Exclusive Video> Paddle along with Jeanne Gang as she kayaks the Chicago River

Paddling along the North Branch. (The Architect's Newspaper)

Paddling along the North Branch. (The Architect’s Newspaper)

If you start at Studio Gang’s acclaimed Aqua Tower and follow the Chicago River about six miles north you will find yourself at another eye-catching building by the increasingly in-demand firm. The WMS Boathouse at Clark Park, completed in 2013, sits along the very polluted north branch of the river and has a dramatic profile inspired by the rhythm of rowers’ oars. (The building is named for the gaming technology company that contributed to the project and has offices directly across the river.)

Watch the video after the jump.

Notes from the Society for College and University Planning’s 2015 Chicago Conference

National, Technology
Saturday, August 22, 2015
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Chicago from above. (Mirza Asad Baig / Flickr)

Chicago from above. (Mirza Asad Baig / Flickr)

There’s much to be said about SCUP’s 50th Annual International Conference, held this year at the Hyatt Regency Chicago, in Chicago, Illinois, July 11 – 15. Aside from what one must imagine are the typical characteristics of this globe-trotting annual event—mission-oriented indoctrination, relentless networking against seemingly never-ending waves of competition and sweets, a diverse range of diurnal activities and workshops concerning a stunning miscellany of unpredictable subjects (including drones)—this year’s event presented interesting spins on an emergent, “integrated” planning strategy involving the use of Data in University programming.

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Here’s how students from IIT used cutting edge technology to craft a rippling carbon fiber facade

CARBONskin was designed and fabricated by IIT students this spring. (Courtesy Alphonso Peluso)

CARBONskin was designed and fabricated by IIT students this spring. (Courtesy Alphonso Peluso)

Though only one semester had elapsed since the student-designed and fabricated FIBERwave carbon fiber pavilion went up, by early 2015 IIT professor Alphonso Peluso was hungry for more.

Continue reading after the jump.

This urban intervention in Chicago would let citizens control colorful lights under the “El” with their smartphones

City Terrain, Lighting, Midwest, Urbanism
Wednesday, July 22, 2015
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Wabash Lights, a site-specific installation under Chicago's L. (Courtesy Wabash Lights)

Wabash Lights, a site-specific installation under Chicago’s L. (Courtesy Wabash Lights)

Chicago is best known for Wrigley Field and the Sears Tower (yes, the Sears Tower), but one of its most prominent urban features is the elevated train tracks that form the “Loop,” or the downtown area bound by this snaking steel goliath. However poetic the idea of the “El” might be, it brute steel structure could, like most raised infrastructures, use some improvements.

More after the jump.

VDTA’s Taut-Skinned Godfrey Hotel

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VDTA's Godfrey Hotel features a slick skin of insulated metal panels and glass. (Steve Hall)

VDTA’s Godfrey Hotel features a slick skin of insulated metal panels and glass. (Steve Hall)

Metal and glass accentuate Chicago high-rise’s iconic form.

Given the odds stacked against it, Godfrey Hotel’s 2014 opening in Chicago counts as a major victory—even if it took more than a decade to get there. Valerio Dewalt Train Associates (VDTA) signed on to the project in 2003, after being approached by a developer affiliated with a mid-market hospitality chain.

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On View> “David Hartt: Interval” at the Art Institute of Chicago

Art, Midwest, On View
Wednesday, July 8, 2015
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(David Hartt)

(David Hartt)

David Hartt: Interval
Art Institute of Chicago
111 South Michigan Avenue, Chicago
Through October 11

Canadian artist David Hartt examines the culture and built environment of a given locale through the changing needs and values of its community. For this essayistic series of films and photographs, Hartt selected two economically and geographically isolated sites: Whitehorse in the Canadian Yukon and Sakhalin Island, a Russian territory at the tip of the Japanese archipelago.

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Developers tap Perkins + Will principal to help redevelop site adjacent to Bertrand Goldberg’s River City

Bertrand Goldberg's River City, in Chicago. (S. N. Johnson-Roehr via Flickr)

Bertrand Goldberg’s River City, in Chicago. (S. N. Johnson-Roehr via Flickr)

Plans for 2,700 new homes along the Chicago River have some neighbors and realtors calling a long-vacant lot near the Willis Tower by a new name. “River South” refers to a few sites, among them: a 7.3-acre riverside parcel between Harrison Street and the River City condo complex designed by Bertrand Goldberg. Read More

Endgame: An Open Letter to the Guggenheim Helsinki Finalists

1,715 Entries and One Winner. (Courtesy Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation)

1,715 Entries and One Winner. (Courtesy Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation)

The following is an abridged version of an open letter by Chicago architect and urban planner Marshall Brown, which was originally presented at the The Design Competition Conference by the GSD and the Van Alen Institute. It follows a previous comment by the author for AN about the state of design competitions in the 21st century. It is in direct response to the Guggenheim Helsinki Competition, which attracted 1,715 submissions before the winner was announced yesterday

My Dear Colleagues,

I would like to extend sincere congratulations for your recent achievements and the recognition it has brought to your practices. I suppose you may be wondering about the cause for this letter since, at least that I can recall, we have never formally met. One year ago I wrote an essay for AN that criticized the current state of architectural competitions. It concluded with the melodramatic, yet also sincere invitation for likeminded architects to join me in “early, complete, and permanent retirement” from such contests. In the meantime I have mostly managed to follow through on my retreat from the design competition industry, despite several invitations from colleagues to collaborate.

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Gallery> Tour the rehabbed Chicago Motor Club, a Henry Ford–era art deco mecca for motorists

The new Hampton Inn Chicago Michigan Avenue, which occupies the former Chicago Motor Club building. (Kenny Kim Photography)

The new Hampton Inn Chicago Michigan Avenue, which occupies the former Chicago Motor Club building. (Kenny Kim Photography)

You can credit Chicago’s recent boom in boutique hotels with revving up an historic 16-story building once home to the Chicago Motor Club, which rolled back onto the market in May as a Hampton Inn.

Continue reading after the jump.

Take a tour of Chicago’s newest Green Line stop, Cermak-McCormick Place, designed by Ross Barney Architects

Cermak-McCormick Place: the newest stop on Chicago's CTA Green Line, designed by Ross Barney Architects. (Kate Joyce Studios)

Cermak-McCormick Place: the newest stop on Chicago’s CTA Green Line, designed by Ross Barney Architects. (Kate Joyce Studios)

Chicago commuters transiting through the South Loop and Chinatown have had a new stop since early this year, when the Chicago Transit Authority opened its newest train stop: Cermak-McCormick Place.

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Yoko Ono breaks ground on public art project for Chicago’s South Side

Rendering of the Garden of the Phoenix located in Jackson Park, Chicago with SKY LANDING (circled) and the New Phoenix Pavilion (proposed) and Museum of Science and Industry.

Rendering of the Garden of the Phoenix located in Jackson Park, Chicago with SKY LANDING and the proposed New Phoenix Pavilion and Museum of Science and Industry. (Project 120 Chicago)

The Chicago Park District starts work today on a new project by Yoko Ono. Her first permanent public art installation in the Americas will be a meditation on world peace, harmony with nature, and Japanese-American relations dubbed SKY LANDING, which is slated for a parcel of Jackson Park once home to the historic Phoenix Pavilion.

Continue reading after the jump.

Ride Chicago’s new elevated park and bike path, The 606, with this time-lapse video

606

Scene along the 606. (Courtesy Steven Vance)

Chicago’s long-awaited bikeway and elevated park, The 606, opened last weekend (on 6/6, no less) to a rush of pedestrians and cyclists who were eager to test out the new 2.7-mile trail after years of planning, design and construction. The public park remains extremely popular in the sunny week following its debut.

More after the jump.

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