Posts tagged with "South Side":

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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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Bauer Latoza Studio and Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill tapped for Pullman National Monument Visitor Center

While the uncanny South Side Chicago neighborhood of Pullman may not look too different since it was named a National Monument in 2015, that is all about to change. The former “utopian” workers town will soon be home to the Pullman National Monument Visitor Center, and the designers for the project have just been announced. The National Park Service (NPS), the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency (IHPA), and Chicago Neighborhood Initiatives (CNI), announced this week that Chicago-based firms Bauer Latoza Studio and Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture (AS+GG) will act as the lead designers of the project. The new visitor center will be located within the long-vacant Clock Tower Building, which was once part of the Pullman train car factory on 111th street and Cottage Grove Avenue. Once the center of the 203-acre community and factory, the Clock Tower has been nearly destroyed multiple times by fire and neglect over the last few decades. Bauer Latoza Studio is recognized for historic restoration and will be leading the design of the Visitor Center. AS+GG will handle the site design for the project. Other consultants on the project include Site Design, SPACECO, Inc., DAI Environmental, and sustainability consultants CKL Engineers, LLC. “The NPS and the National Park Foundation, the project funder, are thrilled to be moving forward with plans for the adaptive reuse of the historic Clock Tower Building,” said Kathleen Schneider, the superintendent of Pullman National Monument, in a press release. “The Visitor Center, to be located in the first floor of the Clock Tower, will become the heartbeat of the community and primary entry point for many of our Pullman visitors. Once we have introduced the visitors to the nationally significant Pullman stories, we will encourage them to explore the community and visit the other important visitor destinations in the Monument, including the National A. Philip Randolph Pullman Porter Museum and the Historic Pullman Foundation Visitor Center.” The Pullman neighborhood was founded in 1880 by George Pullman for the workers and families of his luxury sleeping train car company. The entire complex, which was once an independent town, was designed by architect Solon Spencer Beman and landscape architect Nathan F. Barrett, two twenty-something designers. The company shut down in the 1960s and the neighborhood saw major drops in population and rise in crime. In recent years, the area has seen something of a resurgence with new retail and living-wage jobs. Whole Foods is in the process of building a large distribution center in the neighborhood, and a community center and live/work art space are also on their way. Nearly from the beginning, Pullman was also the center of worker’s rights conversations, as pointed out in President Barack Obama’s proclamation naming the site a national monument. “By 1937, the Pullman Company had been the Nation’s largest employer of African Americans for over 20 years and Pullman porters comprised 44 percent of the Pullman Company workforce. The 1937 Contract was the first major labor agreement between a union led by African Americans and a corporation and is considered one of the most important markers of the Reconstruction toward African American independence from racist paternalism.”
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Theaster Gates on his unique combination of art, architecture, and entrepreneurship

Chicago-based artist Theaster Gates appeared in the Architectural League of New York’s Current Work series on November 21, which was co-sponsored by the Parsons School of Constructed Environments, Parsons School of Design and The Irwin S. Chanin School of Architecture of The Cooper Union. A star in the art world, Gates crosses many boundaries and disciplines, holding two degrees in urban planning, as well as ones in religion and ceramics. Billie Tsien of Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architect introduced him by saying that his life resembled a fairy tale—he’s a reverse Snow White as the only boy of 8 children, mixed with a bit of Princess and the Pea. I would venture there’s also elements of Jack and the Beanstalk, along with shape-shifter qualities. Gates has been transforming the South Side of Chicago, his home town. But it’s taken him a while to get there. After studying at Iowa State University, then living in South Africa and Japan, he returned to Chicago in 1999. After trying to get his ceramics noticed by the art establishment while doing a day job at the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) commissioning public art, then working as an arts programmer at the University of Chicago (both of which he found frustrating and ineffective), he rebranded himself as a conceptual artist and began to find his voice. He started to make installations from demolition-site debris such as shoe shine stands and sell the resulting “objects.” While in school, he became aware of Samuel Mockbee’s Rural Studio at Auburn University. He was also impacted by what could be called its city version, Rick Lowe’s Project Row House in Houston, which cast urban renewal as an art installation. Gates looked at his Chicago neighborhood, which was suffering from unemployment, violence, abandoned buildings, and more, and began acquiring run-down buildings (at first with sub-prime loans) and turning them into cultural centers, rather than housing. Music, yoga, discussions, gospel singing, film screenings, cooking, and more, take place in these spaces. Gates has learned to turn obstacles into advantages and reframe an argument, and he now has the track record to forward his ideas and projects. He talks about “preconditions,” the ground rules required to make transformations for fusing art and architecture with activism. Success is measured by the impact on the local community. At the same time, Chicago is an architecturally aware city with shining examples from various periods. Gates has talked about viewing Frank Lloyd Wright buildings on his way to high school. On Monday night, he mused, “It’s hard not to think about Crown Hall,” the Mies van der Rohe architecture building at Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT), when you’re located in Chicago. When Gates showed a project he did at the OMA-designed Prada Foundation in Milan, he discussed working with this form of modernism, using the term almost as “orthodoxy.” Looking at the buildings that Gates has transformed, a modernist craft aesthetic is evident. His signature structures, under the rubric of his Rebuild Foundation, a not-for-profit engine intended to “rebuild the cultural foundation of underinvested neighborhoods,” are the Dorchester Projects—the Listening House, Black Cinema House, Archive House, and now Stony Island Arts Bank. These buildings are just blocks away from the upcoming Obama Presidential Library in Jackson Park, to be designed by Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects, giving an extra frisson to the evening. Close proximity has given new import and financial value to Gates’s structures, and though it makes him look like a clairvoyant developer (Jackson Park won out of a rival site), the trick may have been that Gates has stayed. With his notoriety and financial security, Gates could live anywhere in the city, but he is firmly installed in the Dorchester complex where he both lives and works. Gates has exported Chicago as well. At Documenta 13 in Kassel, Germany, he made a splash with the Huguenot House, an abandoned building transformed with detritus from the Dorchester buildings. The house was a continual work-in-progress over the course of the art fair by Gates and his 13 colleagues from Chicago, who lived in the house, constructed installations, performed, and conversed. Afterward, Gates combined elements from the building into objects that were sold for up to $120,000 each. Similarly, when Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel sold the 1923 Stony Island Avenue State Bank, an abandoned neoclassical structure slated for demolition, to Rebuild for $1.00 with the condition that he could raise money to renovate it, Gates took blocks of marble from the bathrooms and trim, embellished them with an acid-etched motto (“in ART we trust”), and his signature, and sold these art “bonds” at Art Basel for five thousand dollars each, raising half a million dollars. Gates now has a seat at the table. When he met with Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson of Gary, Indiana, only 20 miles from his South Side neighborhood, about a potential art project, he asked what she needed. She replied funds. Within six months, he raised $1.6 million from the Bloomberg and Knight foundations. This month, ArtHouse: A Social Kitchen, an arts and culinary incubator, with an art gallery and pop-up cafe that will also host business workshops to support local entrepreneurs, was launched. It exemplified Gates’s ability to connect and convene. And it highlights his recasting of what it means to be an entrepreneur, which he says is the only word we have for broaching the meeting of an unemployed person and an abandoned building. Which brings us back to his consideration of “preconditions” and the ability to transform. Billie Tsien also talked about opening up a fortune cookie for lunch that day, and reading “If you can’t decide to go up or down, go from side to side.” Theaster Gates exemplifies just that.
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Theaster Gates’s Rebuild Foundation launches training initiative and crafts auction

The Rebuild Foundation and its founder Theaster Gates have announced the launch of a new initiative to provide training for un- and under-employed people on the South Side of Chicago. Dorchester Industries will pair participants with Rebuild Foundation’s artists-in-residence and local tradespeople to learn new skills and create and sell art and design objects. As part of a benefit and auction for the Stony Island Arts Bank (SIAB), the programmatic center of Rebuild Foundation, Dorchester Industries’ first class of participants produced works to be sold. Under the guidance of Japanese ceramicist Koichi Ohara, the participants have produced wooden tables and Japanese-style ceramic dishware over the last month. Eight of the participants worked directly with Ohara to produce over 2,000 pieces, including soup bowls, tea bowls, and sake sets. Fifteen of these will be sold at the auction in sets packed in handcrafted boxes. Works by Theaster Gates, Anselm Kiefer, Eddie Peake, and Antony Gromley will also be part of the auction. The proceeds from the participant-produced work will go to the participants, while other money raised will go to the rebuild Foundation's exhibitions and community programs. Dorchester Industries was started as a carpentry program that sought to find sustainable uses of trees destroyed by emerald ash borer beetles in Chicago’s parks. Some of the wood from those trees was tooled into the tabletops which will be used at the auction. “It is unquestionably better to teach a person to do something than to do it for them, and that is the precept at the core of Dorchester Industries,” explained Theaster Gates. “By providing workforce training in highly employable crafts such as carpentry or pottery work, we support the people in our community in real and tangible ways while also fostering an engagement and appreciation for a variety of art forms.” The benefit and auction will also be a public preview of Glenn Licon’s A Small Band (2015) installation at the SIAB. The installation is comprised of neons spelling out “blues, bruise, and blood,” a reference to the “Harlem Six,” a group of young black men falsely accused and convicted of murder in the 1960s. Exhibitions and programming at the SIAB often “explore the representations of the black body in art.” An online portion of the benefit auction is now open through November 5th on Paddle8.
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Epic Chicago development along Lake Michigan stalls as partners split

As developer and property owner part ways, one of Chicago’s largest planned developments gets put on indefinite hold. The Lakeside development, planned for the former South Works United States Steel mill site in Chicago’s South Shore, was to be a $4 billion, 369-acre mixed-use development. Twelve years in the making, the projects was being developed through a partnership between Chicago-based developer McCaffery Interests and the land’s owner Pittsburgh-based United States Steel. Plans called for upwards of 13,000 residential units, over 17 million square feet of commercial space, 125 acres of public land, and a 1,500-slip marina. Situated in the formerly industrial area along the lake, tens of millions of dollars have already been invested in the project, including rerouting a public road. Though the Illinois Department of Transportation planned to reroute the road before McCaffery first presented the Skidmore Owings and Merrill (SOM) Master plan in 2004, when built, the $64 million improvement anticipated the development. The road includes parallel parking spots surfaced in permeable pavement, high-efficiency LED streetlights, and bike lanes. Both Illinois Governor Pat Quinn and Mayor Rahm Emanuel were on hand for the much anticipated ribbon cutting for that new road back in 2014. With no development, that road will continue to sit mostly empty. But now with the land's future in limbo, local 10th Ward Ald. Susan Sadlowski-Garza and McCaffery are hoping entice George Lucas to move the much embattled Lucas Museum of Narrative Arts to the site. Ald. Sadlowski-Garza and McCaffery also had lobbied to have the Obama Presidential Library located on the site. Though the project is stalled for the moment, even if it was to move forward, it would be a long time in the making. According to earlier press releases, the plan called for at least six phases and between 25–45 years to finish.
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JGMA wins Chicago Neighborhood Development Award, immediately donates prize money

As part of the 22nd annual Chicago Neighborhood Development Awards (CNDA), Chicago-based JGMA’s El Centro, along with projects from Chicago-based Landon Bone Baker and Gensler, were awarded Richard H. Driehaus Foundation Awards for Excellence in Community Design. Finished in late 2014, El Centro is a 56,000 square foot satellite campus for Northeastern Illinois University, located along I-90/I-94 on the north side of Chicago. JGMA lead Juan Moreno describes the buildings trademark yellow and blue fins as building promotional, psychological, and sustainable. Promotionally, they function as a billboard for the school. Psychologically, they are a point of pride for the student body. And sustainably, they are a one of the buildings sustainability systems as sunshades, along with solar panels and the darkly tinted glass. El Centro was also awarded an AIA Chicago Distinguished Building Honor Award, and the 2015 Chicago Building Congress Award. Juan Moreno’s commitment to the school goes beyond designing their building though. During moving his acceptance speech, Moreno brought the 1500 person crowd to their feet, and many to tears, as he explained his plan for the award money. Addressing Richard Driehaus, “Four years ago I was on this stage for the first time. It was in my firm’s second year of existence, and what you don’t realize Mr. Driehaus is, that in your celebration of architecture, that award money that we received kept our lights on.” Moreno continued, “I’m very much interested in paying it forward. I’d like to announce that the money we receive for this award is going straight to NEIU El Centro to start a scholarship.” Moreno went on to explain the scholarship, which would be in the name of his Colombian immigrant mother, would be used to help minority students, the majority of El Centro’s students, to travel the world. After Moreno left the stage, Richard Driehaus returned to the mic to announce that he would match Moreno’s gift to the school. Landon Bone Baker and Gensler projects were also honored with the 2nd and 3rd place awards. Landon Bone Baker’s South Side Dorchester Art + Housing Collaborative was commissioned by Chicago artist and community advocate Theaster Gates. Original a series of separate buildings owned by the Chicago Housing Authority, the donated property now includes market-rate apartments for artist, public housing units, and reduced-rent units for limited income families, and community spaces for dance and music. Gensler’s Town Hall Apartments reuse a former Chicago Police station for affordable senior housing for the LGBT community. The Richard H. Driehaus Foundation Awards for Excellence in Community Design is one of eight other awards given out at the CNDAs, which is organized by the Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC ) Chicago. The CNDAs honor architects, developers, neighborhood advocates and business leaders who work to improve the city’s neighborhoods through restate development. Aside from the Driehaus Design award, other awards are given out for community planning, non-profit real estate projects, affordable rental housing preservation, for-profit real estate projects, and community development organizations. Winners in these other categories included the Salvation Army Ray & Joan Kroc Corps Community Center, the Oakley Square affordable housing, and the Method Products’ South Side Soapbox. The Method Products’ South Side Soapbox, a LEED Platinum soap factory which, as Mayor Rahm Emanuel stated in the ceremony’s closing remarks, “ is the first factory to be built on the South Side in 30 years.” The brightly adorned factory derives 50 percent of its energy from solar and wind, and includes the largest rooftop greenhouse in the world. Located near the historic Pullman neighborhood, the project has been touted as a symbol of the rehabilitation of the area, which has been economically depressed since the Pullman Palace Car Company ceased operation in the 1960s.
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HUD Secretary Julian Castro touts new planning rules for affordable housing

U.S. Housing & Urban Development Secretary Julian Castro visited Chicago today to announce a clarification to the 1968 Fair Housing Act that officials say will improve access to affordable housing in cities across the country. HUD finalized a bureaucratic rule that Castro says will correct shortcomings in the federal agency's provision of fair housing. The 1968 law, part of the Civil Rights bill, obligates HUD and its local affiliates to “affirmatively further fair housing,” a lofty goal that “has not been as effective as originally envisioned,” according to the new HUD rule. "This represents a new partnership with cities,” said Secretary Castro, a former mayor of San Antonio, Texas. Standing in front of Chicago's newly expanded Park Boulevard—the mixed-income housing development was formerly Stateway Gardens, part of the corridor of South Side housing projects that included Robert Taylor Homes—Castro said the new rule will make publicly available data and mapping tools to help community members and local leaders establish local goals for the development fair housing. He added that Chicago had already used the newly available data for a preliminary exercise linking affordable housing and transit planning. The change also allows local housing agencies more time and flexibility in presenting their fair housing priorities and goals to the federal government. Castro referenced a recent Harvard study that found kids from low-income neighborhoods were statistically less likely than their wealthier counterparts to achieve upward mobility. "A zip code should never prevent anyone from reaching their greater aspirations,” said Castro.
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It’s official: Barack Obama’s Presidential Library is coming to Chicago’s South Side

Although the decision had already been widely reported by May 1, Barack Obama‘s nonprofit foundation today announced that the 44th President's library will be built on the South Side of Chicago. "With a library and a foundation on the South Side of Chicago, not only will we be able to encourage and effect change locally, but what we can also do is attract the world to Chicago," said the President on the occasion. The official decision ends perhaps years of speculation about the location of the former University of Chicago law professor's legacy project. But it officially begins speculation on who will be the library's architect, and what the ultimate design will bring to the president's longtime home.
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Read all about it: Obama Presidential Library reportedly headed for Chicago

The Associated Press has reported that Barack Obama's presidential library will be in his adopted hometown of Chicago. After months of speculation that the 44th President of the United States might site his legacy project in New York City—where he attended Columbia University—or his birth city of Honolulu, Hawaii, multiple unnamed sources cited by the AP and other publications say Obama and his nonprofit foundation have settled on Chicago, where he forged his political career. The University of Chicago, where Obama taught law, will host the library and museum. No architect has yet been named. The project is expected to cost hundreds of millions of dollars to build, likely spurring more development on Chicago's South Side. As the city from which Obama was first elected to public office and in 2008 first addressed the nation as its first African-American president-elect, Chicago was seen by many as an obvious choice. But in the long lead-up to the decision—made longer by the protracted race for Chicago mayor, which saw former Obama Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel spend millions of dollars to fend off an unexpected political challenger from the left—sources close to the president's foundation had raised concerns about the proposals from several universities around the city. The University of Chicago's winning bid benefitted from having friends in high places. Emanuel led the charge in Chicago City Council to cede public park land to the private library project, successfully lobbying for the same assurance from the state legislature. That move remains controversial, however, and the design team selected to realize the president's legacy of public service will have to contend with opposition from open space advocates in Obama's own backyard.
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Obama Library proposal calls for an enormous park over Chicago’s Eisenhower Expressway

A lush green park reaching over the Eisenhower Expressway. Bus rapid transit connections. Economic invigoration for the North Lawndale neighborhood. Those are some of the visions outlined in the University of Illinois Chicago's proposal for the Barack Obama Presidential Library, made public Monday. AECOM, Isaiah International and Morphosis consulted on the proposal, which splits its ambitious plans for the nation's 14th presidential library across two sites: a vacant 23-acre city-owned site in North Lawndale and an institute on UIC's Near West Side campus. The Lawndale plot is bound by Roosevelt Road and Kostner, Kildare, and Fifth avenues. Among the benefits the authors say their proposal will bring to the community—predominantly Black, with nearly half of residents below the poverty line—are a linear park and bikeway, as well as commercial development in the surrounding area. UIC's 85-page proposal invokes a history of progressive politics and urban planning in Chicago, from Daniel Burnham and Jane Addams to Walter Netsch and the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. The plan calls for establishing a social service center named the O-4 Institute (the O's stand for “one world, opportunity, optimism and outreach) on UIC's existing campus, which would serve as a hub for academic research, fellowships and activities for university students and community members alike. In a video outlining the proposal, UIC positions its plan as a continuation of Obama's social service, which began when he worked as a community organizer on Chicago's South Side. “UIC offers an expansive plan that prioritizes social and economic equity. This is a rare and extraordinary opportunity: a presidential library and museum reimagined, to not only celebrate history but to make it; to preserve Barack Obama’s legacy and expand it,” reads text accompanying the proposal video. UIC's proposal is up against plans from Columbia University and Hawaii University. Closer to home it's competing with the University of Chicago. UIC's hometown rival, where Obama taught law, submitted plans for three possible sites in and around South Side parks. You can download the full proposal here.
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Inaugural Chicago architecture biennial has a name, and a show by Iwan Baan

Mayor Rahm Emanuel's announcement that Chicago would launch an international festival of art and architecture—its own take on the famous Venice biennale—drew jeers and cheers from the design community both near and far from The Second City. AN called for the show aspiring to be North America's largest architectural exhibition to go beyond tourism bromides. Now the upstart expo has a name, as well as its first show. The inaugural Chicago architecture biennial will begin in October 2015, and will be called “The State of the Art of Architecture,” in reference to the controversial conference organized in 1977 by architect Stanley Tigerman. Tigerman's show celebrated the postmodern rejection of Chicago's old masters like Mies van der Rohe, forging the position of architectural protest group The Chicago Seven. A press release from the organizing committee alludes to the upcoming exhibition's wide scope:
More than a profession or a repertoire of built artifacts, architecture is a dynamic cultural practice that manifests at different scales and through various media: buildings and cities, but also art, performance, film, landscape and new technologies. It permeates fundamental registers of everyday life—from housing to education, from environmental awareness to economic growth, from local communities to global networks.
The biennial's first commission was announced Wednesday by co-directors Joseph Grima—a former curator of the Storefront for Art and Architecture, and director of the Ideas City platform of the New Museum—and Sarah Herda, director of the Graham Foundation and AN editorial advisor. Renowned photographer Iwan Baan will contribute an original photo essay about Chicago featuring aerial shots taken at sunrise. The work will “capture the city during a moment of its daily routine,” according to the press release. “Like the Biennial itself, Baan’s expansive photographs interpret Chicago as a realm of architectural possibility, past and future.” The free festival's home base will be the Chicago Cultural Center, but organizers say it won't be restricted to downtown. “Using the city as a canvas, installations will be created in Millennium Park and other Chicago neighborhoods, including new projects and public programs developed by renowned artist Theaster Gates on Chicago’s south side,” reads a press release. “The Biennial will also feature collateral exhibitions and events with partner institutions throughout the city, and will offer educational programming for local and international students.” Tigerman, whose 1977 exhibition is the inspiration for the 2015 show's title, sits on the biennial's International Advisory Committee, which also includes architects David Adjaye, Elizabeth Diller, Jeanne Gang, and Frank Gehry, along with critic Sylvia Lavin, Lord Peter Palumbo and Hans Ulrich Obrist. Ty Tabing, former executive director of the Chicago Loop Alliance and founder of Singapore River One, will serve as the biennial's executive director. Oil giant BP has agreed to donate $2.5 million for the show, but Mayor Emanuel is reportedly seeking $1.5 million more.
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Chicago’s ‘Green Healthy Neighborhoods’ plan moves forward

Chicago’s plan to revitalize troubled South Side neighborhoods with green infrastructure, urban farming and transit-friendly development is moving ahead. The city’s Plan Commission heard a presentation last week on the Green Healthy Neighborhoods program, which in 2011 announced its attention to lure investment to the Englewood, Woodlawn and Washington Park neighborhoods (read AN’s coverage here). While the urban agriculture component initially grabbed headlines—renderings show an old rail line repurposed as the “New Era Trail,” which would link urban farms and community gardens with a park-like promenade—the wide-ranging proposals also include developing retail clusters around transit nodes and street improvements for bikers and pedestrians. Funding is still up in the air, but the project will seek financing through the department of Housing and Urban Development’s Sustainable Communities Initiative. You can see the full plan here.