Posts tagged with "Illinois":

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Wheeler Kearns' renovation of a Chicago nonprofit arts center wins 2016 SEED Award

Building on a long relationship, the 2016 SEED Award for Public Interest Design has been awarded to the arts education nonprofit Marwen’s new renovation and expansion, designed by Chicago-based Wheeler Kearns Architects. Founded in 1987 in a one-room studio, Marwen now serves from 200 to 300 students a year in part thanks to expansions and renovations done over the last 20 years by Wheeler Kearns. The newest of these projects renovated 30,000 square feet, expanding the organization’s space within its current building. New spaces in the building include a main student gallery, an alumni gallery, a library, administrative offices, nine state-of-the-art instructional studios, and a 950-square-foot glass loggia on the north side of the building. The loggia, an element Marwen and Wheeler Kearns have been discussing for since 1999, was finally able to be realized with the purchase of the neighboring parking lot. The space acts as an additional public exhibition and gathering space. Continuing with some of the elements and sensibility of earlier renovations for the organization, Wheeler Kearns worked with existing conditions in the former manufacturing building. Most walls were left as exposed brick and heavy timber douglas fir beams make up the structure and ceiling. The floors were replaced with poured, sound-deadening, tooled concrete. Gallery and studio spaces have limited color pallets to allow for exhibition flexibility, while informal support spaces are set in vibrant colors. The new and improved spaces will be used to expand Marwen’s programs and support its increased focus on college and career counseling for under-served 6–12 grade students from around Chicago. Along with that counseling the organization provides free classes in photography, graphic design, film, animation, textiles, and ceramics. Besides working with Marwen on its former spaces, Wheeler Kearns has also worked on other small cultural institutions in Chicago including the Old Town School of Folk Music and the Beverly Art Center. In a statement Dan Wheeler, founding partner at Wheeler Kearns explained the office's interest in designing for the youth and the arts, “In many minds, the arts are seen as an avocation; for a parent to come into a designed place and see that there are serious teachers and artists working with and instructing the students, and that their child’s work is considered and presented in a professional way, that gives them the confidence that this activity might actually be something to support and sustain their child.”
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AIA Chicago outlines Pullman's future as a National Monument

As part of the ongoing preservation efforts surrounding the South Side Chicago neighborhood of Pullman a print and online book has been released reporting the results of a workshop conducted by AIA Chicago and the National Parks Conservation Association (NPCA) in April 2015. Positioning Pullman gives a history as well as a possible way forward for the once flourishing company neighborhood, which has recently been designated a national monument by President Barack Obama. The Pullman neighborhood, once an independent town, was founded by George Pullman in the 1880s to house the workers and their families, of his luxury sleeping train car company. The town, a socially and technically progressive experiment, was designed by architect Solon Spencer Beman and landscape architect Nathan F. Barrett. The community would become a symbol of the industrial revolution and its efficiencies and advancements, as well as its labor tribulations. Pullman would be the site of multiple national policy changing strikes as well as a center for the unionizing movement of the early 20th Century.  With the decline of rail travel the company would fold by the late 1960s, with only the name living on as spin off companies into the 198’s. The town's population and its buildings would quickly decline with the company, but a group of community organizers would save the city from total demolition, eventually leading to its landmark, and now national monument, status. The April ideas workshop, and subsequent publication, was charged with outlined a plan to preserve the historic neighborhood, as well as set out guidelines for improving the entire historic site. The workshop was divided into four teams—Park Experience, Historic Preservation, Access and Connections, and Community Development. The teams, organized by AIA Chicago and the NPCA, included architects, landscape architects, city planners, economist and engineers. Community involvement in the front and back ends of the workshop informed and tested ideas on the very people that would be most affected by the neighborhoods development. That development includes the adaptive reuse of historic buildings and sites, new construction, proposed transportation infrastructure and intensive preservation efforts throughout the area. In the next few years the improvements to accessibility, infrastructure, and public amenities, aim to accommodate an expected 300,000 visitors a year. The workshop and publication were supported by The Richard H. Driehaus Foundation, Chicago Community Trust, and Alphawood Foundation.
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Obama Foundation announces seven offices to submit proposals for presidential library

The Barack Obama Foundation has announced the seven offices from which it is requesting proposals for the design of the Obama Presidential Library in Chicago. The seven firms include four New York–based offices, one London-based office, one based in Genova, Italy, and one local Chicago office. The offices named are: Picked from over 150 firms who submitted to the Foundation’s request for qualifications issued in August, the seven firms will now be asked to present designs to the President in the first quarter of 2016. If Adjaye or Piano are chosen, they will be the first foreign-based offices to design a presidential library. The selection of the perspective architects comes after a long selection process for the site of the library itself. Not without some controversy, the South Side locations were chosen out of possible sites in New York, Hawaii, and another in Chicago. Public space advocates, Friends of the Parks, argued that the library, technically a private institution, should not be allowed to be built in the city’s public parks, an issue the current Lucas Museum is also dealing with. This was overcome with the help of a deal made by Mayor Rahm Emanuel which would transfer control of the land away from the park system. Each office will submit conceptual designs for both of the possible 20-acre South Side Chicago sites: one in Washington Park and one in Jackson Park. The $500 million project will include the presidential archive, a museum, and office space for the Obama Foundation. After reviewing the proposals, the Obama family and the foundation are expected to make a decision by summer 2016, the expected completion of the project being in 2020 or 2021.
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On View> Theaster Gates' Stony Island Arts Bank showing art and architecture in Chicago

Stony Island Arts Bank 6760 South Stony Island Avenue, Chicago Carlos Bunga, Under the Skin, through January 3 Frida Escobedo, Materials Reservoir, through January 3 The Stony Island Arts Bank is a project of Chicago-based artist Theaster Gates’ nonprofit Rebuild Foundation. The foundation converted a vacant former savings bank on the South Side into an archive, exhibition space, and community center to encourage artist-led, community-driven revitalization. Current programming includes works by Barcelona-based multimedia artist Carlos Bunga, and architect Frida Escobedo (Mexico City). For Under the Skin, Bunga uses cardboard and adhesive tape to create a fluid space that responds to the surrounding architecture and comments on the making process. For Materials Reservoir, Escobedo gathered debris from a demolished South Side church to create a reverse Tower of Babel, with walls that can be re-arranged and destroyed. The piece comments on how meaning and materiality can be appropriated and constructed by each participant.  
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Chris Wilkinson and John Ronan present at Facades+ conference in Chicago

One only had to glance out the window to understand why the 18th floor of Mart Plaza hotel was the perfect venue for the Chicago addition of the Facades+ Conferences. With views of 333 W. Wacker, the Willis Tower, and a handful of new towers under construction, the history of the modern facade was on display. The conversation in the symposium would be equally as rich with local and international speakers. The morning’s keynote address from Chris Wilkinson of London-based WilkinsonEyre, explored the latest in novel skin technologies from the fantastic flowing domes of Singapore’s Gardens by the Bay project, to the ship like Mary Rose Museum in Portsmouth, UK. The diverse range of projects presented by Wilkinson were shown along with insights into the process that lead their award winning solutions. In the case of the Mary Rose Museum, the recovered Mary Rose Ship is at the center of the design literally and ideologically. In particular, special care was taken to provide the precise environmental conditions needed to preserve the 420-year-old vessel. In his afternoon keynote address, Chicago’s John Ronan of John Ronan Architects discussed the political and social impact facades can have on a neighborhood. In the case of two of the public projects presented, brightly colored panel facades at once announce the project as a neighborhood institution, while providing a physical safety barrier in areas of the city where gun violence is too often a part of a high schooler’s life. Using a similar system of metal paneling for decidedly different reasons, Ronan described the iconic nature and tranquil interior provided in his Poetry Foundation building in downtown Chicago. Ronan closed with a detailed look at the high-tech skin of the forthcoming Ed Kaplan Family Institute for Innovation and Tech Entrepreneurship at the Mies van der Rohe–designed Illinois Institute of Technology campus. The project’s inflated ETFE foil cushion skin regulates interior climate by controlling a moveable interior membrane with a variable air pressure system. Other presentations included a discussion between 2015 AIA Chicago Gold Medal winner Carol Ross Barney, architecture critic Lee Bey, and Chicago Public Building Commission Executive Director Felicia Davis, on building in the public realm for the public good.  Maged Guirguis of SOM and James Rose of the Institute for Smart Structures presented AMIE, the Additive Manufacturing/Integrated Energy project, a 3D printed house and vehicle pairing reimagining energy use. The day also included presentations from over 20 other experts in facade design, manufacturing, engineering, and the Methods + Materials gallery. Day two of the symposium included workshops and presentations from leaders in the global facade dialog, including representatives from Buro Happold, SOM, and Autodesk. The workshops provided for a hands-on, one-on-one, chance to discuss and explore the latest in facade technologies and design practices. Enrique Norten of TEN Arquitectos  and Eric Owen Moss will give keynote addresses at the next Facades+ event on January 28th29th in Los Angeles.
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Chicago's Blue Demons break ground on massive Pelli Clarke Pelli arena

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel was on hand for last week's groundbreaking of Chicago’s next new sports and entertainment arena by Pelli Clarke Pelli. The 10,000 seat McCormick Place Event Center will add to the already vast McCormick Place convention facilities as well as be the home court for the DePaul University Blue Demon’s college basketball team. Designed by New Haven–based Pelli Clarke Pelli, the 300,000 square foot arena will be connected to a 51-story, 1,200-room Marriott hotel by Gensler, also currently under construction. Scheduled to open in 2017, before the 2017–18 basketball season, the Event Center will also function as a concert venue and convention space. Filling an entire block, the arena steps back at its corners, providing outdoor gathering space. The building's expansive glass facade is punctuated by intermittent corrugated metal–paneled pavilions enclosing the building's services. Large digital displays weave from interior to exterior, broadcasting the night’s events, and animating the arena facade. The highly transparent entrances are meant to extend the arena’s experience out on to the public plaza and surrounding streets. As a means of connecting the project more directly to the neighborhood, the main event floor as well as concourse will sit at street level. Along with the highly transparent façade, there is a possibility that some of the restaurants and concessions may be accessible from the exterior of the building. A reveal in the seating will also allow for a direct view into the event space and to student seating area from the street. The building's most noticeable design element is its curved membrane roof. The light-weight structure arches over the event floor and seating in an homage to other gathering spaces in Chicago, such as the Auditorium Theater and the Grand Ballroom of Navy Pier. The nature of the roof also allows for large gill-like apertures, which will be lit at night, broadcasting the arena into the city.
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Norman Foster plants a new Apple Store in the heart of Chicago

Foster + Partners has revealed initial images of a proposed Apple store at the intersection of Michigan Avenue and the Chicago River. The new store will replace their existing Michigan Avenue flagship store six blocks to the north. Echoing the company’s 5th Avenue store in New York, the design calls for a large, mostly glass structure with an expanded retail space below ground. Unlike the 5th Avenue store, and more akin to Foster’s recent Aix-en-Provence, France Apple iteration, the new Chicago Store will feature a light solid roof suspended on two large columns. Located on, and below, Pioneer Square, the store will have one of the most visible locations in the city, surrounded by some of Chicago’s most iconic architectural landmarks. The square itself is flanked by the Tribune Tower to the north, the modernist Bruce Graham designed 401 North Michigan Avenue (formerly the Equitable Building) to the East, and the Wrigley Building immediately across Michigan Avenue. The view up the river to the west will also include the Trump Tower, Marina City, and Mies’ AMA Plaza (formerly IBM Plaza), making this location one of the most recognized tourist, not to mention retail, locations in the city. The 20,000-square-foot retail space will occupy an unused cafeteria at Lower Michigan Avenue. The store will also engage with the infrequently used Riverwalk along the north bank of the river. New balustrades and stairs will be added, as well as the 34-foot-tall glass wall of the store itself. According to representatives from Foster + Partners at a recent courtesy presentation to the City Planning Commission, there will be no retail at the surface Pioneer Square level, with the 14-foot-above-grade glass structure acting as a grand entrance. The city has already approved the project, and construction is planned to begin next year.
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Day 37 & 38: The sheen of the Chicago Architecture Biennial has not worn off as programming continues to impress

Often, there's a blast of attention for the opening of a Biennial, or Biennale, or Triennale. This happens partly because the media descends on a place for the first few days while opening events abound, and then go back on their merry ways. It's also due in part to the event's programming—how much of note actually happens after the initial weekend? The Chicago Architecture Biennial, now over a month on, is bucking that trend by doing a great job of extending its initial burst of programming. AN was able to check in on the Biennial and see some of the ongoing, publicly engaging talks, lectures, exhibitions, and performances. And there were plenty. The trip started with a surreal performance by Jessica Lang Dance in collaboration with none other than New York architect Steven Holl. For 20 minutes at the Harris Theater on the northern edge of Millennium Park, Tesseracts of Time combined architecture and performance arguably the most potent way of all the Biennial's performances, as nimble bodies gracefully moved around and through stage sets designed by Holl. The most engaging parts of the Biennial are not necessarily the ones in the Chicago Cultural Center. Periphery events have a considerable range of programming, from environmental issues and Chicago-centric ones, to global questions of infrastructural inequality. The latter was on tap Saturday at "Architecture and Inequality," hosted by the history collective Aggregate. The six panels partly focused on extending the discussion from Aggregate's special issue "Black Lives Matter," which was a look at the structural challenges designers face when making cities and places for everyone. The discussions were surprisingly tailored to Chicago, and provocations from historians Meredith TenHoor, Sharon Haar, and Adrienne Brown were complemented by more contemporary presentations from Jonathan Massey and Emmanuel Pratt. TenHoor discussed infrastructure and inequality, using the unbuilt crosstown expressway in Chicago as an example of tangible inequality that galvanized a community—something that needs to happen today surrounding unequal urban spheres such as housing and transportation access. The panel was dynamic, illustrating the ways that architecture plays into uneven patterns of development and habitation in the city. At times, perhaps structural racism was over-conflated with economic inequality, but nonetheless the panels drew out the strong connections between the two. This is just one of many socially-minded panels that make the moralizing whiners sound silly when they complain that the biennial is not engaging with the city of Chicago and its unique urban problems. Switching gears very quickly, I headed to the standing-room only Chicago Arts Club to see legendary critic Bob Somol and his compadre Wiel Arets discuss with Geoff Goldberg the main exhibition of the Biennial. Somol is the former dean of the University of Illinois, Chicago, School of Architecture, while Arets is the dean of rival Illinois Institute of Technology. Goldberg is the son of Bertrand Goldberg. The three Chicago-marinated experts discussed the Biennial by choosing projects that caught their attention. Somol was especially taken in by Sou Fujimoto's submission Everything is Architecture and Atelier Bow-wow's Piranesi Circus. He compared Fujimoto's installation to Hans Hollein's Architecture is Everywhere. The Biennial's strength is in its breadth and sprawl, but on Saturday it became a weakness. We couldn't make it to a very intriguing event, "House Practices", a discussion with Amanda Williams, Julia Sedlock, and Mejay Gula about their house-based practices. It took place far form the central loop, however, so I was not able to see it or the brilliant-looking exhibition also at the Elmhurst Art Museum, Lessons from Modernism: Environmental Design Strategies in Architecture 1925-1970.
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Ahead of the Tiny Homes Summit, AIA Chicago competition takes a big look at tiny houses

As part of this upcoming April Tiny Homes Summit at the University of Illinois Chicago, the AIA has launched the Tiny Homes Competition. Organized by AIA Chicago, in partnership with Landon Bone Baker Architects, Pride Action Tank, Windy City Times, and a long list of additional local and national advocacy groups, the competition seeks new modular alternatives to affordable and subsidized housing. Sited on four conjoined lots in Chicago’s historic Bronzeville neighborhood, the competition also hopes to engage a conversation on Chicago’s large city-owned vacant lot surplus. One module from the winning proposal will be constructed and presented at the spring summit. The competition will specifically address homelessness among young adults between the ages of 18–24, a group that makes up 31 percent of Chicago’s unsheltered homeless population and 19 percent of the sheltered homeless population. Proposals will outline planned 12-unit developments in which residents will have a safe secure space to sleep, study, and store their belonging. The brief also asks for a 1,200 square foot communal space and secure bike storage to be integrated into the overall site plan. The 350 square foot units themselves will include bathrooms, food storage and prep area, and sleeping area. With a $30,000 limit on material and mechanical systems, teams are being asked to design units that can be produced for under $60,000. The brief also stipulates that the units will follow city building codes, while zoning variances will be obtained to allow for the unique configuration of the projects. Now open, digital presentation boards are due January 30th, with winners being announced in March 2016. Jury members include city officials, architects and advocates. Winners will be awarded $5,000, as well as an additional $5,000 to develop construction drawings.
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Everybody Dance Now: Steven Holl collaborates for dance at the Chicago Architecture Biennial

One of the more unusual things I heard when preparing for the Chicago Architecture Biennial (CAB) was a tip from someone involved that there was going to be "a ballet about Steven Holl." I was obviously excited about this prospect, and I finally got to see the final results last Friday. It may not have been exactly about Steven himself, but it was close. It turns out that CAB co-artistic director Sarah Herda had dreamed up a pairing in the initial stages of planning the Biennial. The result is a surreal performance by Jessica Lang Dance in collaboration with none other than New York architect Steven Holl. For 20 minutes at the Harris Theater on the northern edge of Millennium Park, "Tesseracts of Time" combined architecture and performance arguably the most potent way of all the Biennial's performances, as nimble bodies gracefully moved around and through stage sets designed by Holl. Lang took "a sculptural approach to this new work, utilizing visually arresting sets and costumes, enabling three-dimensional interactions with bodies and objects that evoke emotions and tangible sensation." The first act included a large, site-specific projection of a wooden model of Holl's Explorations of IN, which provided the backdrop for the experimental dance. Dancers emerged on the screen, superimposed into the model at the exact scale as the real-life dancers below. The music for the show was chosen based on material in "The Architectonics of Music," taught by Steven Holl and Dimitra Tsachrelia at Columbia GSAPP. It includes David Lang, Morton Feldman, John Cage, Iannis Xenakis, and Arvo Pärt. The real fireworks came in the second act when three fabric-over-tube forms sat on the stage, glowing white. The dancers moved in and through them, before the shapes were gradually lifted up off the ground. As they rose from the dance surface, colored lights illuminated the fabric forms from the sides of the stage. Tesseracts was based on the four seasons, compressed into 20 minutes. The colors of the backdrop and the hanging Holl forms changed in harmony with the changing of the seasons. https://www.youtube.com/embed/QlFxZfu-GRo For more architecture and performance, check out the discussion, "Building Blocks: Choreography as Architecture,” by Minneapolis-based choreographer Chris Schlichting and visual artist Jennifer Davis, at the Chicago Cultural Center.
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Public realm champion Carol Ross Barney wins AIA Illinois Gold Medal

The seventh AIA Illinois Gold Medal has been presented to Carol Ross Barney of Ross Barney Architects. Barney’s career spans 40 years of practice in Chicago, in which her firm has taken on civic, social, and cultural projects across the country. Known as a champion for the public’s right to design excellence her work often is designed for the public realm. Outside of her practice, Barney is the founder and first president of the Chicago Women in Architecture. Barney is also the first woman to win AIA Illinois’ Gold Medal. Most recently in Chicago, Ross Barney Architects has received praise for its design of the newest portion of the Chicago River Walk. Just to the south, a new elevated public train station of her design has also recently opened. A new central chiller on the south campus of OSU highlights Barney’s commitment to high design even when it comes to infrastructural projects. Remarking on her way with mixing civic, social, and public design, Mike Waldinger, executive vice president of AIA Illinois remarked, “it’s as if Robert Moses and Jane Jacobs had a secret child.” Along with the Gold Medal, Ross Barney Architects received the AIA Illinois Daniel Burnham Honor Award for the Master Plan of the 606, a new linear park recently finished on the northwest side of Chicago.  
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Letter to the Editor> Francois Roche responds to Patrik Schumacher's reproach of the Chicago Architecture Biennial

[Editor’s Note: Opinions expressed in letters to the editor do not necessarily reflect the opinions or sentiments of the newspaper. AN welcomes reader letters, which could appear in our regional print editions. To share your opinion, please email editor@archpaper.com] The Architect's Newspaper recently published an excerpt from Patrik Schumacher’s now-infamous Facebook post which he also sent to AN. In response, Thailand-based architect Francois Roche sent us the following letter from his Facebook page; an edited version was also posted on Dezeen. For context, here is part of Schumacher’s text, and Roche’s unedited response. Read Schumacher's full statement here.

“The State of the Art of Architecture” delivered by the Chicago Architecture Biennial Exhibition must leave lay-visitors bewildered by one overwhelming subliminal message: Contemporary architecture ceased to exist, the discipline’s guilt and bad conscience has sapped its vitality, driven it to self-annihilation and architects have now en masse dedicated themselves to doing good via basic social work. A less charitable interpretation sees the hijacking of the newly created Chicago Architecture Biennial by a marginal but academically entrenched ideological tendency within the discipline that has abandoned their societal remit of innovating the built environment at the world technological frontier and instead pours its allocated resources into concept-art style documentation and agitation of behalf of underdeveloped regions and milieu. —Patrik Schumacher

From inside / a review far away from the Neo-Liberal Jealousy and last Übermensch libertarian Patrik Schumacher jiggering... this past week / but within the ideological and political Tabula rasa that operated on the situation / Chicago Cultural Center was (is) before everything a social center... the last homeless spot in downtown Chicago / With a tacitly organized passive violence, during the Biennial opening days only “members” with authorized badges were admitted / Rejecting the regular “trashy-freak” users / To quote Bourdieu ... Taste is an affair of business, exclusion, and social class... contemporary museums widely betray the emancipating hypothesis of their origin and foundation / At the Biennial all architects were participating to this “hygienist” strategy / But the most absurd ... was to listen to their speeches about bio-politics, greenish-color and bottom-up slummy romanticism, saving Willy and the world with Joseph Grima (the curator in charge of this specific Activism Carnival) on the throne of those selves-complaisance-indulgence... at the spot and the time where the Cultural-Social Center became “bunkerized.” ... Between Patrik and Zaha, who are ignoring with cynicism the workers’ dramatic condition of servitude in Abu Dhabi, and who participated to the biggest brainwashing enterprise of these past ten years: technologies as a strategy of ignorance-arrogance-positivism (pleonasm), and symmetrically the participants of this Biennial who “naively and innocently” excluded the damaged bodies and disordered minds, while wearing their black Penguin suits to moralistically enact political entertainment... WHO are the most criminal? Simply the two faces of the same coin or bitcoin... feeding themselves as a reciprocity simulacrum, as Ping-Pong between the Cynical and the Clown... the history of intellectual Tabula rasa... of architecture discipline... Could we find a crack between the techno-fetishism and at its opposite the techno-regression? It is so comfortable to choose one of these chapels... there are many advantages to reduce or to falsify consciousness and knowledge... Techno-sciences shouldn’t be an Object any more.... but a Subject that we have to re-appropriate in “democratic anthropo-technic” strategies... Francois Roche