Detroit “Reanimate the Ruins” Ideas Competition Tackles Historic Packard Automotive Plant

1st-Place-2

The competition winning proposal, Cross the Plant, by Vincent Lavergne.

In 2009, vandals pushed a dump truck through a hole in the wall on the fourth story of the abandoned Packard Automotive Plant in Detroit. (Of course there’s a video.) It’s a level of dereliction and decay that’s frankly common to North America’s foremost basket-case city, but it’s made a bit more poignant by the fact that the plant (built in 1907 and closed in the late ’90s) was once an icon of Detroit’s command over automotive technology and the automotive industry. The 3.5-million-square-foot facility was designed by Albert Kahn to produce luxury cars, and was the first of its type to use a reinforced concrete structure.

But now it’s time for some more creative thinking about how to use the Packard site.

This Weekend> Giant rainbows and iridescent pools light up Cleveland

Art, Lighting, Midwest, News, On View
Friday, August 8, 2014
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Jen Lewin's "The Pool" (Jen Lewin Studio)

Jen Lewin’s “The Pool” (Jen Lewin Studio)

Through Saturday night, a public art project by LAND studio is turning Cleveland’s downtown malls into canvases for light displays including sweeping rainbows, iridescent discs, and high-definition projections. “Light Up Cleveland!” runs August 7–9 and is sponsored by a slew of companies and nonprofits. You can see a map and full schedule of events on ahacle.com.

Continue reading after the jump.

Eavesdrop> Sign of the Times: Reflecting on Chicago Summer-Long Trump Tower Saga

Chicago's Trump Tower and its notorious sign. (edward stojakovic / Flickr)

Chicago’s Trump Tower and its notorious sign. (edward stojakovic / Flickr)

Mr. Donald Trump has bestowed upon fair Chicago an ode to his own self-worth, spurring an architectural debate that’s pulled in Mayor Rahm Emanuel, Jon Stewart, and plenty more. Grab a bag of popcorn and we’ll catch you up.

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On View> Chicagoisms at the Art Institute of Chicago

Architecture, Art, Design, Midwest, On View
Thursday, August 7, 2014
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(Courtesy Art Institute of Chicago)

(Courtesy Art Institute of Chicago)

Chicagoisms
Art Institute of Chicago
111 South Michigan Avenue, Chicago, Ilinois
Through January 4, 2015

Chicagoisms is an ongoing exhibition at the Art Institute of Chicago that focuses on key historical principles—“Chicagoisms”—that went into creating and shaping the city that we know today. The exhibition was put together by architectural theorist Alexander Eisenschmidt and art historian Jonathan Mekinda working with designer Matt Wizinsky.

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10,000 sunflowers help rehab a vacant lot in St. Louis

As part of Washington University's Land Lab program, a vacant lot in St. Louis was made into a sunflower field. (Richard Reilly)

As part of Washington University’s Land Lab program, a vacant lot in St. Louis was made into a sunflower field. (Richard Reilly)

On a long-abandoned lot in St. Louis’ near north side, 10,000 sunflowers are sucking up the heavy metals that have helped stall development there for “longer than neighbors care to remember,” reported the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

The project is called Sunflower+. It’s one of the winners of St. Louis’ inaugural “Sustainable Land Lab” competition, which was organized by Washington University in St. Louis and city officials. Over the next two years, the design team will cultivate and harvest four rotations of summer sunflowers and winter wheat on the vacant lot, hopefully preparing it for redevelopment in the future.

Continue reading after the jump.

Mortgage fraud money to remake historic homes in Chicago’s Pullman area

THE 12000 BLOCK OF SOUTH CHAMPLAIN AVENUE AND THE 11200 BLOCK OF SOUTH FORESTVILLE AVENUE FEATURE SOME OF PULLMAN'S HISTORIC HOMES AND HOTELS. (HPF / ROBERT SHYMANSKI)

(HPF / ROBERT SHYMANSKI)

Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan announced Tuesday $1.9 million—most of which comes from the state’s portion of a federal settlement with banks over mortgage fraud—will go to rehab historic homes in Chicago’s Pullman neighborhood. Read More

Bittertang Farms’ organic amphitheater sprouts from straw in Lake Forest, Illinois

Buru Buru amphitheatre at the Ragdale Ring in Lake Forest, Illinois. (Bittertang Farms)

Buru Buru amphitheatre at the Ragdale Ring in Lake Forest, Illinois. (Bittertang Farms)

Work wrapped up this summer on Bittertang Farms’ installation at Ragdale, the nonprofit artists’ community in Chicago’s North Shore suburbs, and true to its plans the straw amphitheater springs forth from a lush hillside in Lake Forest, Illinois.

Continue reading after the jump.

AIA Chicago lauds John Vinci with lifetime achievement award

The Illinois State Capitol's west wing, restored by John Vinci's firm. (Tom Rossiter, courtesy Vinci Hamp Architects)

The Illinois State Capitol’s west wing, restored by John Vinci’s firm. (Tom Rossiter, courtesy Vinci Hamp Architects)

Chicago architect John Vinci will receive this year’s lifetime achievement award from the AIA Chicago, the local chapter announced in June. Vinci’s work includes preservation activism—he helped reconstruct Louis Sullivan’s Chicago Stock Exchange Trading Room inside the Art Institute of Chicago—and original designs like the Arts Club of Chicago and the National Italian American Sports Hall of Fame. He is a principal of the design firm Vinci Hamp Architects. Read More

Cranbrook picks Christopher Scoates to replace Reed Kroloff

Eliel Saarinen, Cranbook Academy of Arts, Bloomfield Hills, MI, 1978, photograph by Balthazar Korab. (Courtesy Estate of Balthazar Korab)

Eliel Saarinen, Cranbook Academy of Arts, Bloomfield Hills, MI, 1978, photograph by Balthazar Korab. (Courtesy Estate of Balthazar Korab)

More than one year after Reed Kroloff announced he would leave his post as director of Michigan’s Cranbrook Academy of Art, the illustrious arts campus and museum has plucked an art museum director from the West Coast to fill his shoes.

Continue reading after the jump.

MAD Architects, Studio Gang, VOA to design Chicago’s George Lucas Museum

The lakefront site, outlined in white, proposed for Chicago's George Lucas Museum of Narrative Art. (Courtesy City of Chicago from Lucas Museum task force report)

The lakefront site, outlined in white, proposed for Chicago’s George Lucas Museum of Narrative Art. (Courtesy City of Chicago from Lucas Museum task force report)

MAD Architects, the Chinese designers known for their organically curving buildings from Inner Mongolia to Canada, will work with two local firms—including Studio Gang Architects—to bring filmmaker George Lucas’ new Chicago museum to life. Read More

Letter to the Editor> Motor City Mouthful

Detroit's Michigan Central Station. (Juan N Only / Flickr)

Detroit’s Michigan Central Station. (Juan N Only / Flickr)

[Editor's Note: The following comment was left on archpaper.com in response to the editorial “Motoring Toward Destruction?” (AN 08_06.05.2014), which parsed the wisdom of Detroit’s blight removal program.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. ]

I’m failing to find a thesis in here, other than wholesale demolition = bad, which is something we’re well aware of. Other considerations that weren’t even mentioned in this are aspects of public safety (arson and the use of dilapidated structures in which to commit crimes, peddle drugs, etc.) and the question of revenue (clearing blighted structures for redevelopment). The article even mentions that of the 80,000 blighted structures, we’re attempting to save more than half.

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Deborah Berke, SHoP, Tod Williams Billie Tsien to compete for new Cummins’ Indianapolis headquarters

(Jay Denney via Flickr)

(Jay Denney via Flickr)

Engine manufacturer Cummins Corporation announced plans for a new regional headquarters in Indianapolis Monday, but the Columbus, Indiana–based Fortune 500 company won’t look to local design talent to lead the project. Instead, three of the country’s leading names—all based in New York City—will compete for the project.

Continue reading after the jump.

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