At first glance, the glass-observation boxes that jut out of the Willis Tower’s 103rd floor don’t look all that safe—and that is exactly the point. The SOM-designed attraction, known as the Ledge, opened in 2009 and offers “thrill seekers,” “death defiers,” and “people who can wait in a really long line” the chance to step outside of the iconic skyscraper and look straight down at the streets of Chicago, 1,353-feet below. The floor of the suspended structure is comprised of 1.5-inch laminated glass panels, which can hold 10,000 pounds and withstand four tons of pressure. So, the danger is all imagined, right? Well, it certainly didn’t feel that way for a California family who visited last night.
This month, Chicago’s Plan Commission approved plans for a new skatepark at the south end of Grant Park. Plans were released last fall, showing curvy paved pathways and sculptural landscape features courtesy of the Chicago Park District and North Center urban design studio Altamanu. Read More
Everything Loose Will Land
4 West Burton Place, Chicago
Through July 26
Everything Loose Will Land explores the intersection of art and architecture in Los Angeles during the 1970s. The show’s title refers to a Frank Lloyd Wright quote that if you “tip the world over on its side and everything loose will land in Los Angeles.” This freeness alludes to the fact that this dislodging did not lead to chaos but rather a multidisciplinary artistic community that redefined LA.
Studio Gang’s treehouse revamp of Writers Theatre isn’t the only North Shore performance space to dance with organic forms. Designers Michael Loverich and Antonio Torres of The Bittertang Farm won $15,000 to install a temporary stage for performances in Lake Forest, where renderings show sculpted piles of hay and wavy architectural forms that “melt into the existing landscape.”
Happy birthday, Millennium Park! Yes, the Chicago park named for the chronological milestone now 14 years in the rearview mirror is turning 10—it went famously over-schedule and over-budget but we love it nonetheless. Last year 4.75 million people visited Chicago’s front yard, taking in free concerts and events, and probably taking at least as many selfies with Anish Kapoor’s Cloud Gate and the flowing titanium locks of Frank Gehry‘s Pritzker Pavilion in the background.
In honor of the anniversary, the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events is kicking off a series of shows and exhibitions that includes new work from Crown Fountain designer Jaume Plensa. Hey, Jaume! Email us if you need another face for your 40-foot LED projection!
Here at AN, we’re celebrating with ten of our favorite photographs of the park taken over the past decade and more. Take a look below.
bKL Architecture is going as bullish as any Chicago-based firm in this start-and-stop economy, embarking on big commissions in Beijing and Toronto while committing to more and more work at home. The firm bunks with Magellan Development in ground floor offices at Aqua Tower and has partnered with the Lakeshore East progenitor on a number of buildings including two phases of the new GEMS Academy private school.
And now that kinship is extending into River North. Fresh off the drafting table is a 38-story rental tower slated for 720 North LaSalle Street (at Superior) on the present site of a Howard Johnson Inn, one of downtown Chicago’s last remaining suburban-style motels—and a relic of affordability.
My Florence: Photographs by Art Shay
Museum of Contemporary Photography
624 South Michigan Avenue
Through May 24
My Florence is a photographic project by renowned Chicago Photojournalist Art Shay. For over six decades, Art Shay’s photographs have appeared in such periodicals as Time, Life, Fortune, and Sports Illustrated. In Shay’s words, My Florence “is the story in pictures of our 67 years of marriage.” The photographs in this show are primarily candid and capture moments beginning with the first photograph Art took of Florence, his wife, the day they met in 1942 as 20-year-old camp counselors in the Catskills.
Eavesdrop attended the opening of William J. O’Brien’s mid-career solo show on view through May 18 at the Museum of Contemporary Art (MCA) Chicago. 2014 is shaping up to be a strong one for Chicago-based artists, with this show clearly thrusting O’Brien into the upper echelon.
The Chicago Design Museum, our resident pop-up pantheon of graphic aesthetics, is looking for your help to mount the first exhibition in its new permanent home. They’re planning a centennial show for the American Institute of Graphic Arts (hey, AIGA’s as old as Wrigley!), and they’ve launched a Kickstarter campaign to get it funded (and time is really running out!). Eavesdrop’s been known to drop in on ChiDM’s shows since its inception, so we could be persuaded to part with some cash.
A recently restored Frank Lloyd Wright house on Chicago’s far North Side will be open for weekly tours this summer, starting May 7. The Emil Bach House, 7415 North Sheridan Road, is a Chicago Landmark and an entry on the National Register of Historic Places. As a vacation rental, the carefully crafted private dwelling invites Wright enthusiasts to stay a while.
Last year, Mesa Development and the University of Chicago announced they’d planned a 13-story mixed-use development for the western end of Hyde Park’s 53rd Street commercial strip. The massive project drew opposition to its scale and a lawsuit delayed construction—until now.