Chicago’s School of the Art Institute taps Jonathan Solomon as head of architecture

Jonathan D. Solomon. (Courtesy Solomon)

Jonathan D. Solomon. (Courtesy Solomon)

Chicago’s top art school announced big changes in its design department this morning.

The School of the Art Institute of Chicago Thursday announced their selection of Jonathan Solomon as the new Director of the Department of Architecture, Interior Architecture, and Designed Objects (AIADO). Solomon, who comes from his position as associate professor and associate dean at the School of Architecture at Syracuse University, assumes the job officially on August 1.

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Glass Coating Cracks At Willis Tower’s 103rd Floor Observation Deck

The cracked platform. (Alejandro Garibay via NBC 5 Chicago)

The cracked platform. (Alejandro Garibay via NBC 5 Chicago)

At first glance, the glass-observation boxes that jut out of the Willis Tower’s 103rd floor don’t look all that safe—and that is exactly the point. The SOM-designed attraction, known as the Ledge, opened in 2009 and offers “thrill seekers,” “death defiers,” and “people who can wait in  a really long line” the chance to step outside of the iconic skyscraper and look straight down at the streets of Chicago, 1,353-feet below. The floor of the suspended structure is comprised of 1.5-inch laminated glass panels, which can hold 10,000 pounds and withstand four tons of pressure. So, the danger is all imagined, right? Well, it certainly didn’t feel that way for a California family who visited last night.

COntinue reading after the jump.

Permanent Vacation, Anyone? Illinois & Connecticut Residents Would Prefer a Move

Eavesdroplet, Midwest, National
Wednesday, May 28, 2014
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gallup-moving-poll

Gallup pollsters recently asked Americans if they had the opportunity to move, “would you like to move to another state, or would you rather remain in your current state?” Well, Illinois and Connecticut earned the dubious distinction of having the nation’s most restless residents. About half of the surveyed residents in Illinois wanted to bounce, but don’t expect an influx of moving boxes. We’ll probably just ride it out and complain. Case in point: another Gallup poll found 25 percent of Illinoisans surveyed said their state is “the worst possible place to live in”—second only in self-loathing to Rhode Island.

Chicago Plan Commission Approves New Skate Park for Grant Park

(Chicago Park District)

(Chicago Park District)

This month, Chicago’s Plan Commission approved plans for a new skatepark at the south end of Grant Park. Plans were released last fall, showing curvy paved pathways and sculptural landscape features courtesy of the Chicago Park District and North Center urban design studio Altamanu. Read More

St. Louis Exhibition Explores Street Design in Grand Center Arts District

(Great Streets Project: Grand Center)

(Great Streets Project: Grand Center)

St. Louis’ Grand Center neighborhood has gone through a lot of changes. Though it was hit hard by suburban flight during the 1950s, in recent years the historic and predominantly African-American community area has enjoyed an artistic revival bolstered by theaters and cultural institutions like the Pulitzer Foundation for the Arts.

Now a confluence of development corporations and nonprofits want the midtown neighborhood “to become the premiere cultural and entertainment tourist destination in the Midwest.” Read More

Inaugural Mies Crown Hall Americas Prize goes to cliffside cube in Chile

Poli House, Chile (Cristobal Palma)

Poli House, Chile (Cristobal Palma)

After traveling all over the Western Hemisphere to inspect built work by emerging architects from Canada to Chile, a team of judges awarded the first-ever Mies Crown Hall Americas Prize on Tuesday, bestowing $25,000 and an offer to teach at the Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT) on Mauricio Pezo and Sofia Von Ellrichshausen for their poetic Poli House, perched above the Pacific Ocean on a cliff in Tomé, Chile.

Continue reading after the jump.

On View> Chicago’s Graham Foundation Presents “Everything Loose Will Land”

Midwest, On View
Thursday, May 22, 2014
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L.A. Fine Arts Squad (Victor Henderson, Terry Schoonhoven), "Isle of California," 1971. (Joshua White)

L.A. Fine Arts Squad (Victor Henderson, Terry Schoonhoven), “Isle of California,” 1971. (Joshua White)

Everything Loose Will Land
Graham Foundation
4 West Burton Place, Chicago
Through July 26

Everything Loose Will Land explores the intersection of art and architecture in Los Angeles during the 1970s. The show’s title refers to a Frank Lloyd Wright quote that if you “tip the world over on its side and everything loose will land in Los Angeles.” This freeness alludes to the fact that this dislodging did not lead to chaos but rather a multidisciplinary artistic community that redefined LA.

Continue reading after the jump.

LMN Architects Materialize a Metaphor in Cleveland

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Wrapped in textured precast concrete, LMN Architects' Global Center for Health Innovation is a high-tech addition to Cleveland's civic core. (Ed LaCasse, LaCasse Photography)

Wrapped in textured precast concrete, LMN Architects’ Global Center for Health Innovation is a high-tech addition to Cleveland’s civic core. (Ed LaCasse, LaCasse Photography)

A digitally-designed medical products showroom plays well with its City Beautiful neighbors.

The Global Center for Health Innovation, designed by LMN Architects along with the attached Cleveland Convention Center, is more than a showroom for medical products and services. Located adjacent to the Burnham Malls, the open space at the heart of Daniel Burnham’s Group Plan of 1903, the building is part of Cleveland’s civic core. “One of the things about the Global Center is that it has a unique expression and in particular the facade treatment,” said design partner Mark Reddington. “But it’s also a really integrated piece of a bigger idea and a bigger composition.” A dynamic combination of textured concrete panels and irregular slashes of glazing, the Global Center’s facade, which won honorable mention in AN’s 2014 Best of Design Awards, deftly negotiates the gap between the building’s historic context and its function as a high-tech marketplace. Read More

Shields back on Milwaukee Art Museum overhaul, new designs unveiled

01-milwaukee-art-museum02-milwaukee-art-museum

 

The Milwaukee Art Museum revamp’s previous design and current iteration. (Courtesy HGA Architects & Engineers)

The Milwaukee Art Museum’s long-planned expansion and renovation has become somewhat of a saga.

Plans for a new addition with an entrance along Lake Michigan were announced in 2012, but hit a snag when HGA Architects and Engineers’ Jim Shields walked off the job in February. In April Urban Milwaukee first broke news that Shields, somewhat of a local design celebrity, had left the project amid quibbling over the design. Read More

Small Projects Awards honor big things in small packages

Woodland Dune Home (Steve Hall, Hedrich Blessing)

Woodland Dune Home (Steve Hall, Hedrich Blessing)

Big projects command the most media attention, but small works of art and architecture can still make a splash. That’s the ethos of AIA Chicago’s fourth annual Small Projects Awards, which last week named 13 honorees among 96 entries that included Chinatown’s new boathouse, a barn-like complement to Mies van der Rohe’s Farnsworth house, and an un-built “Safe House” for tornado-ravaged Joplin, Missouri. Read More

Bittertang Farms sculpts hay into a North Shore theater for 102nd Ragdale Ring competition

The 2014 Ragdale Ring Design is scheduled for a public unveiling on June 14. (The Bittertang Farm)

The 2014 Ragdale Ring Design is scheduled for a public unveiling on June 14. (Courtesy Bittertang Farm)

Studio Gang’s treehouse revamp of Writers Theatre isn’t the only North Shore performance space to dance with organic forms. Designers Michael Loverich and Antonio Torres of The Bittertang Farm won $15,000 to install a temporary stage for performances in Lake Forest, where renderings show sculpted piles of hay and wavy architectural forms that “melt into the existing landscape.”

Continue reading after the jump.

Millennium Park Turns Ten! Here Are Ten Amazing Photos of Chicago’s Jewel Through the Years

(Katie Spence / Flickr)

(Katie Spence / Flickr)

Happy birthday, Millennium Park! Yes, the Chicago park named for the chronological milestone now 14 years in the rearview mirror is turning 10—it went famously over-schedule and over-budget but we love it nonetheless. Last year 4.75 million people visited Chicago’s front yard, taking in free concerts and events, and probably taking at least as many selfies with Anish Kapoor’s Cloud Gate and the flowing titanium locks of Frank Gehry‘s Pritzker Pavilion in the background.

In honor of the anniversary, the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events is kicking off a series of shows and exhibitions that includes new work from Crown Fountain designer Jaume Plensa. Hey, Jaume! Email us if you need another face for your 40-foot LED projection!

Here at AN, we’re celebrating with ten of our favorite photographs of the park taken over the past decade and more. Take a look below.

Ten amazing photos of Millennium Park after the jump!

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