Chicago Architectural Club calls for speculative proposals on Obama Library

(michael sorkin studio)

A previously released proposal for the Obama Presidential Library. (michael sorkin studio)

As several Chicago sites—as well as institutions in New York City and Hawaii—vie to host Barack Obama’s Presidential Library, the Chicago Architectural Club is “calling for speculative proposals” to consider the design impacts of the nation’s 14th presidential library.

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Long-vacant grain silos in Chicago up for auction, future uncertain

One of Chicago‘s most visible rust-belt remnants is up for sale, just in time for its cameo in the Transformers 4 movie. The derelict Santa Fe grain elevator has been a favorite hangout for squatters, graffiti artists and ruin-porn enthusiasts since 1977, when a fire and explosion ended 70 years of industrial history there.

Continue reading after the jump.

Eavesdrop> The Great Chicago Fire Festival was a bust

Art, Media, Midwest
Monday, October 6, 2014
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The house appears to be much more on fire than it actually is. (Henry Melcher / AN)

The house appears to be much more on fire than it actually is. (Henry Melcher / AN)

In 1871, the Great Chicago Fire ripped through the city’s streets and spurred a massive urban renewal. On Saturday, in an attempt to honor that city-defining event, some kayakers paddled around the Chicago River and tried to light some fake houses on fire. It was all part of the $2 million Great Chicago Fire Festival put on by the Redmoon Theater Company. But on Saturday night, it quickly became clear that the festival would be neither great nor full of fire. You could say the festival fizzled out or that it failed to ignite. Both will do.

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Saturday> Fire Festival to light up the Chicago River

Architecture, Art, Midwest
Friday, October 3, 2014
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The inaugural Great Chicago Fire Festival takes place October 4. (Redmoon Theater)

The inaugural Great Chicago Fire Festival takes place October 4. (Redmoon Theater)

A new downtown festival launching tomorrow celebrates the “grit, greatness and renewal” of Chicago by paying tribute its greatest tragedy. In a move reminiscent of Las Fallas in Valencia, Spain, The Chicago Fire Festival will float some theatrical pyrotechnics down the Chicago River on Saturday evening. Read More

Unveiled> Hartshorne Plunkard’s Goose Island office block along the Chicago River

A new office building on Goose Island would connect the manufacturing district with West Town. (Courtesy Hartshorne Plunkard Ltd.)

A new office building on Goose Island would connect the manufacturing district with West Town. (Courtesy Hartshorne Plunkard Ltd.)

A six-story office building could sail into the boat yard site of Chicago’s Goose Island in the near future, if plans from Hartshorne Plunkard and developer South Street Capital can navigate logistical and regulatory difficulties surrounding the industrial district on the city’s near north side. Read More

Construction of Chicago Riverwalk Underway; City Looks at Funding Options

Chicago riverwalk (Courtesy Sasaki Associates)

Chicago riverwalk (Courtesy Sasaki Associates)

Chicago’s Riverwalk extension is underway, and the city is looking for contractors to help plan and operate concessions along what promises to be a major downtown attraction. Applicants have until April 7 to reply to the city’s request for qualifications. Read More

Chicago breaks ground on Navy Pier flyover for Lakefront Trail

navy pier flyover rendering (city of chicago)

navy pier flyover rendering (city of chicago)

Bicyclists and pedestrians cruising down Chicago’s 18-mile Lakefront Trail generally enjoy an exceptionally open, continuous and scenic path along Lake Michigan. But near Navy Pier they’re shunted inland, underneath a highway, onto sidewalks and through road crossings that interrupt their journey in the middle of one of the popular pathway’s most congested corridors.

The Navy Pier Flyover, announced in 2011, was designed to remedy that situation, and today Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced the project has officially broken ground. Read More

Chicago Launches Lighting Competition in Bid to Boost Tourism, Skeptics Concerned Over Pollution

Design, Lighting, Midwest
Monday, January 27, 2014
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(Courtesy City of Chicago)

(Courtesy City of Chicago)

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel has been very vocal about his ambitions to increase tourism in the city, and he once again upped that goal to 55 million annual visitors by 2020—an almost 20 percent jump from current numbers.

Riding high on news of record hotel occupancy last year, Emanuel said Wednesday that Chicago would launch an international design contest to light up the city at night. As with previous initiatives, like the Downtown Riverwalk extension, the lighting design competition would highlight the Chicago River.

Continue reading after the jump.

Studio Gang’s Boathouse Opens, Celebrates Chicago River

City Terrain, Midwest
Thursday, October 24, 2013
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Gang's WMS Boathouse at Clark Park engages the Chicago River. (Chris Bentley / AN)

Gang’s WMS Boathouse at Clark Park engages the Chicago River. (Chris Bentley / AN)

Amid the clamor to take advantage of Chicago Architecture Foundation’s Open House this weekend, some may have missed the opening of Studio Gang’s boathouse along the Chicago River’s north branch. The WMS Boathouses at Clark Park opened Saturday to fanfare led by the Chicago Rowing Foundation, who were eager to celebrate the first of four new boathouses to be built along the Chicago River. Read More

Chicago Riverwalk Work To Begin Soon, Alderman’s Office Says

City Terrain, Midwest
Thursday, October 10, 2013
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Chicago riverwalk (Courtesy Sasaki Associates)

Chicago riverwalk. (Courtesy Sasaki Associates)

Construction will begin soon on the highly-anticipated expansion to Chicago’s Riverwalk, Ald. Brendan Reilly’s office announced last week. The Chicago Department of Transportation (CDOT) will start work this fall. Read More

Community Members in Chicago Protest Lathrop Homes Plans

Midwest
Wednesday, July 31, 2013
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Greenscapes: Bird's Eye View of Site Looking South, a potential redevelopment plan for the Lathrop Homes. (Farr Associates)

Greenscapes: Bird’s Eye View of Site Looking South, a potential redevelopment plan for the Lathrop Homes. (Farr Associates)

As plans to makeover Chicago’s Lathrop Homes become more clear, debate becomes more heated over whether the development team has the storied development’s best interests in mind.

Twelve years after the Chicago Housing Administration announced its intention to overhaul the 1930s housing projects, the fate of the site remains unclear. Lathrop Community Partners—a team counting among its partners Related Midwest, Studio Gang Architects, Wolff Landscape Associates, Farr Associates, bKL, and Bauer Latoza Studio— revealed a draft master plan [PDF] this month that aimed for compromise between restoration and scaling up.

Continue reading after the jump.

Scaled-back Lathrop Homes Redevelopment Plan Aims for Compromise

Midwest
Tuesday, July 16, 2013
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Greenscapes: Bird's Eye View of Site Looking South, a potential redevelopment plan for the Lathrop Homes. (Farr Associates)

“Greenscapes: Bird’s Eye View of Site Looking South,” a potential redevelopment plan for the Lathrop Homes. (Farr Associates)

Its unique plan and handsome brown brick buildings landed the site on the National Register of Historic Places, but Chicago’s Julia Lathrop Homes face an uncertain future. As hundreds of units sit vacant, tensions and expectations are high for this historic riverside housing project.

Preservationists called foul on a redevelopment masterplan released last year, which they said shortchanged the 1938 development. Though Lathrop sidestepped outright demolition, the Homes south of Diversey Avenue would make way for new buildings under a new plan proposed by a development group led by Related Midwest.

Continue reading after the jump.

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