Coming Soon To Vacant Lots in St. Louis: Chess, Farming, Sunflower Rehab

Midwest
Friday, April 19, 2013
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A restaurant made from shipping containers was among the winners.

A restaurant made from shipping containers was among the winners. (Courtesy Sustainable Land Lab)

The winners of St. Louis’ first-ever “Sustainable Land Lab” competition, put on by Washington University and city officials, attempted to make the most of a regrettably abundant resource: vacant lots.

Local architects took top honors in a competition that garnered some four dozen submissions. Each winner gets a two-year lease on a North St. Louis vacant lot and $5,000 in seed money to realize their ideas. Five winning projects will share four lots (two finalist teams combined their proposals into one new plan) across the city.

View the winners after the jump.

Cincinnati’s Bike Hub Connects the City With Smale Riverfront Park

Midwest
Wednesday, April 17, 2013
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The bike hub in Cincinnati's Smale Waterfront Park. (Randy Simes / Urban Cincy)

The bike hub in Cincinnati’s Smale Waterfront Park. (Randy Simes / Urban Cincy)

As one of a slew of successful placemaking initiatives of late, along with the recently reopened Washington Park, Cincinnati’s Phyllis W. Smale Riverfront Park is a key component of the city’s resurgent urban identity. It’s a multi-faceted design, aspiring to filter water for flood control, provide green space and connect two downtown stadiums with a multimodal trail along the Ohio River.

Continue reading after the jump.

Crain’s: “Is it finally a good time to be an architect?”.  Crain’s Chicago Business asks a good question: “Is it finally a good time to be an architect?” The story, by Micah Maidenberg, picks up on an encouraging trend in the architecture billings index. Both nationally and in the Midwest, architecture billings are back above 50, the threshold that denotes growth. In 2008, both tanked to about 35. Read the full post

 

Loyola University Hopes to Close Kenmore Ave for Pedestrian Walkway

Midwest
Monday, April 15, 2013
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loyola 2

Loyola University hopes to permanently close part of Kenmore Avenue in preparation for new dorms on its lakefront campus in Chicago’s Rogers Park neighborhood. SmithGroupJJR architects, who also helped revamp Loyola’s lakefront campus along with Solomon Cordwell Buenz, released some renderings of the new pedestrian space, which would replace Kenmore Avenue between West Sheridan Road and Rosemont Avenue.

Read More

Massive Post Office Development in Chicago Moves Forward

Midwest
Thursday, April 11, 2013
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Phase One Rendering of Old Main Post Office Redevelopment. (Courtesy Chicago Architecture Blog)

Phase One Rendering of Old Main Post Office Redevelopment. (Courtesy Chicago Architecture Blog)

International Property Developers (IPD) has renewed plans for massive developments around Chicago’s Old Main Post Office. IPD bought the structure in 2009 for $40 million and has been working with Chicago-based architects Antunovich Associates on a plan to surround the massive building, which has almost as much interior space as Willis Tower, with three new towers.

Continue reading after the jump.

Kent State Picks Weiss/Manfredi to Design New Architecture School

Dean's List, Midwest, Newsletter
Wednesday, April 3, 2013
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(Courtesy Weiss Manfredi)

(Courtesy Weiss Manfredi)

Marking the end of a design competition for the new home of its College of Architecture & Environmental Design, Kent State University has chosen Weiss/Manfredi’s “Design Loft” over submissions from Bialosky & Partners of Cleveland with Architecture Research Office of New York; The Collaborative of Toledo with Miller Hull Partnership of Seattle; and Westlake Reed Leskosky of Cleveland.

The college is moving from three separate buildings including Taylor Hall, where it has been for decades, and which served as a gathering spot for the 1970 Vietnam War protest that would end in four deaths.

Continue reading after the jump.

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.

Dan Gilbert Adds Two Towers to Detroit Real Estate Portfolio.  1001 Woodward, on right Dan Gilbert, Quicken Loans founder and perennial champion of Detroit’s downtown real estate market, recently added two skyscrapers to his collection. The two towers are on Detroit’s Woodward Avenue. He acquired the 1916 Albert Kahn-designed Vinton Building (left) in December and scooper up the 1001 Woodward tower (right), built in 1965, this month. For more insight on the company’s real estate enterprise, which now totals 2.8 million square feet of commercial and residential space in Detroit, read our Q&A with Gilbert’s real estate partner Jim Ketai here.

 

IIT Celebrates 75 Years of Mies

Midwest
Tuesday, March 26, 2013
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To celebrate its perennial master of modernism, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, the Illinois Institute of Technology produced a video showcasing his work and influence in Chicago. Take a few minutes on the 75th anniversary of Mies’ arrival in the Windy City to watch it.

Thomas H. Beeby Presented The 2013 Driehaus Prize

Midwest
Tuesday, March 26, 2013
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Harold Washington Library Center in downtown Chicago, designed by 2012 Driehaus laureate Thomas H. Beeby. (Courtesy of University of Notre Dame)

Harold Washington Library Center in downtown Chicago, designed by 2012 Driehaus laureate Thomas H. Beeby. (Courtesy of University of Notre Dame)

Thomas H. Beeby, designer of Chicago’s postmodern Harold Washington Library, became the first Chicagoan to accept a Richard H. Driehaus Prize over the weekend.

Beeby is one of the “Chicago Seven” (Stanley Tigerman, Larry Booth, Stuart Cohen, Ben Weese, James Ingo Freed, and James L. Nagle round out the group) who split with modernism in one of its key proving grounds during the 1970s. His postmodern historicism relies on representational imagery and ornamentation, which won him high praise from the committee that awards the top prize for traditional and classical architecture.

Continue reading after the jump.

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.

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