Posts tagged with "Helmut Jahn":

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Illinois Governor ransoms Thompson Center for public school money

In an act of political wrangling that typifies the relationship between the City of Chicago and the State of Illinois, Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner announced that if the city would allow the sale of the Helmut Jahn–designed James R. Thompson Center, he would provide the Chicago Public Schools (CPS) with additional funding. Last week Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel said that he would block the sale of the postmodern building out of fear of having to replace the large CTA subway station beneath it. Over the past few years, the city and state have played tug-of-war over funding for the often-beleaguered public school system. In his address, Governor Rauner promised to provide an additional $45 million a year through 2040 if the city permitted the sale of the building. It was only a few months ago that Rauner has vetoed a bill that would have provided $215 million to CPS’s pension fund. The battle over the Thompson Center officially began back in October 2015, when Rauner announced his intention to sell the building. He called the building “ineffective,” and “just not useable for much of anything.” The building is facing a deferred maintenance bill of over $100 million and costs the state roughly $12 million a year to operate. Despite that cost, the building contains one of the largest interior public civic spaces in the city, and many fear selling the building to a private developer would be a major loss for the city.
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Helmut Jahn’s latest Chicago skyscraper loses 200 feet in height

Dubbed “1000M” for its 1000 South Michigan Avenue address, New York developers Time Equities (who also partnered with Jahn on a New York City tower bearing close resemblance) and JK Equities lopped nearly 200 feet off the plan, bringing the height to 832 feet with 73 stories. It conforms to new height guidelines that govern the south portion of the Historic Michigan Boulevard District, which runs from Randolph Street to 11th Street, and assuages residents’ concerns over the appropriateness of dropping a supertall on an iconic streetwall. The amendment from the Commission on Chicago Landmarks allows for new towers up to 900 feet on Michigan and Wabash Avenues between 8th and 11th Streets.

In the process, a staggered stacked cube concept was scrapped, replaced by sinuous curves and triangular planes. Project text attributes the “hard sloping north edge, the soft and natural southeast corner, and curved east and west faces” to the textures of city, lake, and park, respectively. A decidedly rectangular base transitions to parallelogram from the 24 through 72 floors, allowing the tower’s top-heavy dimensions to develop slowly and gracefully. An enclosed omni-directional top houses mechanicals and a 5,300-square-foot roof terrace. Among Chicago’s tallest towers, Jahn said at the community presentation, this “is the only building to get bigger toward the top." The shift from rectilinear base to more curvaceous top also delineates the change from apartments to condos in the tower. One hundred and forty rental units would fill the base, providing an aesthetic screen for ten floors of parking. An amenity level divides these lower rental units from the 366 condos planned for the upper floors, while external load bearing “super columns” also signal this break on the tower’s facade. Architecture critic Blair Kamin noted in the Chicago Tribune that the historic district’s tallest structure is the 430-foot-tall Metropolitan Tower several blocks north. Immediate Michigan Avenue neighbors are 100- and 272-feet-tall, the shorter of which was acquired by the developers. Clearly, the pose struck by Jahn’s tower will be instrumental to its contextual success or failure. To that end, the tower’s shape is derived largely from its relationship to adjoining buildings. The taller north neighbor’s setback is matched and a 20-foot gap exceeds the 12 feet required by code, preserving greater sunlight and airflow for that building’s south-facing tenants. A sloping 17-foot outcrop hovers over the southern neighbor, in a way cradling it (the outcropping and expansion of floor plates also helps with the economics of a shortened proposal). In material terms, a metal facade system transitions to a greater ratio of glass once the tower clears its neighbors. Community reaction to the new concept has been overwhelmingly positive, but a lingering concern is whether equal care will be given to the less prominent west facade. Relative stature may be diminished, but Jahn’s redesign still sets out to create a visual counterpoint to the wall of skyscrapers rounding Michigan onto Randolph. Together with Rafael Viñoly’s twin 76-story tower designs at Michigan Avenue and Roosevelt Road and Hartshorne Plunkard Architecture’s rendering of a 585-foot-tall apartment building two blocks north of 1000M, a bolder definition of Grant Park’s south rim is on the way. Developers hope to break ground in 12 to 15 months.
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Postmodern Purgatory: Illinois Governor announces plan to sell Helmut Jahn’s Thompson Center

ILLINOIS GOVERNOR RAUNER ANNOUNCES STATE’S PLAN TO SELL CHICAGO’S POSTMODERN ICON. (Photo by Rainer Viertlboeck) ILLINOIS GOVERNOR RAUNER ANNOUNCES STATE’S PLAN TO SELL CHICAGO’S POSTMODERN ICON. (Photo by Rainer Viertlboeck) Hot on the heels of round table discussions of the preservation of Postmodern monuments at the Chicago Architecture Biennial. One of Chicago’s most iconic and controversial Postmodern landmarks finds itself on unsure footing. The James R. Thompson Center, designed by Helmut Jahn and constructed in 1985, was the site of a press conference held by Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner to announce the proposed sale of the building. According to Rauner the building is “ineffective” as an office space for state government, and was “just not useable for much of anything.” Standing in the grand circular public atrium, Rauner focused on the financial burden of the building and the financial possibilities of razing the structure. According to the Governor the building has a deferred maintenance bill of over $100 million, and costs the state upwards of $12 million in operating costs every year. Conversely he speculated that a new development could produce 8,000 new construction jobs and $20 million a year in tax revenue. His comments on the architecture of the building were limited except to say it would “not cost much to take down.” He left the judgement to of the buildings aesthetic to the “eye of the beholder.” Having been previously notified by the Governor’s office of the impending sale, architect Helmut Jahn responded in writing on Tuesday. Jahn was critical of the subsequent administrations since that of Governor James R. Thompson, the original client and building namesake, for not upholding the “vision… of building a symbol for the openness and transparency of the state government, an active urban center, and a lively urban and public place.” In his letter, Jahn seemed resigned to the fact that there was little chance the state government would save the building. Instead he optimistically offered a path forward for the building through repurposing. He stated, “This requires upgrades to the retail and foodservice, marketing the large floor plates to innovative tech-companies…adding 24 hour uses… making it the most exciting place in the city.” In the past, other possible reuse plans have been put forward for the building to little avail, including a proposed casino. Governor Rauner’s hope is to sell the site within the year to the highest bidder in a public auction. Considering the building's location and access to public transportation, having multiple train stops in and under the building, it is expected to fetch a large sum. With that said, government land has not always found the anxious buyers it anticipates in Chicago. The South Loop’s U.S. Post Office being a case in point. And though the final story has not been written about this intensely maligned building, it is looking as though the city may soon be losing a large interior public space of architectural significance.
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Slideshow> AIA Chicago Honors 39 Projects

Friday marked Designight 2012—AIA Chicago’s annual awards gala—which brought nearly 1,000 members of the area’s design community together at Navy Pier to recognize 39 projects in four awards categories: Distinguished Building, Interior Architecture, Divine Detail, and Sustainability Leadership. John Ronan’s Poetry Foundation; Perkins+Will’s Universidade Agostinho Neto in Luanda, Angola; Sheehan Partners’ Facebook Data Center in Prineville, Ore.; and David Woodhouse Architects’ Richard J. Daley Library IDEA Commons in Chicago (featured in the October Midwest issue of AN Midwest) were among the repeat winners of the night. Helmut Jahn accepted a lifetime achievement award, calling on the designers present to imagine a better future and then “make that future happen.” On behalf of his firm, Jahn also formally adopted the changes reported earlier—a new name, JAHN, and the ascension of Francisco Gonzalez-Pulido to share design leadership with Jahn. Click on a thumbnail to launch the slideshow. The full list of winners and all 262 projects entered into the competition can be found on AIA Chicago's website.
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Doha Tower named world’s best by Council on Tall Buildings

The Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat held its 11th annual awards symposium Thursday, bestowing architect Helmut Jahn and structural engineers Charles Thornton and Richard Tomasetti with lifetime achievement recognition and awarding Doha Tower the title of 2012’s Best Tall Building. Ateliers Jean Novel’s cylindrical landmark for the burgeoning Qatar capital is the first tall building to use a diagonal grid of reinforced concrete columns in a cross shape. This innovation leaves open the central core, creating a stunning space at the tip of the tower that makes perhaps the best use of the building’s intricately detailed facade. In the Illinois Institute of Technology’s Hermann Hall, CTBUH also awarded one building in each of four geographical regions with Best Tall Building awards, with each recipient presenting  their work. The Absolute World Towers in Mississauga, Ontario took home the Americas award. Architect Ma Yansong remarked that high-rises increasingly resemble machines, but his work aims to make tall buildings more human. See AN's past coverage for more on all the award-winners. SOM’s Al Hamra Firdous Tower in Kuwait City and Progetto CMR’s Complesso Garibaldi Tower 2 in Milan received honors as featured finalists. Jahn, whose 40-year portfolio of built work includes the Sony Center in Berlin, Liberty Place in Philadelphia and the MGM Veer Towers in Las Vegas, said some architects forget that very tall buildings have a responsibility to reflect the character and spirit of the cities whose skylines they alter. During the question portion of the morning presentations, he also lamented the loss of architects “who would just throw their drawings at the client,” calling for less “pussyfooting” and more boldness in design today. In another crowd-pleasing moment, Charlie Thornton said engineering is essentially simple when it is not obfuscated by self-important professors. “We need to get rid of calculus teachers,” he said. “They are destroying future engineers.” “I’m not very popular with engineering schools,” he added. Thornton’s name has become practically synonymous, as has his partner Richard Tomasetti’s, with tall building engineering. Before the days of BIM and Catia, Thornton said, he would calculate building stresses on yellow legal pads during long flights. $5 million of computer calculations later, he said, his longhand calculations would be within 10 percent.
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AIA to Honor Helmut Jahn with Lifetime Achievement Award

AIA Chicago will honor German-born architect Helmut Jahn later this month with a lifetime achievement award during its Designight event Oct. 26. Jahn is president and CEO of Murphy/Jahn, a firm with a formidable track record Chicago, including U of C's Mansueto Research Library, O’Hare’s United Airlines Terminal and the state of Illinois’ Thompson Center. His work in Germany is also extensive, including the well-known Sony Center in Berlin and the Messeturm in Frankfurt. Jahn will also receive a lifetime achievement award from the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat Thursday. AIA’s Designight is open to the public. Tickets are available at aiachicago.org or by calling (312) 376-2725.
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Eavesdrop MW 02

DANCING WITH STARCHITECTS Eavesdrop got all flustered when the Chicago Dancing Festival, an annual event celebrating American dance, announced the theme for its August 27 event: “The Dancing Skyline.” Could this be like Dancing with the Stars or a Pilobolus-like pile of dancers recreating buildings from Chicago’s iconic skyline? Probably neither, as the festival’s website simply describes it as “a lecture and demonstration focused on themes of architecture and dance.” Still, we would have paid good money to see Jeanne Gang paired with the likes of Jay Franke of the Lar Lubovitch Dance Company prancing off against Helmut Jahn and Fabrice Calmels of the Joffrey Ballet. A gossip columnist can dream! CURATOR SHUFFLE Ever since AN broke the news that Joseph Rosa is leaving the Art Institute’s architecture and design department to direct the University of Michigan Art Museum, speculation has abounded about who will replace him. The AIC says design curator Zoe Ryan is in the running, but Eavesdrop guesses she’s pretty happy building the museum’s new design collection. Others have pointed to Brooke Hodge, previously of LA MOCA, but might her interests overlap too much with Ryan’s? Oh, and another Ryan, first name Raymund, the architecture curator at the Carnegie Museum of Art in Pittsburgh, could well be in the running. Then there’s John Zukowsky, the former AIC curator, who is conveniently back in town. Seems unlikely. What about Elizabeth Smith, the former chief curator at the MCA? She’s had a longstanding interest in architecture and wrote a wonderful and much lusted after book on the Case Study Houses. Eavesdrop hears that Trustee John H. Bryan, who endowed the chair, holds the key to the kingdom. Send season tickets, croquet wickets, and rusty spigots to midwesteavesdrop@archpaper.com.