difference,” Lyon said in a press release. The book’s success on Kickstarter—raising more than double of its $20,000 goal—is an indication that the questions of what makes a city livable and how to foster civic identity are ones that Chicagoans both old and young are interested in. Thirty thousand free copies will be distributed over the next three years. No Small Plans is available to purchase through CAF's website.
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The Art Institute of Chicago highlights its most enigmatic design pieces

In anticipation of the Art Institute of Chicago opening a permanent architecture and design gallery, Design Episodes: Form, Style, Language highlights some of the museum’s most enigmatic pieces from its vast design collection. The show is divided into three sections: the modern chair, early postmodern design, and contemporary graphic design. Chairs on show include pieces by designers such as Charles and Ray Eames, Rudolph Schindler, and Charlotte Perriand. The postmodern section includes the colorful work of the radical Italian Memphis Group, its founder, architect and designer Ettore Sottsass, and Austrian architectural firm Coop Himmelblau. The show focuses on a diverse array of contemporary commercial and cultural graphic design work. Graphic designer Amir Berbić produced a custom installation entitled Boundary Lines, which fills the gallery windows overlooking Griffin Court, broadcasting the exhibition to the rest of the museum.

Design Episodes: Form, Style, Language Art Institute of Chicago 11 S Michigan Avenue Chicago Through July 9

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Chicago Cubs open the first of their major developments near Wrigley Field

In recent years, Cubs baseball fans have watched as the neighborhood immediately surrounding their beloved Wrigley Field transformed into a Cubs-themed village. A new hotel, residential real estate, and entertainment venues are making the area a year-round destination. Nearest and dearest to the stadium though is a new mid-rise office building and a public plaza. Designed by Stantec Architecture’s Chicago office, the project shares an odd-shaped block with the stadium and houses the baseball team’s administrative offices.

While the space is everything you might expect of a new office (with the addition of plenty of Cubs branding and some appropriately ivy-covered walls), it is the public plaza, currently being called the Park, that is creating the most buzz.

Debuted for the 2017 Cubs home opener, the Park is wedged between the stadium and the new office building. The ground floor of the office building houses a handful of stores and food and drinking options, but the plaza itself was designed to be used for more than just pregame events. Tiered seating, strategic plantings, and performance space provide opportunities to watch scheduled programs or just take in Wrigley’s atmosphere. Stantec took cues from Place des Vosges, in Paris, and Chicago’s Millennium Park when designing the Park, with the goal of making it more than just an entrance to the stadium.

“When we first dreamt about what the plaza could be, we wanted it to be more than just a walkway people pass through on game day,” said Grace Rappe, principal designer at Stantec. “We wanted to create a park for memories, a place for the community to gather and thrive.”

In its first year, the Park has already seen plans put in place to activate the space when there is not a game being played. The Old Town School of Folk Music has started biweekly morning and afternoon music programs. The nearby art-house Music Box Theatre will also be hosting six of the city’s “Movies in the Park”—the first of which will be, appropriately, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off; Rookie of the Year and The Sandlot are also on deck.

However, not everyone has had the same vision for the space. Local alderman Tom Tunney pushed, with some success, for a handful of restrictions on the use of the Park, citing the well-being of the residents of the surrounding neighborhood. Ald. Tunney was able to establish rules about who could drink alcohol in the Park on game days, and when. Currently, only ticket holders will be allowed onto the plaza immediately before and after the game, and barriers and bike racks have been set up to control the crowds. This did not make the Cubs administration too happy.

“I want to apologize to our fans when they show up today; they’re going to see bike racks and other things that channel them in and out of the Park, rather than walk in and let them enjoy it,” Crane Kenney, Cubs president of business operations, said to the press on opening day. “So we’ll try that for the first year and see how that works. Nobody has more to lose than we do if something happens that is untoward, and so we’ll police like we do everywhere else around Wrigley Field.”

Kenney had other words for the city, which he felt could have provided more financial support for the project, as it is part of a larger $500 million renovation of the entire complex.

“The mayor made clear the city could not give us the kind of financial support the White Sox got in rebuilding Comiskey Park or the Bears got renovating Soldier Field,” Kenney said.

Despite the financial discussion, the Cubs were openly grateful to Mayor Rahm Emanuel, who was on hand at the ribbon cutting. While the city has not provided the tax and financial backing the team had hoped, it has provided support through the temporary and permanent closing of multiple streets surrounding the stadium. 

Exactly what the Park’s role will be in the greater Wrigleyville neighborhood may still be up for debate, but, for the Cubs, the new space is a chance to reach out and bring the community a little closer. And timing couldn’t be better: With the Cubs winning the last World Series and effectively having the best season in the stadium’s 103-year history, much of the city is already going Cubs crazy.

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EXPO CHICAGO announces participants for Palais de Tokyo exhibition

EXPO CHICAGO has announced the participants for its off-site exhibition curated by Katell Jaffrès of Paris’s Palais de Tokyo. With the working title of Singing Stones, the exhibition will include 13 artists and will be installed in the Burnham & Root–designed Roundhouse on the campus of the DuSable Museum of African American History. The opening of both EXPO and Singing Stones will coincide with the opening of the second Chicago Architecture Biennial. The exhibition will be the first iteration of a new program being developed by Palais de Tokyo and Institut français. The three-year program is designed to introduce and support artists in producing work in new locations around the world. The program will work with major art shows such as EXPO and the other biennials. For this first exhibition, three participants—Wilfrid Almendra, Thomas Teurlai, and the Floating Museum collective—will install large-scale site-specific structures which will receive the work of the ten other participants. Guest architect Andrew Schachman will be tasked with designing the experience of the entire spaces and plan the relationship between all the pieces in the space. The list of participants includes: Wilfrid Almendra Daniel G. Baird Bouchra Khalili Dorian Gaudin Lola Gonzàlez Guillaume Leblon Floating Museum Florian Pugnaire & David Raffini Andrew Schachman Cauleen Smith Thomas Teurlai Raphaël Zarka “The singularity of The Roundhouse makes it an ideal space to develop the exhibit outside of Paris,” said Jaffrès in a press release. “The structures or ‘stations’ that the artists will create will each act as an architectural intervention within the exhibition, inducting action into the exhibition space, and creating an accommodation and correspondence between the sculptures, installations or video works by the other artists in the show.” The project will kick off with a residency at Mana Contemporary Chicago, a large artist and exhibition space in the Pilsen neighborhood. A select number of the international participants will produce new work at Mana, starting on August 1st. They will also be part of public programming associated with their work at the Roundhouse. The Paris’s Palais de Tokyo exhibition will open September 13th and run through October 29th. The EXPO CHICAGO exhibition will run from September 13th through the 17th. The Chicago Architecture Biennial will be open to the public from September 16th through January 7th.
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Northwestern University builds a new curving, glassy home for its business school

Dubbed the Global Hub, Northwestern University’s latest addition to its Evanston campus is a grand new home to the Kellogg School of Management. The recently opened five-story building sits immediately along the shore of Lake Michigan on land reclaimed by the university decades ago. Defined by four large wings, which produce a plan that resembles the letter K, the curving form of the building makes no small reference to the waves on the water it overlooks.

“The first inspiration was the action of the water and the waves, and how they round off materials and forms to make them smooth,” explained Bruce Kuwabara, partner at Toronto-based firm KPMB, which designed the new building. “It was beautiful, the power of Lake Michigan and nature.”

The project is composed of a series of vastly different-sized spaces, accumulating to a whopping 415,000 square feet. The building is the new home to full-time business students, faculty, and administration offices. Collaboration areas throughout can accommodate from two to twenty individuals, and larger gathering spaces can handle from 200 to 2,000.

The largest space in the complex is the massive multistory center atrium, where all four wings connect. The structure’s exterior curves continue into this space in the form of flowing balconies and staircases. Two of the large wooden staircases at the heart of the building double as seating for formal and informal events. Another atrium on the upper levels acts a second major space. Both allow for copious amounts of natural light.

The building’s high-tech envelope not only allows in all of that light, but also contributes to the project’s goal of achieving LEED Gold certification. Throughout, double and triple glazing provide daylight and energy efficiency, while automated shading controls glare and solar gain. A series of undulating fritted glass fins adds an additional layer of shading. On the interior, borrowed light is distributed through glassed office partitions. Perhaps even more than daylighting and energy efficiency, the glass facade provides something the building takes ample advantage of: unmatched views of the lake and the downtown, 15 miles to the south.

Called the “Global Hub,” it is part of the University’s larger building program that includes the 2015 Goettsch Partners–designed Patrick G. and Shirley W. Ryan Center for the Musical Arts. Both new additions to the campus run counter to its existing catalogue of Brutalist and gothic-revival structures.

The stark contrast between old and new on Northwestern’s campus is the school’s physical manifestation of its vision for the future of education. And Northwestern is not alone—dark wood–lined halls and oak tree–filled quads are being replaced by brighter, more transparent and generous collaboration spaces at many traditional campuses. It is only a matter of time before the image of the elite campus is less about spires and more about sunlight.

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Valerio Dewalt Train Associates overcomes NIMBY lawsuit to build expressive tower on Chicago’s South Side

It was a long road from design to construction for Vue53 in the South Side Chicago neighborhood of Hyde Park. The 13-story tower sits along the bustling 53rd Street and has completely changed the character of the area. While change to the busy conduit was inevitable, not everybody was thrilled about it.

Designed by Chicago-based Valerio Dewalt Train Associates, Vue53 was originally scheduled to begin construction in early 2014. A NIMBY lawsuit delayed that start date by nearly one and a half years. The Save 53rd Street advocacy group felt the project was out of scale for the neighborhood and that the zoning change passed by the city, which allowed the tower to go up, was illegal, among other complaints. Opponents donned “Sky, Not Skyscraper” buttons at community meetings. The First District Illinois Appellate Court did not agree. In February 2015 the case was dismissed, permitting the project to continue.

Fast forward two years or so, and Hyde Park has a new 135-foot-tall 267-unit tower. A formally expressive building in glass and concrete, Vue53 comprises a large base and two shifted linear towers. The base rises to the height of the surrounding buildings and contains retail and amenities. These include a compact urban Target store as well as a rooftop terrace, complete with grass and views of the lush park across the street. The building also includes an exercise facility, a business center, and a number of study rooms distributed throughout (for the students the Vue53 is aiming to attract).

The studio, one-bedroom, and two-bedroom units may be a bit smaller than the average being built downtown, but they may also be just right for the intended tenants. The project was in fact initiated by the University of Chicago, just blocks to the south. Yet it is not the amenities, or the battle against upset neighbors, that have set this project apart.

While developers are busy constructing sleek, glassy monolith apartment buildings downtown, Vue53 takes a decidedly more formally daring approach to attracting young renters. Particularly in the upper towers, the project plays a Tetris-like game of solid and void. Together with the shifted relationship of the two towers, the project is more than a glass box on a plinth. The interplay of glass and exposed concrete only exaggerates these moves.

That relationship of glass and concrete carries right into the building’s multi-story lobby and even the units themselves. Cashing in on the trend of rougher unfinished materials, the units are a mix of the exposed concrete and more typical drywall. And though the units may be small, they are all dominated by floor-to-ceiling windows with views either to the north to downtown, or to the south over the picturesque Hyde Park neighborhood.

While Vue53 ran into some stiff opposition in its initial stages, it is by no means alone in the rising skyline of Hyde Park. With multiple new Studio Gang towers in the neighborhood as well, it may seem a bit out of the blue for the area to be receiving so much architectural investment. Yet it should be remembered that, historically, Hyde Park has been one of the most architecturally rich neighborhoods in the city. The University of Chicago alone is a zoo of formal exuberance, from Saarinen to Legorreta. Despite its detractors, Vue53 may be only the beginning of a reenergized architectural scene on the city’s South Side.

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Can’t miss products from this year’s NeoCon

Another year, another NeoCon—the annual design expo that showcases the innovation, creativity, and reimagination of how we will live and work. NeoCon 2017 boasted a higher attendance than last year—by over 7 percent—and according to Byron Morton, vice president of leasing for the Merchandise Mart Properties, this was a growth both in terms of registered attendance and the uniqueness of its attendees, as nearly 20 percent of the attendees were corporate end users. These numbers aren’t surprising; has any other space changed as much as the workplace in the past five years? This year’s colors waxed largely neutral in shades of ash, taupe, beige, and light sepia, and large block patterns took precedence over the detailed textiles of yesteryear. But nuance is everything: Wolf-Gordon’s Infinite Neutral, for instance, created a fabric that appeared gray but was spangled with nearly 30 shades of bold color in its warp and weft to create depth, and DesignTex’s Acoustic Drapery collection takes textiles even further by making it acoustic-friendly—promising to let light in and keep sound out. While displays of customizable desks for the workspace were predictably plenty, so were their insistence on concealing levers, widgets, and wires in order give furniture an organic appearance despite tech-savvy designs. Herman Miller’s height adjustable desk “Live OS” (created in partnership with designer Yves Behar) and Knoll’s “Universal Height-Adjustable Table” both were customizable, wooden desks smart enough to collect user data to remember preferences and sense movement. This extended beyond the desk as well: the Vitra Pacific chair by Barber & Ogersby, for example, automatically adjusts to the sitter’s weight and position with very minimal manual adjustment. Many brands at Neocon continued to straddle the lines between the personal and the professional, collaborative and private, indoor and outdoor. The most explicit trend this year was reversal: Returning toward privacy and controlling the collaborative, open workspace by offering solutions to create seclusion. This, among other things, created an industry-wide pivot back to the phone booth: sound-muffling booths by Jabbrrbox and Framery were two examples of spaces designed to carve privacy in the noisy, open workspace. A hyperawareness of the speed of innovation to come was also central—from apps that control movement and send haptic buzzes to the user like Herman Miller’s Live OS, to DIRTT’s mixed-reality goggles featuring a custom-designed 3-D program that helps designers and architects envision partially-virtual interior spaces. Here are just a few standout products and highlights from the show: Impressions, An Acoustical Solution Knoll Six classic KnollTextiles patterns are impressed onto an ultra-thin tile, with each tile wrapped in 100 percent polyester. The tiles slide onto a Z-clip rail system, which offers a consistent architectural base for creating a tiled wall. Tiles are available in 16 colors, including warm and cool gray, as well as more bold, bright colors. Different levels of impression add dimension and texture to the tiles turning walls into sculptural surfaces. The Universal Height-Adjustable Screen Ki The Universal Height-Adjustable Screen can be easily affixed to a work surface or table, allowing employees the freedom to position themselves in sitting or standing configurations. Users can change their work setting by pulling up for privacy or pushing down for collaboration. Screens come in acoustic, tackable PET felt and opaque acrylic in a variety of colors. Poema Koleksiyon Koleksiyon collaborated with HOK and Studio Kairos to develop its new, flexible collection. Although the HOK pieces will debut later this year, Studio Kairos’s Poema sofa design for alternative workplace settings was a standout. The seating’s low height and worktop elements replace standard-height chairs and tables, creating a more space for meetings and creative teamwork sessions and collaborations.  Alphabet Sheer and Stars Sheer by Alexander Girard Maharam Maharam will reintroduce two iconic Alexander Girard designs—originally wall coverings—that will now be available as window covering applications. This geometrically patterned drapery underwent an industrial silk screen process in order to be reimagined as a “burnout drapery”— a fabric with dissolved fibers that give the entire material a semi-transparent effect. Live OS sit/stand desk Herman Miller The Live OS sit/stand desk includes an app and dashboard to offer data-based insights in the workplace. With the launch of Live OS, Herman Miller extends its traditional product offering to include this subscription-based service. Live OS will connect Herman Miller furnishings, including sit-to-stand and fixed height desks. Either when first installed, or retrofitted later, Live desks are equipped with sensors that are continuously connected to the cloud using a secure cellular network. The sit-to-stand desk remembers preferred postures. If an individual chooses to receive reminders, the desk control will light up and vibrate, reminding them to switch positions. QuickStand Eco Humanscale QuickStand can sit on any desktop and the height-adjustable work surface arrives ready to use. QuickStand Eco features a self-locking mechanism and is designed to accommodate a variety of heights and can support single or dual monitors up to 35 pounds in weight. Xorel Artform Carnegie Carnegie is introducing three new textile panels that boast sound-absorbing capabilities. New 3-D panel options are also available in several shapes, including the classic Waveline and Hex as well as Diamond and Square shapes. These can be used alongside existing shapes to create dimensional wall or ceiling installations. Casper Cloaking Technology Designtex Casper™ Cloaking Technology by Designtex is an architectural film for glass walls that obscures digital screens to outside view. It acts as a smart shield to ensure data privacy. A passerby will see nothing but black screens as they go by a conference room full of them—whether in use or not. Metrik Chair Wilkhahn Wilkhahn’s cantilever chair has a monolithic look—the chair’s lines, volume, and defined surfaces form a shape that integrates the armrests with a tubular steel frame.
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Renders released of revamped public space in Chicago’s MCA

A reimagined public space in the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago (MCA) is being designed and built by Los Angeles–based Johnston Marklee and Mexico City–based Pedro&Juana. A new restaurant will also be designed by Turner Prize–winning British painter Chris Ofili. Pedro&Juana was introduced to Chicago through the 2015 Chicago Architecture Biennial, with its major installation in the Randolph Square space in the Chicago Cultural Center, entitled Dear Randolph. Like that installation, the social space the firm is designing for the MCA, which will be called The Commons, will be a colorful environment of large custom-made hanging elements. The space’s colorful planters and ornate chandeliers will be a stark departure from the normally austere spaces of the MCA. Sharon Johnston and Mark Lee, also the artistic directors of the 2017 Chicago Architecture Biennial, are leading the redesign. The entire $16 million project is expected to be completed by June of this year.

Architect: Johnston Marklee, Pedro&Juana, Chris Ofili Client: Musem of Contemporary Art Chicago Location: Chicago Completion Date: June 2017

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Wheeler Kearns brings sensitivity and light to one of Chicago’s largest and oldest food pantries

For 47 years, the Lakeview Pantry on Chicago’s North Side has provided for the poor and hungry. Through food distribution and self-help initiatives and programs, the pantry has become a staple of its immediate neighbors as well as the greater Chicago community. When it came to establishing its first permanent space, the much-lauded organization turned to local firm Wheeler Kearns.

Originally known as the People’s Pantry of Lakeview, the organization was spread out among a variety of buildings throughout the neighborhood, often with administrations and operations in separate spaces. An adaptive reuse project, the new Lakeview Pantry brings the entire operation under one roof a few blocks from Lake Michigan, nestled up against the overhead L tracks.

Wheeler Kearns’s design for the 7,500-square-foot two-story space brings together the Pantry’s food distribution and social services programs, as well as the administrative staff, with connected spaces and natural light. The lower level includes the waiting area with a distribution counter, walk-in freezer-cooler, dry storage, and sorting room. The goal of the public face of project was to match the Pantry’s own mission by providing a dignified space for those in need. The bright front space serves over 8,000 people a year, with over 800 tons of food distributed in the form of 14-day supplies, so the front of house sees a lot of traffic and a lot of food.

Bathed in sunlight, a wood staircase leads to the upper level. Efficiently laid out offices fill the majority of the upstairs. Much-needed private meeting spaces, a conference room, a shared lunchroom, and open staff office space are lit from above and from the two ends of the thin building.

While the project was only recently finished, it has already been recognized with the Richard H. Driehaus Foundation Award for Architectural Excellence in Community Design, an annual award given to outstanding built community-design projects in Chicago.

“When you work with an organization whose mission is so powerful and important, and they approach that mission with such vigor and earnestness, it is pretty easy to get behind it,” said project architect Danny Wick when he received the Driehaus award at the end of February. “Asking for help can be a pretty undignified thing to have to do. To try and bring a dignified experience to that, and recognize that good design is not only reserved for the wealthy, but that everybody can gain from design, was always the goal.”