Posts tagged with "Goose Island":

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Chicago and Philadelphia–based PORT Urbanism wants to redesign your city

PORT Urbanism is positioning itself to fill a very particular niche in the world of city making. The office is neither a landscape firm nor an architecture firm alone: It approaches projects with a vision that ranges from grand scheme master plans down to design at a human scale. With the recent addition of a new partner, it now has the pedigree and experience to engage in the high-stakes projects that are so often handed to firms many times its size. More and more often those projects involve the waterfronts of postindustrial cities across the country, and with a name like PORT, the firm is not surprisingly ready for the challenge.

PORT’s new partner, Megan Born, comes to the firm from James Corner Field Operations (JCFO), where she spent eight years as a designer and project manager. While at JCFO, she was lead designer on the much-anticipated Waterfront Seattle Program master plan, as well as project designer on the Tsim Sha Tsui waterfront in Hong Kong. Her expertise will complement that of PORT partner Christopher Marcinkoski, who was a senior associate at JCFO before cofounding PORT. Marcinkoski, a licensed architect and a Rome Prize Fellow, also contributed expertise in waterfront design, as he was project lead on the Qianhai Water City district of Shenzhen, China, while at JCFO. Both work at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia—Born as a lecturer and Marcinkoski as an associate professor of landscape architecture and urban design.

Currently working with the ambitious young R2 developers in Chicago, PORT is in the process of envisioning the future of Goose Island. An industrial island in the middle of the Chicago River’s North Branch, Goose Island is poised to become one of the city’s most dynamic neighborhoods. Currently, it is completely zoned for industry, but as the surrounding neighborhoods quickly develop, the smart bet is on it becoming more programmatically diverse. PORT’s master plan takes into account the uncertainty of the island’s future while proposing improvements that will benefit whatever eventually happens there.

The island was formed by a canal that was dug to straighten out the river, a common occurrence in 19th-century Chicago. Now, however, that canal is no longer navigable. PORT imagines that this wet, and currently polluted, stretch of water can become an integral and unique part of the river’s rehabilitation into a recreational corridor. It is clear that it is only a matter of time before this prime location, just minutes outside of the downtown, will be more than a sleepy maze of shuttered warehouses and factories. PORT and R2 plan to be there to guide the way.

“Some of the largest attributes of water and waterfronts are their scale and connectivity,” explained Andrew Moddrell, partner and cofounder of PORT. “You always have this edge that you can’t completely occupy: the water. If you can connect the parcels along this edge, you’ll be able to set up the means of an accessibility that is uninterrupted and that unlocks new territories of the city. Previously all of these places were productive industrially by maximizing this connectivity. Now they are ripe again to be reconnected.”

Though PORT may be making a name for itself with waterscape projects, what defines the practice is its particular approach. Whether a waterfront, and urban park, or a former industrial district, PORT is not interested in simply drawing large arrows on maps and saying how great it would be to have a bike share program in the area. Instead, it does the math, talks to the stakeholders, and designs a way to achieve their vision, down to the individual’s experience. This separates them from other landscape firms that might only focus on the space around the buildings, as well as from the urban planner who so often provides bullet point guidance without a true design component. Add in the fact that two of the partners are licensed architects, and the firm’s thorough approach begins to make sense. There are few firms that are able, or willing, to take on the complex types of projects that PORT has made its bread and butter.

This article was part of our Oct. 12 issue which focused on how water is shaping today’s landscape architecture and urbanism. Communities face deluges and droughts—for some, the stakes can be survival itself, but others see opportunities for decadence. To explore these stories from around the U.S. and the world, click here.

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Chicago's Center for Lost Arts provides space and tools for architects and designers to get their hands dirty

Charles Adler knows a thing or two about startups. A founder of Kickstarter, Adler is now on the ground helping makers, architects, artists, and inventors get their hands dirty with a new experimental venture.

The Center for Lost Arts is a shared space dedicated to making and being around others with a penchant for working with their hands. Now in its second iteration, Lost Arts is using the next six months to test and tweak a membership model.

Members of Lost Arts will have access to the 10,000-square-foot shop space on Chicago’s Goose Island. The space is filled with all of the tools that small companies and independent designers can rarely afford for themselves. Sawing machines, CNC routers, circular saws, and 3-D printers abound in the former industrial space. The large space is divided by use; a lounge area, a coworking space, a clean-working area, event space, and the shop. For those not familiar with a piece of equipment, one of Lost Arts’ experts will be on hand to provide guidance and safety instruction.

After starting with an initial group of 60 invited members—comprised of artists,architects, designers, musicians, and entrepreneurs—the project is now open for new members. Different levels of membership are designated by when and how much time you are allowed to use the space. A weekend membership starts at eighty dollars per month, with a full-time membership costing five hundred dollars per month. The month-to-month membership allows those who might only need access for one month to complete a commission or build a model or prototype on a budget. This works well for small architecture and design firms that often need model building space, but usually only have office space.

The large industrial building in which Lost Arts is located is one of many owned by Chicago developer R2 Companies. With its sights set on transforming the formerly industrial Goose Island into a tech and research and design hub, R2 is a big supporter of Lost Arts, renting the space to the start up for one dollar. Comcast is also involved providing fiber internet to the space. More support has come from institutions such as the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, which will be holding a class in the space this next semester. The first iteration of Lost Arts, a one-month test of the idea, was (appropriately) funded through Adler’s former venture: $11,000 was raised on Kickstarter. 

Lost Arts is not alone in providing space targeted at startups and small practices, but it is one of the few dedicated to making physical products. In the Merchandise Mart, 1871 Chicago focuses on computer programing and business startups, while a handful of coworking spaces across the city are simply a place to have a desk. The shared economy which all of these spaces are a part of is still evolving. Young architecture firms are some of its earliest adopters, bringing together lost arts and new models of practice. For more on Los Arts, see their website here.

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Tour 150 of Chicago's architectural gems this weekend for free at Open House Chicago

Open House Chicago is this weekend, October 18 and 19, when 150 of the city's architectural gems—both new and old, well-known and obscure, public year-round and off-limits but for now—open their doors to enthusiasts of the built environment, free of charge. Last year's event built on 2012's, the second go-around for this increasingly popular festival of architecture that highlights places and spaces all over the city. Organized by the Chicago Architecture Foundation and sponsored by Kemper, Art Works, ComEd, and CTA, the event generally runs from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. But hours vary by location, so check beforehand. As always, the sites on display span a wide variety of neighborhoods and building types, from architects' offices to historical relics. A few of the 18 neighborhoods represented are new this year—Ukrainian Village, Edgewater, Goose Island, Bronzeville, Lincoln Square and Ravenswood have all joined the party. If you go, Tweet and Instagram @archpaper with your photos, using the hashtag #OHC2014. Check out a full list of sites at
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Unveiled> Hartshorne Plunkard's Goose Island office block along the Chicago River

A six-story office building could sail into the boat yard site of Chicago's Goose Island in the near future, if plans from Hartshorne Plunkard and developer South Street Capital can navigate logistical and regulatory difficulties surrounding the industrial district on the city's near north side. HPA calls the project at 934 N. Branch St. a "high-tech commercial development”. At 350,000 square feet, it's larger than a similar project down the street from SOM, which also invoked the site's industrial history with its structural expression. The $90 million HPA project, which tucks one floor of parking under four stories of office space and a penthouse, could be just the first phase of a larger development from HPA and South Street, according to HPA's website:

The building’s design references and relates to a second project located across the street that will be developed by the same team. With the adaptive reuse of an existing industrial building at 909 W. Bliss Street into 248,000 SF of office space, Goose Island will be transformed into a high-tech commercial campus.

HPA's design also includes “an elevated serpentine pedestrian and bike bridge” across the Chicago River linking the site with Milwaukee and Ogden Avenues. After years of losing jobs to outsourcing and industrial decay, the redevelopment of Goose Island is significant as Chicago mulls options for restoring jobs in manufacturing that once helped define the region. Legacy industries like freight shipping and transportation might never employ the same share of Chicagoans as they once did, but many planners and businesspeople suspect the region may be on the verge of a rebirth in advanced manufacturing. Goose Island remains one of the city's planned manufacturing districts. It's unclear at the project's outset if HPA's office tower could require an exception to the district's stipulations, or if it could herald the beginning of new uses beyond the planned manufacturing district framework.