Posts tagged with "Illinois":

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Tigerman’s Epiphany: New photomontage update of "Titanic" unveiled at the Chicago Architecture Biennial

On October 22nd, marking the 130th anniversary of the Chicago Architecture Club and as part of the ongoing Chicago Architecture Foundation's Currencies of Architecture exhibition, Stanley Tigerman unveiled a follow up to his 1978 “Titanic” photomontage. Entitled “The Epiphany,” the new image, somewhat ironically, is a protest against what Tigerman sees as a contemporary infatuation with icons. The image itself depicts Mies Van Der Rohe’s Crown Hall and Frank Gehry’s Guggenheim Bilbao sitting side-by-side on the lunar surface. From the same sky as the original “Titanic,” a bomb is falling to destroy them both. As with its predecessor, “The Epiphany” is less a critique of Van Der Rohe or Gehry, as much as it is of those that hold them and their work as the basis for their own work. “The problem with icon is that people use it as a starting point,” Tigerman explained to the crowd at the Chicago Architecture Foundation. “Instead of tabula rasa, a blank page. Inspiration is the emptiness of your page, or your blank computer screen.” “Architects need to teach, in some way,” Tigerman encouraged in the conversation around the unveiling, which was part of a larger event which included discussion of the state of the field and the current Chicago Architecture Biennial. Tigerman also took the time to express his pleasure with the current generation of young architects, and his ambition to hand off the field. “I am very pleased with the current generation. I feel good. I can go now.” "The Epiphany" and Currencies of Architecture can be seen for free at the Chicago Architecture Foundation.
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Perkins+Will's Bryan Schabel on updating historic campus architecture

Among the Windy City's most well-known assets are its universities, from DePaul in Lincoln Park and the Loop to the University of Chicago in Hyde Park. Many of these campuses, in turn, are characterized by heavy brick and stone architecture in the Neo-Gothic style. The dominance of a single architectural style—a feature of many institutions of higher learning, not just Chicago's—presents a challenge to contemporary architects, who must combine a sensitivity to the existing campus fabric with the imperatives of contemporary college life. Perkins+Will's Temple Hoyne Buell Hall, University of Illinois, Champaign. (Eric Fredericks / Flickr) Perkins+Will's Temple Hoyne Buell Hall, University of Illinois, Champaign. (Eric Fredericks / Flickr) "Context is very important in our design," affirmed Perkins+Will design principal Bryan Schabel, who works on a variety of projects including educational buildings. "We pay particular attention to the massing of our buildings and their relationship to the existing conditions—whether it is an adjacent building, a path or road, or a court or quadrangle that we either want to enhance or create with our designs. Additionally, we try to take cues from the scale and materiality of the existing campus when we design." Next week, Schabel will participate in a panel on campus design at the Facades+ Chicago conference. His co-panelists include moderator William Menking (AN), Valerio Dewalt Train Associates' Joe Valerio, and Patrick Loughran of Goettsch Partners. As for cases where the existing architectural language and modern mandates come into conflict, an open mind is key. "Often times, some literal aspects of the context may be counter to the goals of the project," said Schabel. "The solidity of some historical campuses' contexts, for instance, may not achieve the daylighting goals we have in our contemporary buildings, so we may use the context in a more abstract way to relate the new and old." School administrators tend to support such an approach, he explained. "While we have had clients that wanted a more literal interpretation of their historic campuses, most of them have fortunately been in line with our ideas of modernity, as long as they still relate in scale with the overall experience of the campus," said Schabel. Hear more from Schabel, his co-panelists, and other movers and shakers in the world of facade design and fabrication at Facades+ Chicago November 5-6. Register today on the conference website.
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Eavesdrop> Chicago's Crater: Is Bjarke Ingels working on a scheme at the Chicago Spire site?

Since 2008, there has been a giant hole where Santiago Calatrava’s Chicago Spire was supposed to rise some 2,000 feet out of the ground. The project lapsed due to financial woes by Irish developer Garrett Kelleher. The foundation is in place, and it looks like a place where a giant swimming pool or music venue would fit nicely, but AN is hearing that developers are working with Bjarke Ingels' Danish firm BIG on a possible Spire part to.
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Letter> State of what art? Patrik Schumacher rails against 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 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 has 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 as a marginal but academically entrenched ideological tendency within the discipline that has abandoned its societal remit of innovating the built environment at the world technological frontier, and is instead pouring its allocated resources into concept-art style documentation and agitation on behalf of underdeveloped regions and the milieu. I am rather suspicious of these creative/artistic engagements with poverty. It sometimes risks mutating into a questionable aesthetization of poverty, a questionable romance. Questionable because what the poor of this world most probably (and rightly) aspire to requires little creativity and imagination because it is already plotted out for them by the ladder of development leading up to what has been achieved in the most advanced arenas of world civilization, where—in contrast—true, path-breaking creativity is indeed called for. I rather feel that our discourse has become far too moralizing and politicized. It’s all too familiar by now: Political correctness swamps the discipline and takes over its discursive spaces. For example, why should an ARCHITECTURAL biennial give a huge space to an ART project like Amanda WilliamsColor(ed) Theory when ART has already its own (many more) venues for public display/discourse? How is this more relevant to contemporary architecture than contemporary architecture itself? Patrik Schumacher
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Facades+ Chicago workshops offer hands-on exposure to cutting-edge concepts and techniques

Among the many continuing education opportunities available to members of the AEC industry, the Facades+ conference series stands out for a number of reasons. Not least of these is its unique two-day format, which combines a symposium packed with top-tier keynotes, panel discussions, Q&A sessions, and networking breaks with an opportunity to dive deep into facade design and fabrication in a hands-on tech/lab or dialog workshop. Facades+ Chicago, timed to coincide with the inaugural Chicago Architecture Biennial, includes a particularly impressive lineup of workshops. Attendees can choose one of three day-long tech workshops or a total of two of six half-day dialog workshops. Tech workshops include “Dynamo for Computational BIM,” led by Autodesk’s Colin McCrone and Neal Burnham, and “Integrated Parametric Daylighting and Energy Modeling for High Performance Building Design,” with the University of Pennsylvania School of Design’s Mostapha Roudsari, creator of Ladybug and Honeybee. The third tech workshop, “Curtain Wall Systems: From Sketch to Completion” is a Facades+ first. With guidance from Bart Harrington and Richard Braunstein, both of YKK AP America, participants will learn about different curtain wall system types and installation techniques by assembling, installing, and glazing a series of mockups. The Facades+ Chicago dialog workshop offerings are equally wide-ranging, and some of them extend upon the symposium's content. Morning sessions include “New Techniques in Parametric Design,” with SOM’s Neil Katz and Joel Putnam, “Energy Efficient or Healthy Buildings: Do We Have to Choose?” led by Dr. Helen Sanders (Sage Glass), Steve Fronek (Wausau Window and Wall Systems), Jim Baney (Schuler Shook), and Soyoung Hwang (WELL Building Institute), and Part I of “Listening to the Facade: Acoustic Design Considerations and Techniques for the Building Envelope,” with Ryan Biziorek and Fiona Gillan, both of Arup, and JGMA’s Juan Moreno. During the afternoon, attendees can choose among “Facades Driving Indoor Environments,” led by Stephen Ray (SOM), Arathi Gowda (SOM), Narada Golden (YR&G), and Lisa White (Passive House Institute US), “Performance Validation of Facades Through Simulation and Testing,” with Buro Happold’s Emir Pekdemir, USG Corporation’s AJ Rao, and Derek Cavataio, of Architectural Testing, Inc., or Part II of the ARUP/JGMA panel. The afternoon session on “Listening to the Facade” includes a field trip to the Arup SoundLab, a short walk down the Chicago River at 35 East Wacker Drive. Enrollment in dialog and tech workshops is extremely limited—sign up today to secure your place. Register or learn more at the Facades+ Chicago website.
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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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SOM's Neil Katz on parametric modeling in facade design

Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM) associate Neil Katz describes his approach to crafting facades as involving a “computational design” methodology. In computational design, the architect generates solutions to a particular problem by first defining a set of rules and criteria for the model. Though the many tools Katz uses during this process include intangibles like “a desire to explore as many valid options as possible” and his office’s collaborative environment, in many instances he also performs literal computation—specifically, parametric modeling. Katz will moderate a panel on “Creating Complex Facades with Parametric Control” at next month’s Facades+ Chicago symposium. On day two of the conference, he and SOM colleague Joel Putnam will lead a dialog workshop on “New Techniques in Parametric Design." Parametric modeling can be the means to several ends, explained Katz. First, it can be used to explore a building’s massing, taking into account constraints like program, site, climate, context, and the overarching design concept. When applied to facade panelization, meanwhile, parametric control works with a different set of rules, including the relative flatness of the facade or the desire for regularity or other panel properties. Finally, observed Katz, “analysis and simulation, and visualization of the results, is also part of the parametric process—and can be a parametric process in its own right.” Katz’s affinity for parametric design is in part an outgrowth of his interest in programming. “Even in school, but especially when I started working at SOM, this ability became a natural part of creating models, and performing many of the tasks I was given,” he said. During the 1980s, as a design student enrolled in computer science courses, he was an anomaly. But that may be changing. “For many years, engineers [also had to have] some expertise at programming to do their work,” said Katz. “That’s becoming true for architects as well. I would say that most architecture students are now interested in acquiring and using this skill.” He has observed a similar shift among his fellow architects at SOM. “More and more, my colleagues are building their own models, and my contribution is helping to develop a strategy to make the model as powerful and flexible as possible,” said Katz. Like Katz, his co-panelists are working to solve some of the challenges inherent to parametric design, including the time it takes to perform the various analyses. Tristan d’Estrée Sterk, of Formsolver and ORAMBRA, is “currently developing a tool (Formsolver) which will allow architects to easily optimize a building’s form and material use as little energy as necessary,” said Katz. Matthew Shaxted will also join the conversation. Parallel.Works, the firm he co-founded, gives AEC industry professionals access to the computing power necessary to perform many of the analyses described above. “Parallel.Works does not create new tools, as Formsolver does, but allows people to use existing tools in a more powerful way,” observed Katz. Thornton Tomasetti vice president Hauke Jungjohann is the third member of the panel. A specialist in parametric modeling, form optimization, and digital information transfer, Jungjohann leads the Facade Engineering practice for the firm’s East U.S. Region. Hear from Katz, d’Estrée Sterk, Shaxted, Jungjohann, and other leaders in the field of building envelope design and fabrication November 5-6 at Facades+ Chicago. Learn more and register today by visiting the Facades+ website.
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Eavesdrop> Blown Over in the Windy City

A juicy tidbit from the Chicago Architecture Biennial. The number of projects in the Chicago Cultural Center right now is a bit dizzying, but we can only imagine what the place was like during the installation. It is a small miracle that it all fit, let alone got assembled correctly. The process was not without snafus. Multiple sources reported to AN that in the final hours before the preview opening on October 1, the large circular construction by Spanish architects SelgasCano (of Serpentine fame) and helloeverything actually collapsed. Fortunately, it was sturdily put back together for the opening. The team recovered with an elegant tension cable design that worked quite well, and is to be commended under such a last-minute timeframe.
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Kissing Constructs: Barbara Kasten's surreal photography at the Chicago Architecture Biennial

Thursday night, Barbara Kasten’s first major retrospective opened at the Graham Foundation as an offsite event of the Chicago Architecture Biennial. Set in the Madlener house, a turn-of-the century Prairie-Style mansion, the exhibition brings together a roughly chronological overview of the artist’s practice from the 1970s until today. The works on display are of an astonishingly contemporary quality—many of the framed photographs follow the aesthetic paradigms of current net—or Tumblr art featuring primitive geometric shapes of varying surface texture lit in a rich palette of pastel colors forming surreal spatial compositions. Kasten started her career working with fibers, with some of the most impressive works in the show being a series of cyanotype prints from the 1970s achieved by laying down fiberglass molds onto large sheets coated with chemicals. The images evoke seemingly three-dimensional rippled fabric brought to the flat plane through a technical process. Moving further into the third dimension Kasten started to build large-scale studio sets in the 1970s. Her forms highly geometric at first, she increasingly started adding more specific elements such as column details from architectural catalogues. These photographs are highly reminiscent of much more recent images circulating on the internet produced with 3d modeling and rendering software. Many of the analogue processes used by Kasten in this phase of her work can be applied particularly well in the virtual domain. The backgrounds are simplistic and contained, there is no natural light or environment to complicate the render process, and the objects are geometric primitives or sourced from catalogues rather than created from scratch. Despite formal similarities a significant difference separates the ethereal digital spaces from Barbara Kasten meticulously constructed environments. As Kasten points out in a recent interview, weight and gravity play an important role in the construction of sculptures. The props used by Kasten are never mounted in place but rest on or adjacent to each other through gravity. By the 1980s Kasten moved on to incorporating existing buildings into her sets, transforming them through light, color, and mirrors to create compositional photographs. She first worked with corporate headquarters and financial centers and later turned to museums as different kind of spaces of authority. Depicting these composed, lasting, authoritative buildings with temporary, fragile, colorful and disorienting sensibility she produced what Sylvia Lavin coined a kiss, or a powerful statement through a gentle gesture. The images produced in this series act as records of an atmospheric transformation of a number of establishment-reinforcing spaces. On the third floor of the Madlener house the show culminates with a site specific installation. With moving light projections directed at sculptural forms it is like one of her photographic stages come to life. It is a beautiful experience yet also feels like an unmasking of a magicians trick—with the mechanism behind the photographs exposed, the stage-like installation loses some of the precision and specificity of the highly controlled still frames. The piece is most successful at illustrating the incredible breadth of Barbara Kasten’s work, blurring the boundaries between art, installation, and architecture—despite the fact that all the illusions are based on the limits of physical space.
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Matthew Johnson on the Reemergence of Craft in the Digital Age

For much of its early history, architecture was more than a pragmatic response to the problem of shelter. It was infused by craft. "Craft has existed in all kinds of industry, especially architecture, for a long time," said Simpson Gumpertz & Heger (SGH) principal Matthew Johnson. "But I feel it it lost its way in the twentieth century as we chased efficiency over quality." Until quite recently, in fact, Johnson felt that hope for a reunion of art and technics within architecture was dim. Then he had an epiphany. "It struck me that craft exists now, it's just in a completely different way than what I traditionally had thought," said Johnson. Where he previously defined craft as "a manual labor and artistic trade," Johnson saw that "craft has evolved into a computational trade, where you can create interest and detail computationally." Johnson, who is the "New Design" Practice Leader for SGH as well as Structural Engineering Head for the firm's Chicago office, will share his thoughts on the contemporary craft of building envelopes in a presentation at next month's Facades+ Chicago conference. Johnson was careful to stress that, for him, the new architectural craft is about more than just good-looking graphics: it extends to fabrication, for instance 3D printing. "There's a whole world of opportunity out there to create [at least] parts of building with an incredible level of detail and precision," said Johnson. "That doesn't mean we need to make things materially complex for complexity's sake. But there are often other needs to be met. We can start to be really creative in how we approach things." As an example, cited new techniques for designing and building in concrete. Constructing a concrete hyperboloid the old-fashioned way took a ton of time and effort, because the forms had to be put together on site, by hand. "Now all of a sudden we can build incredibly complex formwork, off site," said Johnson. "It's sort of like craft has reemerged in our profession. There's a skill set out there that allows this to happen." For Johnson, who will focus his talk, "Digital: Design-to-Fabrication Opportunities in Contemporary Facades," on SGH projects in the public realm, one of the most exciting developments has to do with the relative affordability of certain digital techniques. "For a museum, it's easy to be inventive," said Johnson. "They might have $1000 per square foot to build. What's interesting is where we see it in smaller projects, for example in K-12 schools. You can start to be inventive and inject craft into something that would otherwise be cost prohibitive." Hear from Johnson and other AEC industry leaders, and view the latest facade materials and systems at the Methods & Materials Gallery, at Facades+ Chicago November 5–6. View additional information and register online at the conference website.
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Performances rule the day at the Chicago Architecture Biennial

Performance has been the breakout surprise of the Chicago Architecture Biennial. While many of the works inside the Chicago Cultural Center grapple with issues of urbanism, politics, and the resonances of Modernism (especially Mies’ oversized presence in the city) in contemporary culture, the three performances included in the opening weekend program address and embody what is at stake. Views from Superpowers of Ten by Andrés Jaque and the Office for Political Innovation (andres_jaque, Instagram)Views from Superpowers of Ten by Andrés Jaque and the Office for Political Innovation (@andres_jaque, Instagram) Superpowers of Ten by Madrid/New York-based architect Andrés Jaque and his Office for Political Innovation, developed for and first performed at the Lisbon Architecture Triennial 2013, uses pop, oversized props and black-clad performers to restage of the Eames’ icon Powers of Ten. The original film was filmed on the banks of Lake Michigan, not far from the Chicago Athletic Club where it was performed. Jaque’s reworking expands the Eames narrative to our contemporary condition. The exponential zooming out from Earth and then back into the heart of the atom now includes critical questions of space junk, nuclear fallout, immigration, race, queerness, and transgender identity. In a gallery the unorthodox mix of para-architectural issues might seem ponderous, but told through pantomime, they resonate visually and emotionally. We Know How to Order, conceived by Bryony Roberts, and choreographed by Asher Waldron of the South Shore Drill Team powerfully superimposes the movement of African American bodies in space on top of the charged site of Federal Center by Mies van der Rohe. The South Shore Drill Team, hailing from one of the poorest neighborhoods in Chicago, trains young people to master the precise choreography. On the plaza, while the performers mimicked the lines of Mies’ architecture, which underscoring the conditions of universal space into the public realm, they also brought joy and dynamism to the windswept public space. Even stalwarts of the architecture community were moved to tap their feet and wipe their eyes. https://vimeo.com/141231941 Performed in Mies' super spare Carr Chapel on the IIT campus, Theatre by Mexican artist Santiago Borja brought a different kind of otherness to the Miesian space of worship. The performance was set with two specially-designed petate rugs, woven in Mexico, that represent esoteric geometries developed in Europe at the start of the modern movement. Made out of palm leaves, one rug sits on the floor and the other hangs above, demarking what is not so much a stage as an abstract spiritual space for Ingrid Everwijn, the lead teacher of the Eurythmeum CH in Dornach Switzerland. Dressed in pink and yellow dress, Everwijn performed eurythmy movements—a kind of “spiritual gymnastics” developed by Rudolf Steiner and Marie Sivers in early 20th Century. The result was mystical, irrational, and energetic, as well as an immersive experience that undermined the rigors of Miesian abstraction.