Corb’s Unité d’Habitation Damaged By Fire.  Corb's Unité d'Habitation Damaged By Fire The Guardian is reporting that one of Le Corbusier’s most famous works, the Unité d’Habitation in Marseille, France, has been damaged in a fire. Three apartments were gutted and many other units were damaged by the fire, which took 12 hours to contain. Five people were being treated for injuries. Originally built as low-income housing between 1947 and 1951, the Unité is now a protected landmark in France and home to approximately 1600 residents in 334 apartments.

 

Unveiled>Grant Park North in Chicago by MVVA

Midwest
Thursday, February 9, 2012
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(All images courtesy MVVA)

Located just east of Millennium Park, and connected by Frank Gehry’s serpentine BP bridge, Grant Park North is getting a dramatic makeover by Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates (MVVA). While Millennium Park draws on Beaux Arts planning, the Van Valkenburg design follows the curving lines established by Gehry’s footbridge. “You can fold more program into curving geometries,” said Matthew Urbanski, a principal at MVVA. Read More

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BREAKING: HWKN Wins 2012 PS 1 Young Architects Program

East, Newsletter
Wednesday, February 8, 2012
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All images courtesy HWKN

New York-based HWKN has been selected for this year’s MoMA/PS 1 Young Architects Program. Their proposal, called “Wendy,” uses standard scaffolding to create a visually arresting object that straddles the three outdoor rooms of the PS 1 courtyard. Tensioned fabric coated in smog-eating paint provides shelter and programming areas including a stage, shower, and misters. “Their proposal is quite attractive in a number of ways. It’s very economical in terms of design,” said Pedro Gadanho, the curator of contemporary architecture at MoMA. “One object creates a variety of programmatic and ecological conditions and its scale rivals the height of the PS 1 building.” Read More

Five Approaches to Reviving Chicago’s Navy Pier

Midwest, Newsletter
Tuesday, February 7, 2012
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AECOM/BIG (all images courtesy respective firms)

Five proposals to rethink the public spaces at Navy Pier have gone on view at the Chicago Architecture Foundation. The finalist teams–AECOM/BIG, Aedas/Davis Brody Bond/Martha Schwartz Partners, James Corner Field Operations, !melk/HOK/UrbanLab, and Xavier Vendrell Studio/Grimshaw Architects–use variety of approaches to revitalize the historic pier, which has long been a favored destination for tourists. Organizers hope revitalizing the pier’s public spaces will make it a world-class destination for residents as well as visitors, much like Millennium Park and the rest of the lakefront. AECOM/BIG’s proposal calls for a series of undulating ramp/bleachers that form a new landscape over much of the pier’s midsection, culminating in a new park at the tip.

View all the proposals after the jump.

Herzog & de Meuron and Ai Weiwei To Reunite at London’s Serpentine

International
Tuesday, February 7, 2012
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(courtesy herzogdemeuron-film.com)

 

Herzog & de Meuron and Ai Wei Wei are getting the band back together for a brief collaboration for the famed Serpentine Gallery 2012 Pavilion. Now in its twelfth iteration, the Serpentine has commissioned temporary structures by some of the world’s leading architects, including Toyo Ito, Peter Zumthor, and Zaha Hadid. The Swiss architects and the Chinese artist/designer have previously collaborated on the so-called Bird’s Nest Olympic staduim in Beijing. While that project emphasized both strength and fagility with a soaring tangle of intersecting structure, their proposal for the Serpentine will explore the subterranean history and ecology of the site.   Read More

Whew! EPA Declares Chicago’s Air is Still Dirty.  Whew! EPA Declares Chicago's Air is Still Dirty Most people would think that politicians would want their cities to be declared in compliance with Clean Air Act standards, but not Chicago! Illinois Governor Quinn and others the EPA lobbied to make sure  Chicago is counted as having dirty air, in spite of initial findings from that Chicago’s pollution levels had improved significantly from 2008 to 2010. Why? Money of course! According to Crain’s, a cleaner air ruling would have jeopardized up to $80 million in funding for projects to promote cleaner air, including transit upgrades and bike paths. While the logic is mind-bending, at least it means better public transportation and biking options!

 

Generator Studio Wins Pavilion Competition in Kansas City

Midwest
Wednesday, February 1, 2012
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The Nelson Atkins Museum has just announced that Generator Studio has won the competition to design a temporary pavilion on its grounds. The pavilion will be part of an upcoming exhibition Inventing the Modern World: Decorative Arts at the World’s Fairs 1851-1939, which opens on April 14. Kansas City-based Generator Studio’s submission, Sun Pavilion, was developed with L.A. artist Tm Gratkowski, Brightenergy, Prosser Wilbert Construction, and Thorton Tomasetti. Powered by solar panels, the opened sided pavilion will allow exhibition programming to spill outside the walls of the museum.  Read More

Three Pelli Towers to Rise on the Chicago River.  Three Pelli Towers to Rise on the Chicago River According to the Sun-Times, the Kennedy family and top tier developer Hines are working on plans for three towers at the Wolf Point site, just west of the Merchandise Mart, to be designed by Cesar Pelli. Currently used as a parking lot, the Kennedy-owned site has dramatic views of the covergence of the Chicago River as well as the Loop. Plans call for the tallest building to reach 60 stories. No word yet on the uses for the buildings. Full details of the proposal are expected to be released in March or April. Pelli’s only other building in Chicago is an office tower at 181 West Madison.

 

Illinois Bests California and New York in Green Building.  Illinois Bests California and New York in Green Building If you still think green building is a primarily coastal pursuit, you would be wrong. According to the USGBC, Illinois ranks third in square footage of certified green building per capita in 2011 (2.69 square feet a person) behind the District of Columbia (31.50!) and the state of Colorado (2.74). The leading states are scattered far and wide, with Texas (#8 with 1.99) outranking crunchy California (1.92). New York is even further behind (1.89), just edging out Minnesota’s 1.81 square feet per person.

 

Getting Boxy in Chicago’s South Loop.  Getting Boxy in Chicago's South Loop Chicago’s South Loop skyline may be getting a new bobble in the form of a boxy rental residential tower across from the Roosevelt University vertical campus. Designed by Lothan Van Hook DeStefano Architecture, the black boxes cantilever over the edge of the one below, creating a cubic counterpoint to Roosevelt’s zig zag. Many of these stacked box schemes—including a project in Jersey City by OMA and the dead Museum Plaza by REX in Louisville—have never made it off the drawing board, so it will be interesting to see if the locals can pull it off.

 

Unveiled> Geenland Tower in Suzhou by SOM Chicago

International, Midwest
Friday, January 20, 2012
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(Courtesy SOM)

SOM's Geenland Tower is proposed for a new city in China. (Courtesy SOM)

SOM Chicago has won a competition to design a mixed-use tower in the new Chinese city of Suzhou. Located along a lake front, the tower includes a distinctive void carved out the upper portion of the tower, splitting the floorplates in half to better serve hotel uses. Offices will fill the lower, larger floorplates. “We’ve been doing these kinds of mixed-use towers since Hancock,” said Ross Wimer, a partner at SOM Chicago. “Instead of tapering the tower, we’ve carved away a slot to bring fresh air and light into the building.”

Continue reading after the jump.

Scrappers in the Global Materials Food Chain.  Scrappers in the Global Materials Food Chain Architects are aware of the fluctuations in the cost of materials due to global demand. The Times takes a look at one link of that global chain that is having a big impact on Midwestern cities: scrappers. The short documentary video “Dismantling Detroit” captures that city’s former manufacturing glory, which now being pulled down and sold for scrap to feed China’s productivity. It’s a brief, sobering look at a complex problem with vast implications for the Midwest’s built environment.

 

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