Chicago’s big building owners embrace the smart grid

Chicago is one of 10 cities targeted by philanthropies for energy efficiency savings. (josh*m via flickr)

Large downtown buildings make up a disproportionate share of the built environment’s energy usage. (josh*m via flickr)

The members of Chicago‘s Building Owners and Managers Association (BOMA) control nearly 80 percent of downtown Chicago’s rentable building area. That makes them critical to local energy efficiency initiatives that aim to reduce the nearly 40 percent of U.S. energy that is consumed by buildings. Read More

Eavesdrop> MVRDV Booted from Moscow Project, But Maybe So What?

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MVRDV’s proposal repurposed the original factory building. (Courtesy MVRDV)

The Architect’s Journal reported, somewhat melodramatically, that a “row” has broken about between MVRDV and the British firm LDA over the redevelopment of the Hammer and Sickle Factory in Moscow. MVRDV’s competition winning scheme, which respected the existing historic factory buildings, has been dumped in favor of LDA’s swoopier Shanghai/Dubai/Where-am-I scheme. Hurt feelings aside, MVRDV might have dodged a dictatorial bullet. Russia isn’t exactly the most stable or desirable or reputation-burnishing place to work these days.

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Talking tall buildings in Shanghai

In September the Chicago-based Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat (CTBUH) gathered high-minded designers, developers and engineers for a conference in Shanghai. CTBUH, which often partners with AN on conferences, including our own Facades+ events, invited me to serve as a special media correspondent for the conference, held September 16–19. I spent most of the time conducting video interviews with the symposium guests, which we’ll post here on the AN blog as they become available. For now, here’ a quick overview of the topics discussed.

Continue reading after the jump.

A greenhouse-inspired park to bring new public space to Miami’s Wynwood Arts District

Wynwood Greenhouse Park  (Courtesy Azeez Bakare)

Wynwood Greenhouse Park (Courtesy Azeez Bakare)

A straight-forward, standard-issue park just won’t do for the uber-trendy, graffiti-covered streets of Miami‘s Wynwood Arts District. Instead of merely carving up green space within the artsy district, Tony Cho, a local real estate broker and developer, launched an international design competition to turn a parking lot into a public space worthy of its distinguished neighborhood.

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Another Brutalist Wonder Bites the Dust: Johansen’s Mechanic Theatre

Mechanic Theatre in Baltimore (photo: Edward Gunts)

Despite pleas for preservation from some of the nation’s top architects, demolition work has begun on  a nationally significant example of “Brutalist” architecture in north America, the 1967 Morris A. Mechanic Theatre in Baltimore, Maryland, designed by the late John M. Johansen.

A  yellow backhoe with a spike-like attachment began chipping into the theater’s concrete exterior earlier this month, ending any chance that the building could be saved. One local preservationist was able to salvage the original letters from the  building, but nothing else. Read More

Milwaukee breaks ground on new 32-story tower complex

Northwestern Mutual's updated Milwaukee headquarters, which broke ground in late August, include a new 32-story tower designed by Pickard Chilton. (Courtesy Pickard Chilton)

Northwestern Mutual’s updated Milwaukee headquarters, which broke ground in late August, include a new 32-story tower designed by Pickard Chilton. (Courtesy Pickard Chilton)

Construction has begun on the latest addition to Milwaukee’s lakefront skyline, a sleek curving tower from Pickard Chilton. Gilbane Building Co. and C.G. Schmidt broke ground in August on the new 32-story headquarters of insurance giant Northwestern Mutual. Read More

GLUCK+ Screens a Modern Great Camp

Architecture, East, Envelope
Wednesday, September 24, 2014
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The two main buildings at GLUCK+'s Lakeside Retreat feature sliding wooden screens over massive glass curtain walls. (Courtesy GLUCK+)

The two main buildings at GLUCK+’s Lakeside Retreat feature sliding wooden screens over massive glass curtain walls. (Courtesy GLUCK+)

Custom sliding wood shades maximize privacy and views in Adirondack Mountains retreat.

Architect-led design build firm GLUCK+ designed the Lakeside Retreat in the Adirondack Mountains on an historic blueprint: the Great Camps, sprawling summer compounds built by vacationing families during the second half of the nineteenth century. “The clients wanted to hold events there, and to make a place where their kids—who were in college at the time—would want to spend time,” said project manager Kathy Chang. “They wanted to create different ways of occupying the space.” GLUCK+ carved the hilly wooded site into a series of semi-subterranean buildings, of which the two principal structures are the family house and the recreation building. These buildings are, in turn, distinguished by massive lake-facing glass facades, camouflaged by wooden screens designed to maximize both privacy and views. Read More

Cadillac to leave Detroit for New York City

Midwest, News
Tuesday, September 23, 2014
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Detroit's Renaissance Center, home to General Motors, will say goodbye to Cadillac. (Loren Sztajer via Flickr)

Detroit’s Renaissance Center, home to General Motors, will say goodbye to Cadillac. (Loren Sztajer via Flickr)

While its product development teams and manufacturing facilities will remain in Michigan, Cadillac will move its headquarters to downtown New York City from Detroit, parent company General Motors announced Tuesday. Read More

Jeanne Gang’s first Miami project unveiled

Architecture, East, Unveiled
Tuesday, September 23, 2014
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Gang's Miami tower. (Courtesy DACRA via Curbed Miami)

Gang’s Miami tower. (Courtesy Dacra via Curbed Miami)

With Jeanne Gang bringing her architectural brand to so many cities across the country, it was only a matter of time until she landed in Miami. Local real estate blog ExMiami was the first to uncover the architect’s plan for the city, which calls for a 14-story condo project in the Design District.

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Architectural Record sold to West coast private equity group

Media, National, News
Tuesday, September 23, 2014
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Architectural Record along with its sister construction publication, Engineering News-Record, and other products, Dodge and Sweets, have been sold to Symphony Technology Group (STG), a “strategic private equity firm” in Palo Alto, California, for $320 million. McGraw Hill Construction, the current owner of these publications, announced in a market-jargon-filled press release today that, while there were multiple prospective buyers, they sold to STG because that company understands how to build on McGraw Hill’s “storied past of nimbly adapting to changing market conditions and pursuing new growth opportunities in the construction market.” STG has a global portfolio of 22 companies with a combined revenue of $2.7 billion and 17,000 employees. Will Cathleen Mcguigan and her editorial team be leaving their Pennsylvania Station tower for the green lawns of the Silicon Valley soon?

Antoine Predock’s Canadian Museum for Human Rights Opens In Winnipeg

The Canadian Museum for Human Rights, designed by Antoine Predock Architect, opened last Saturday. (Jessica Sigurdson/CMHR-MCDP)

The Canadian Museum for Human Rights, designed by Antoine Predock Architect, opened last Saturday. (Jessica Sigurdson/CMHR-MCDP)

The Antoine Predock–designed Canadian Museum for Human Rights opened in Winnipeg last Friday with a ceremony featuring an indigenous blessing, performances by Ginette Reno, The Tenors, Maria Aragon, and Sierra Noble, plus remarks by several Canadian government officials as well as representatives of the museum. Read More

Bjarke Ingels returns to Denmark with “Aarhus Island”

Aarhus Island at night. (Courtesy BIG via Design Boom)

Aarhus Island at night. (Courtesy BIG via Design Boom)

With Bjarke Ingels’ pyramid-like tower—dubbed the “courtscraper”—rising quickly on Manhattan’s West Side, the globe-trotting architect has unveiled plans for his latest sloping project. And this one has the Dane back in Denmark. In his home country, in the city of Aarhus, Bjarke has created “Aarhus Island,” a mixed-use development along the water.

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