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.

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.

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