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.

Mixed-Use Development Planned for the Detroit Riverfront

Midwest
Thursday, August 1, 2013
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(Economic Development Corp. of the City of Detroit)

(Economic Development Corp. of the City of Detroit)

Detroit’s Economic Development Corp. gave a preliminary green light to at least 291 low-rise units of housing and retail space along five blocks of the Detroit riverfront.

St. Louis-based McCormack Baron Salazar, whose CEO Richard Baron is a Detroit native, would first build the three- to four-story townhouses and apartment buildings along Atwater and Franklin Streets, between the Dequindre Cut Greenway and Riopelle Street. The site borders the Detroit Riverwalk and Tricentennial State Park. If that goes well, the firm could develop a second phase to add 200 rentals or condo units, as well as more retail and restaurants.

More after the jump.

Northeast Ohio Group Fights Back Against Sprawl

Midwest
Thursday, August 1, 2013
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051107_arch_suburbSprawl_ex

The Northeast Ohio Sustainable Communities Consortium is striking back against a wide-ranging problem that has scarred few regions more than this corner of the Midwest: sprawl.

The non-profit is a collaboration between city, county, and regional government entities, as well as private foundations and academic institutions. It is funded by a $4.25 million grant from the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development, along with $2.4 million in local matching funds.

Continue reading after the jump.

Chicago Water Tank Falls Nine Stories, Injures Three

Midwest
Wednesday, July 31, 2013
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A water tank in downtown Chicago. (Jaysin Trevino via Flickr)

A water tank in downtown Chicago. (Jaysin Trevino via Flickr)

An aging water tank plummeted nine stories from a Chicago building Wednesday, releasing “a tidal wave” of water and debris, one witness said, that injured three people and poured water into a nearby day care center. Of the three victims taken to the hospital one was critically injured, the Sun-Times reported, when the wooden tower, 8 feet across and 12 feet high, fell from the top of 2800 N. Pine Grove Ave.

Continue reading after the jump.

Indianapolis Gas Station Could Make Way for Mixed-Use Development

Midwest
Wednesday, July 31, 2013
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(Broad Ripple Associates LLC)

(Broad Ripple Associates LLC)

Some gas stations boast high-design and architectural bonafides, but usually they’re more significant for what comes in their wake. So it is for a closed gas station at Broad Ripple and College avenues in Indianapolis, along the city’s central canal.

Continue reading after the jump.

Community Members in Chicago Protest Lathrop Homes Plans

Midwest
Wednesday, July 31, 2013
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Greenscapes: Bird's Eye View of Site Looking South, a potential redevelopment plan for the Lathrop Homes. (Farr Associates)

Greenscapes: Bird’s Eye View of Site Looking South, a potential redevelopment plan for the Lathrop Homes. (Farr Associates)

As plans to makeover Chicago’s Lathrop Homes become more clear, debate becomes more heated over whether the development team has the storied development’s best interests in mind.

Twelve years after the Chicago Housing Administration announced its intention to overhaul the 1930s housing projects, the fate of the site remains unclear. Lathrop Community Partners—a team counting among its partners Related Midwest, Studio Gang Architects, Wolff Landscape Associates, Farr Associates, bKL, and Bauer Latoza Studio— revealed a draft master plan [PDF] this month that aimed for compromise between restoration and scaling up.

Continue reading after the jump.

Design Competition Reimagines Detroit’s Hudson’s Department Store Site

Midwest
Thursday, July 25, 2013
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First place winner, “MINICITY Detroit,” by Davide Marchetti and Erin Pellegrino.

First place winner, “MINICITY Detroit,” by Davide Marchetti and Erin Pellegrino.

Submissions to the “Redesigning Detroit” competition matched the enthusiasm of its sponsor, Rock Ventures / Quicken Loans, in envisioning a future for the once iconic J.L. Hudson’s department store on Woodward Avenue downtown. Demolished 15 years ago, the 25-story tower left a physical and symbolic gap in the city’s urban fabric that the competition asked its entrants to repair.

“You couldn’t ask for a more exciting piece of property to redevelop, and one that can have such a profound impact on how Detroit feels about itself and sees itself,” said Reed Kroloff, outgoing director of the Cranbrook Academy of Art and advisor on the competition.

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