Minneapolis’ Peavey Plaza escapes demolition after preservationist lawsuit

City Terrain, Midwest
Friday, October 4, 2013
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Peavey Plaza's fountains have fallen into disrepair.

Peavey Plaza’s fountains have fallen into disrepair.

Minneapolis’ Peavey Plaza, a classic but poorly maintained “park plaza” (to borrow the term its designer, landscape architect M. Paul Friedberg, coined to describe it), has escaped demolition, preservationists announced Friday.

The Cultural Landscape Foundation said they’d reached a settlement to preserve the 1975 public space, ending a lawsuit brought by TCLF and the Preservation Alliance of Minnesota in June 2012. It awaits the signature of Mayor R.T. Rybak. Read More

Painted Fire Hydrants on Display Throughout Chicago

Midwest
Tuesday, October 1, 2013
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the wintrust hydrant by anna celander (the Great Chicago Fire Hydrants)

the wintrust hydrant by anna celander (the Great Chicago Fire Hydrants)

Chicago area artists age 12 to 87 have painted larger-than-life fire hydrants for a public art project on display throughout the city until November 11. The project, called the Great Chicago Fire Hydrants, aims to decorate 101 five-foot-tall fire hydrants (one for each Chicago firehouse) before November 11, when a public auction of the hydrants will raise money to benefit the 100 Club of Chicago and “other fire-related charities.”

Find the hydrants on this map. Most are downtown, but Mt. Greenwood’s Funkie Fashions, Gordon Tech High School, and Swedish Covenant Hospital are among the neighborhood spots. Check out the website’s gallery of completed fire hydrants if you can’t hoof it to all the locations.

And if you’d like to decorate one, reach out here to the organizers here.

Unveiled> Chicago’s Newest Loop ‘L’ Stop Could Be Best Yet

Midwest
Tuesday, October 1, 2013
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Renderings show Chicago's first new Loop 'L' stop since 1997. (exp / CTA)

Renderings show Chicago’s first new Loop ‘L’ stop since 1997. (exp / CTA)

Move over Morgan—the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) released renderings Monday of a redesign for the ‘L’ station at Washington-Wabash whose modern look could unseat the sleek Morgan as CTA’s most handsome stop. The so-called “Gateway to Millennium Park” will serve the Brown, Green, Orange, Pink and Purple lines by consolidating two Loop stations: Randolph-Wabash and Madison-Wabash. Replacing two century old stops, it will be the first new ‘L’ stop in the Loop since the Library/State-Van Buren station was built in 1997.

Continue reading after the jump.

Artist Brightens Boarded Windows On Flagging Blocks

Midwest
Friday, September 27, 2013
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Toepfer's boarded windows on the left. (Video still / Courtesy Medill Reports)

Toepfer’s boarded windows on the left. (Video still / Courtesy Medill Reports)

 

Vacant buildings can drag down whole blocks, depressing property values, encouraging crime and accelerating a spiral of poverty that afflicts many Chicago neighborhoods. Even the boards that cover the windows on abandoned homes can convey a sense that nobody’s in charge, or that an area can’t be salvaged to save it from demolition.

That’s the point of intervention for artist Chris Toepfer, who since 1995 has visited thousands of vacant buildings in 17 U.S. cities. Toepfer paints the boards that clad abanonded homes and businesses, working with Chicago nonprofit Neighborhood Housing Service to slow the cycle of decline in neighborhoods hit hard by the housing crisis. Dave Hoekstra profiled their work for the Sun-Times. Also, here’s a 2010 video with Toepfer from Medill Reports.

Minneapolis Streetcar Plans Move Along, Renderings Released

Midwest
Friday, September 27, 2013
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Renderings of a streetcar planned for Minneapolis. (Courtesy City of Minneapolis)

Renderings of a streetcar planned for Minneapolis. (Courtesy City of Minneapolis)

This week a city council panel voted to advance Minneapolis’ plans for a 3.4-mile streetcar line along Nicollet and Central Avenues. The Transportation and Public Works committee’s thumbs up clears the way for a full City Council vote next week.

Read More

‘New Urbanist’ Open-Air Mall to Replace Chicago’s Purple Hotel

Midwest
Thursday, September 26, 2013
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Plans show a "new urbanist" plaza that will replace Lincolnwood's Purple Hotel. (antunovich associates)

Plans show a “new urbanist” plaza that will replace Lincolnwood’s Purple Hotel. (Courtesy antunovich associates)

New plans for Chicago’s Purple Hotel site don’t have their predecessor’s color, in any sense of the word, but many may view the mixed-use “town center” plaza as the antidote to the site’s lurid history.  The quirky midcentury hotel in suburban Chicago seemed to escape its fate last year when architect Jackie Koo drew up plans to save the vacant hotel and its divisive color scheme.

But demolition on the Purple Hotel in Lincolnwood, IL began late last month. Organizers of the village’s end-of-summer festival apparently raised $5,000 for the local library through sales of purple brick.

Continue reading after the jump.

Flint Flat Lot’s Floating House draws criticism

Midwest
Wednesday, September 25, 2013
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Photos of the built work were questioned by some commenters. (Gavin Smith, courtesy Two Islands)

Photos of the built work were questioned by some commenters. (Gavin Smith, courtesy Two Islands)

When London-based Two Islands took first place in Flint, Michigan’s first Flat Lot Competition for public art, images of their floating, mirror-clad meditation on the foreclosure crisis turned heads. Six months later the project has been built, but it faced challenges and has drawn criticism making the leap from rendering to reality.

Continue reading after the jump.

Is the River Revitalization Trend Skipping Youngstown?

City Terrain, Midwest
Monday, September 23, 2013
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A view from the banks of the Mahoning River from the grounds of the B&O Station in Youngstown. (Jack Pearce / Flickr)

A view from the banks of the Mahoning River from the grounds of the B&O Station in Youngstown. (Jack Pearce / Flickr)

Across the country cities are revamping formerly industrial riverfronts. Plans are underway for Philadelphia’s Schuylkill, the Mississippi in Minneapolis, Town Branch in Lexington, and in downtown Chicago to reclaim urban rivers for mutual goals of ecology and urbanism. That hasn’t yet caught on in Youngstown, Ohio.

Read More

St. Louis Plan Calls for Form-Based Code to Push Transit-Oriented Development

Midwest
Monday, September 16, 2013
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stl-tod-01

For nextSTL, Richard Bose takes a close look at what’s next for St. Louis’ transit-oriented neighborhood. The Skinker-DeBaliviere neighborhood and the area near the Delmar and Forest Park MetroLink stations (both Red and Blue lines) have six bus routes. They’re near the forthcoming Loop Trolley line. A Department of Housing and Urban Development–funded sustainability plan, called OneSTL is examining opportunities for transit-oriented development near MetroLink stops.

Continue reading after the jump.

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.

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