Is Chicago’s After Party In The Hotel Lobby?

Development, Eavesdroplet, Midwest
Tuesday, January 14, 2014
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Chicago viewed from the top of the Willis Tower. (Andrew Langdal / Flickr)

Chicago viewed from the top of the Willis Tower. (Andrew Langdal / Flickr)

During Chicago’s last real estate boom it was all condos, and during the following bust developers were all about building apartments. The buzzword during this modest recovery, if you can call it that, is hotels.

Read more after the jump.

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Frank Lloyd Wright to open balcony for home studio tours

Midwest
Friday, January 3, 2014
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frank lloyd wright's home and studio in oak park, ill. (jan uy via flickr)

frank lloyd wright’s home and studio in oak park, ill. (jan uy via flickr)

Frank Lloyd Wright fans have had plenty to celebrate lately. In December the Prairie School architect’s first independent commission, the William Winslow House, went up for sale. Now there’s more good news, reports Blair Kamin for the Chicago Tribune: the balcony over Wright’s studio in Oak Park, Ill. will be open to the public during tours for the first time in 40 years.

The Frank Lloyd Wright Trust will give two guided home and studio tours each day starting March 21, at 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. An installation on the balcony at 951 Chicago Ave. in Oak Park will celebrate Wright’s work and that of his colleagues Marion Mahony Griffin, Walter Burley Griffin, and William Drummond.

Wright, 22 at the time, designed the home studio for his family in 1889.

Frank Lloyd Wright’s William Winslow House Up For Sale in Suburban Chicago

(William Winslow House Listing courtesy of MRED : Jameson Sotheby's Intl Realty)

(William Winslow House Listing courtesy of MRED : Jameson Sotheby’s Intl Realty)

Frank Lloyd Wright’s first independent commission, the William Winslow House, is on the market.

For $2.4 million, you can net this 5,000-square-foot home in River Forest, Illinois—a critical link in the development of Prairie Style, where Wright’s horizontality and dynamic interior spaces began to take shape. The home at 515 Auvergne Place is made of roman brick, white stone and plaster, and features the architect’s signature deep overhangs and stout, planar forms. A wide foyer, fireplace and built-in benches in the dining room are among its signature interior elements. Read More

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

Chasing Cheap money, Chicago’s Loyola University finds a building boom

Midwest
Tuesday, August 13, 2013
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loyola_inst_enviro_01Loyola's Institute of Environmental Sustainability. (Solomon Cordwell Buenz / Loyola University)

Loyola’s Institute of Environmental Sustainability. (Solomon Cordwell Buenz / Loyola University)

Chicago’s Loyola University has wasted no time, it seems, in taking advantage of low interest loans in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis. The school has spent more than $500 million on building projects since 2008, reported Crain’s Chicago Business.

At No. 106 in U.S. News and World Report’s 2013 ranking of national universities, Loyola could stand to improve its public profile. Though it gained 13 places since last year’s ranking, the school lags nearby Northwestern (12th) and the University of Chicago (4th) considerably.

The expansion includes new buildings at both the medical campus in suburban Maywood, IL. (here’s AN’s coverage of a sleek new home for the university’s nursing school) and in Chicago’s Rogers Park, where a $58.8 million Institute of Environmental Sustainability opens this month. Read the full Crain’s report here.

Waxing Poetic About Chicago’s Wells Street Bridge

Eavesdroplet, Midwest
Tuesday, April 2, 2013
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Construction on Chicago's Wells Street Bridge in March. (Courtesy CTA)

Construction on Chicago’s Wells Street Bridge in March. (Courtesy CTA)

Work took place in March to replace a portion of Chicago’s Wells Street bridge—“the engineering equivalent of a heart transplant,” in the words of the Tribune’s Cynthia Dizikes. Work crews 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). Inconvenience or not, seeing a 500,000-pound hunk of metal floating into downtown Chicago atop a barge makes one feel like a witness to latter-day Carl Sandburg paeans: “Here is a tall bold slugger set vivid against the little soft cities.”

Watch a video of the bridge floating down the river.

Competition Seeks Help Designing Chicago’s BRT Stations

Midwest
Monday, April 1, 2013
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Cleveland's BRT program has been hailed as a success.

Cleveland’s BRT program has been hailed as a success.

As Chicago rolls out bus rapid transit routes, the benefits of BRT are often presented as a given. But the experiences of bus systems around the world prove design matters.

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 “NEXT STOP,” 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 ‘L’ Stop; Pilsen near 18th and Ashland) by noon May 13.

Illinois Takes Helm of High-Speed Rail Group

Midwest
Thursday, March 21, 2013
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High-speed rail in Taiwan, where trains run at approximately 185 mph. (Image courtesy Flickr user loudtiger.)

High-speed rail in Taiwan, where trains run at approximately 185 mph. (Image courtesy Flickr user loudtiger.)

The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) today named Illinois’ Department of Transportation the leader of a multi-state effort to advance high-speed rail. Illinois, California, Michigan, Missouri, and Washington will use $808 million from the FRA to build 35 new diesel locomotives and 130 bi-level rail cars. California led the group last year, in which 130 bi-level rail cars were procured for high-speed service.

Read More

An Afterlife for DeKalb’s Egyptian Theatre

Midwest
Thursday, March 21, 2013
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The Egyptian Theatre in DeKalb, Illinois. (Courtesy Egyptian Theatre)

The Egyptian Theatre in DeKalb, Illinois. (Courtesy Egyptian Theatre)

Northern Illinois may not have pyramids (you’ll have to go to elsewhere in the Midwest for that) but the Egyptian Theatre continues Pharaoh Ramses II’s reign over downtown DeKalb, IL. As this post in PreservationNation describes, the movie house has undergone a series of restoration efforts since it landed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1978.

Designed by architect Elmer F. Behrns in 1929, the theater’s pharaoh sculptures, scarab stained glass, and winged orb marquee fell into disrepair by the late seventies, when the theater closed. It reopened in 1983, but renovations continued until recently. In the last six years building rehabilitation and maintenance exceeded $1.5 million, but creative fundraising—the owners, Preservation of the Egyptian Theatre, Inc., sold the theater’s original seats when they were replaced in 2011 and even started running popular haunted tours—have helped fill the financial gap.

The building owners hope to continue renovations, including replacing the carpeting and installing air conditioning.

More photos after the jump.

Floodwaters Surround Mies Van Der Rohe’s Farnsworth House

Midwest
Tuesday, March 12, 2013
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Floodwaters surround Mies van der Rohe's Farnsworth House. (Courtesy Farnsworth House)

Floodwaters surround Mies van der Rohe’s Farnsworth House. (Courtesy Farnsworth House)

Just over four years ago, the Fox River spilled its banks, sending floodwaters into Mies van der Rohe’s Farnsworth House and causing significant damage. Built in 1951 and located outside Chicago, the river is again rising, now fully surrounding the stilted abode turned museum, and the house, operated by the National Trust for Historic Preservation, has shared watery photos on its Farnsworth blog, stating: “The house is fully surrounded by river water, but neither the lower deck nor the upper deck has yet to be breached.” Water is not expected to enter the house, but all precautions are being taken, including elevating interior furnishings on milk crates.When the site is not flooded, tours of the house are available to the public.

Bertrand Goldberg’s Chicago Prentice Hospital Denied Landmark Status, Again

Midwest
Thursday, February 7, 2013
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Ceci n'est pas une landmark? (ChicagoGeek/Flickr)

Ceci n’est pas une landmark? (ChicagoGeek/Flickr)

Amid the latest in a series of temporary reprieves, Bertrand Goldberg’s former Prentice Women’s Hospital was again denied landmark status by the Commission on Chicago Landmarks.

Despite once again turning out a crowd of supporters who contributed hours of impassioned testimony, many preservationists were unsurprised by an outcome that they chalked up to political determinism.

Continue reading after the jump.

Rockford Valley College May Axe Booth Hansen / Jeanne Gang Project

Midwest
Tuesday, November 20, 2012
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A plan for Rock Valley College's unbuilt Arts Instructional Center. (Courtesy Booth Hansen)

A plan for Rock Valley College’s unbuilt Arts Instructional Center. (Courtesy Booth Hansen)

A push to consolidate art classrooms and performance venues on the campus of a prominent Rockford, Illinois college seems to have hit the doldrums, as Rock Valley College (RVC) administrators shake up priorities and pull back the budget. The Rockford Register Star reported RVC’s new arts instructional center, which received plans from Booth Hansen and Jeanne Gang, may get the axe.

Continue reading after the jump.

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