The Rockefeller Foundation has announced that four cities will receive a combined $1.2 million in grants to foster research, communications, and community outreach efforts in an endeavor to educate local stakeholders about the advantages of Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) systems. The Foundationâ€™s solution to â€œTransform Citiesâ€ and promote fiscal growth and quality of life proposes better mass transit investments. Boston, Chicago, Nashville, and Pittsburgh will participate in the project.
Chicagoâ€™s bike share program will kick off in June when the city debuts hundreds of light blue, three-speed bicycles that can be rented for an hourly fee or with a yearly $75 membership.
Managed by Portland, ORâ€“based Alta Bicycle Share, which also runs New York and DCâ€™s bike share, Chicagoâ€™s program goes by the name â€œDivvy.â€ Alta was supposed to launch the $22 million program last summer, and has since become the subject of controversy. Chicago Transportation Commissioner Gabe Klein was formerly a consultant for the company, and competitors have alleged foul play, which Alta and the city have flatly denied.
The first of Divvyâ€™s 75 solar-powered docking stations will be downtown and in River North. Within a year the cityâ€™s plan is to roll out 400 stations and about 4,000 bicycles across the city.
Above:Â Before & After: Ashland Avenue at Polk. (Courtesy Chicago Transit Authority)
Chicago officials released details Friday about a much-anticipated project to roll out bus rapid transit along Ashland Avenue, a major arterial street that runs north-south a bit more than a mile and half west of downtown. Previous plans from the city included a route on Western Avenue as well, but a statement from the Chicago Transit Authority and the Chicago Department of Transportation revealed only plans for Ashland.
International Property Developers (IPD) has renewed plans for massive developments around Chicagoâ€™s Old Main Post Office. IPD bought the structure in 2009 for $40 million and has been working with Chicago-based architects Antunovich Associates on a plan to surround the massive building, which has almost as much interior space as Willis Tower, with three new towers.
Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago
220 East Chicago Avenue
Through June 18
Jason Lazarusâ€™ exhibition at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago centers around three pieces. The first, Untitled (2013), is a performance piece featuring a classical pianoÂ student playing Frederic Chopinâ€™s Nocturne in F minor,Â mistakes and all. Phase 1/Live Archive (2011-present) isÂ a collection of Occupy Wall Street signs, remade by both Lazarus and the public and based on images from print and online sources. The final piece is a project that explores the thin line between public and private sectors through media generated photography. In employing found photographsÂ he also comments on ways archives are used and on their relationship to history. Lazarus, a Chicago-based artist,Â is best known as a photographer, though he is also deeply invested in the art of sign making, both physically andÂ symbolically. He has recently expanded his artistic practice into art collector, archivist, and curator.
Work took place in March to replace a portion of Chicago’s Wells Street bridgeâ€”â€œthe engineering equivalentÂ of a heart transplant,â€ in the words of the Tribuneâ€™s Cynthia Dizikes. Work crewsÂ replaced a portion of the 91-year old double-decker bascule bridge during just two nine-day periods (a similar replacement in 1996 took almost a year). InconvenienceÂ or not, seeing a 500,000-pound hunk of metal floating into downtown Chicago atopÂ a barge makes one feel like a witness to latter-day Carl Sandburg paeans: â€œHere is a tall bold slugger set vivid against the little soft cities.â€
It might bode well for the burgeoning BRT movement in Chicago, then, that the Chicago Architecture Foundation and Chicago Architectural Club have launched a bus rapid transit station design competition. Dubbed â€œNEXT STOP,â€ the station design contest will be the subject of the 2013 Burnham Prize Competition.
Submit designs for three stations (downtown, near State and Madison; Bucktown-Logan Square at Western Avenue Blue Line â€˜Lâ€™ Stop; Pilsen near 18thÂ and Ashland) by noon May 13.
American Standard Movement
Smart Museum of Art
University of Chicago
5550 South Greenwood Avenue, Chicago
Through October 6
Valerie Snobeck reuses left over construction materials fromÂ a project on the University of Chicago campus in her exhibitionÂ American Standard Movement, which is showing at the Smart Museum of Artâ€™s courtyard. In doing so, her work presents questions of art, materiality, temporality, andÂ significance. The exhibition displays a net tacked up against a wall and adorned with markings derived from repair toolsÂ that measure the small inner parts of watches. The functionÂ of netting is twofold: to catch the constructionâ€™s falling dustÂ and debris and to serve as a visible indicator of the constructionÂ site and its parameters. Netting acts as a temporary stand-in for a wall during construction, but, due to its malleable natureÂ and woven fabric, is physically unlike a wall. Snobeckâ€™s net is not being used in its typical function, but is not necessarily functionless. She asks viewers to consider what is behind netting and what is being built or rebuilt. American Standard Movement proposes a connection between the body and space measured in parts. The piece questions efforts to dictate the future in physical and speculative ways.
To celebrate its perennial master of modernism, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, the Illinois Institute of Technology produced a video showcasing his work and influence in Chicago. Take a few minutes on the 75th anniversary of Mies’ arrival in the Windy City to watch it.
The slow and tortured demise of Chicago’s Prentice Women’s Hospital now has an official stamp: according to the Chicago Tribune, Northwestern University was issued a demolition permit for the Bertrand Goldberg cloverleaf last Friday. Wrecking crews will be on site in a few weeks after asbestos abatement wraps up, and there are sure to be protesters around the construction fence.
Of course, as seems all too common, the city is also busy readying soldiers for the next preservation battle. The 1957 Edo Belli-designed Cuneo Memorial Hospital is targeted for demolition, but Uptown residents have reached out to Preservation Chicago for support seeking landmark status. The group listed the building on its 2012 list of seven most-threatened structures in the city. Add this to what happened toÂ Prentice and it isnâ€™t a good year to be a midcentury modernist hospital in Chicago.
Beeby is one of the â€œChicago Sevenâ€ (Stanley Tigerman, Larry Booth, Stuart Cohen, Ben Weese, James Ingo Freed, and James L. Nagle round out the group) who split with modernism in one of its key proving grounds during the 1970s. His postmodern historicism relies on representational imagery and ornamentation, which won him high praise from the committee that awards the top prize for traditional and classical architecture.
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Tietz-Baccon fabricated a 7-foot by 23-foot freestanding wall, and a 10-foot by 160-foot decorative wall for Enova’s Chicago offices.
As more and more companies embrace open workspaces that support collaborative and impromptu group work, acoustics are of utmost importance to employee productivity. To craft sound-absorbing feature walls for the Chicago offices of financial firm Enova, Brininstool + Lynch turned to fabrication studio Tietz-Baccon.Â Their six-person facility in Long Island City, New York, makes bespoke solutions for a variety of design-minded clients who appreciateâ€”and ultimately benefit fromâ€”the founders’ architectural background: Erik Tietz and Andrew Baccon met as students at Harvard’s Graduate School of Design.
“On the fabrication end, we take nonstandard projects and make them achievable by relying heavily on our digital capabilities,” Baccon said. “Brininstool + Lynch had a concept that was worked out very well and was looking for someone who could execute on a tight budget in a short period of time.” According to Baccon, the architects came to the fabricators with a family of shapes and a way of aggregating them, which was then applied to different materials, helping Tietz-Baccon deliver finished projects very close to the firm’s original requests. “There was good collaborative discussion, and a back-and-forth to tweak and bring the concept to realization. They didn’t have to compromise their idea that much.”