Unveiled> SOM Designs New Library Branch for Chicago’s Chinatown

Midwest
Wednesday, September 11, 2013
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Chinatown's new library on Wentworth Avenue. (SOM / Public Buildings Commission)

Chinatown’s new library on Wentworth Avenue. (SOM / Public Buildings Commission)

In the first-ever design/build process for a Chicago neighborhood library branch, Skidmore, Owings and Merrill joins Wight & Company construction to replace Chinatown’s aging and heavily trafficked library at 2100 South Wentworth Avenue.

Continue reading after the jump.

Lexington’s 21c Museum Hotel by Deborah Berke Partners Delayed

Midwest
Friday, September 6, 2013
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Those planning Lexington’s 21c Museum Hotel say the $40.5 million project will take longer than expected, but should come sometime in 2015.

The growing Louisville-based hotel company bought the historic First National Bank building and an adjacent structure in Lexington’s downtown last year, winning city approval for design plans shortly after. Once planned for office tenants, the boutique hotel in Lexington’s downtown apparently sustained more water damage than previously thought. New York–based Deborah Berke Partners has been tapped to design the boutique hotel. The firm also designed 21c Museum Hotels currently operating in Louisville, Cincinnati, and Bentonville, AR.

Hotel owner hints at its design after the jump.

Unveiled> SOM Designs Mashreq Bank Tower in Dubai

International
Wednesday, September 4, 2013
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(Courtesy SOM)

(Courtesy SOM)

Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM) announced last week it would design a new headquarters for Dubai-based Mashreq Bank. The 32-story tower is “a quiet sculptural form within Dubai’s skyline,” SOM Design Director Ross Wimer said in a statement. Its L-shaped floor plate is cantilevered around an empty volume between the building’s eight-story podium and its top levels.

The building’s massing shields that courtyard from solar gain, while opening up views to Sheikh Zayed Road and the Burj Khalifa to the east. Executive offices occupy the top two floors, where the square floorplate resumes, with Mashreq’s Board Room suspended from an interior opening at the middle.

Chicago Breaks Ground On Elevated Bloomingdale Trail and Park System

City Terrain, Midwest
Wednesday, August 28, 2013
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Overhead view of the Bloomingdale Trail. (Courtesy Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates)

Overhead view of the Bloomingdale Trail. (Courtesy Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates)

The City of Chicago broke ground Tuesday on the Bloomingdale Trail, or the 606 to use the combined name for the elevated trail and its five access parks, fulfilling a promise and long-term planning process that dates back years.

Walsh Construction Company won the $53.7 million contract, which city officials told the Sun-Times was $5.2 million lower than the closest competition. The city plans to use $50 million in federal money to pay for construction.

Continue reading after the jump.

Pictorial> Ross Barney’s Colorful Ohio State Chiller Plant

Midwest
Friday, August 23, 2013
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Ross Barney Architects' OSU chiller. (Brad Feinknopf)

Ross Barney Architects’ OSU chiller. (Brad Feinknopf)

A campus chiller’s prime directive is to pump torrents of cool water, not to look good. But thanks to an inventive skin of dichroic glass fins and high-sheen concrete panels from Ross Barney Architects, the Ohio State University’s south campus central chiller does both.

When the project was first announced in 2010, Carol Ross Barney told AN, “Rather than just showing the pipes, we wanted to represent energy itself.”

Continue reading after the jump.

“City Works” envisions Chicago’s “dreams and nightmares”

Midwest
Thursday, August 15, 2013
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Drawing Detail of “Phantom Chicago” by Eisenschmidt: The city of Chicago generated through unbuilt visionary projects across the 20th century (from Loos’ Tribune Tower to Griffin’s Plan for a Better Chicago and Greg Lynn’s Stranded Sears Tower).

Drawing Detail of “Phantom Chicago” by Eisenschmidt: The city of Chicago generated through unbuilt visionary projects across the 20th century (from Loos’ Tribune Tower to Griffin’s Plan for a Better Chicago and Greg Lynn’s Stranded Sears Tower).

From the abandoned foundations of the ill-fated Chicago Spire to the ghosts of would-be Tribune Towers galore, Chicago’s unbuilt legacy could rival the iconic skyline it actually achieved. An exhibition on display downtown, dubbed City Works: Provocations for Chicago’s Urban Future, confronts the city with its alternative skyline in the form of a panoramic wall design and a “Phantom Chicago” iPhone app. The overall effect evokes “a dream but also a nightmare,” in the words of curator Alexander Eisenschmidt. Read More

Blobs, Turf, and High-Slung Hammocks Among Chicago’s “Active Union Station” Winners

Midwest
Wednesday, August 14, 2013
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Latent Design & Cleveland Urban Design Collaborative’s “Blah Blah Blob!”

Latent Design & Cleveland Urban Design Collaborative’s “Blah Blah Blob!”

The Metropolitan Planning Council in Chicago announced the winners of its “Active Union Station” competition, which is meant to enliven the railroad hub’s underused public spaces. Although it’s the nation’s third busiest train station and gets more daily traffic than Midway Airport, Chicago’s Union Station remains basically a waypoint on a longer trip.

Continue reading after the jump.

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.

As Detroit Struggles With Bankruptcy, Auction House Appraises Prized Art Collection

Midwest
Thursday, August 8, 2013
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Detroit Institute of Art. (quick fix via flickr)

Detroit Institute of Art. (quick fix / flickr)

Even as Detroit’s municipal bankruptcy reverberates among residents and onlookers alike, the city’s art scene shines on.

Unfortunately for the Detroit Institute of Art, red ink may yet claim its city-owned collection. This week the museum confirmed Christie’s Appraisals had been hired to appraise a portion of the cultural institution’s holdings. But an appraisal is not a sale.

Continue reading after the jump.

Building Community in the Twin Cities’ Suburbs

Midwest
Wednesday, August 7, 2013
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(Chapendra via Flickr)

(Chapendra via Flickr)

The economic hangover of suburban sprawl is well-documented in many U.S. metropolitan areas. But the cultural identity of inner-ring suburbs may too be shifting, as towns like those in Minneapolis’ suburbs attempt to restore a sense of community. The Star-Tribune reports on two such towns, north suburban Columbia Heights and Brooklyn Park, that are taking a new approach to neighborhood building — call it reaching across the white-picket fence.

Columbia Heights is launching a neighborhood association pilot project meant to connect longtime residents with newcomers, who live increasingly in townhouses recently built on former industrial sites in the city.

Continue reading after the jump.

Groups Call for People-Friendly Lake Shore Drive Overhaul in Chicago

City Terrain, Midwest
Tuesday, August 6, 2013
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(Greene & Proppe Design Inc)

(Greene & Proppe Design Inc)

Lake Shore Drive could look a lot different if a local design alliance gets its way.

The “Our Lakefront” plan, commissioned by 15 different organizations including the Active Transportation Alliance, the Alliance for the Great Lakes, the Center for Neighborhood Technology, and the Chicago Architecture Foundation, would reduce the speed limit on the north branch of Lake Shore Drive from 40 to 35 miles per hour; carve out lanes for bicycles and either bus rapid transit or rail; and replace parking spaces with greenery.

Continue reading after the jump.

No skyscraper, no problem: AIA Small Projects on Display in Chicago

Midwest
Friday, August 2, 2013
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(Studio Thomas Photography)

(Studio Thomas Photography)

The winners of AIA Chicago’s Small Project Awards are on display through August 22 at 23 E. Madison St. “Not everyone needs a skyscraper,” reads the awards program’s tagline. The third annual Small Firm/Small Project Awards recognize quality in small Chicago architectural firms (nine or fewer licensed architects and interns) and small local projects. Projects were honored in four categories: Additions/RemodelingKitchensNew Construction, and Small Objects.

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