National Blues Museum Targets 2014 Opening in St. Louis

Midwest, Newsletter
Tuesday, January 8, 2013
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The National Blues Museum (Courtesdy NationalBluesMuseum.org)

The National Blues Museum. (Courtesy NationalBluesMuseum.org)

Cleveland has the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Kansas City has the American Jazz Museum, Nashville has Music City, and now St. Louis looks likely to become home to the National Blues Museum in 2014. Cue up “St. Louis Blues.”

Continue reading after the jump.

Preservationists: Chicago Prentice Demolition More Costly Than Re-Use

Midwest
Thursday, January 3, 2013
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BauerLatoza's new tower would intersect with the northwest lobe of Prentice's cloverleaf form. (Courtesy BauerLatoza Studio)

BauerLatoza’s new tower would intersect with the northwest lobe of Prentice’s cloverleaf form. (Courtesy BauerLatoza Studio)

The top brass in the field of design have long supported preserving Chicago’s Old Prentice Women’s Hospital. Now proposals to save the embattled Bertrand Goldberg building may have economics on their side, too, according to a new report commissioned by advocates who hope to convince owner Northwestern University not to demolish the four-pronged curvilinear tower.

Continue reading after the jump.

Manhattan Street Map by FLATCUT_ Ties Together Experiments In Motion

Fabrikator
Friday, December 14, 2012
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Fabrikator
Fabrikator
The model of Manhattan's street grid floats above visitors, offering a new perspective on the city. (Collin Erickson)

The model of Manhattan’s street grid floats above visitors, offering a new perspective on the city. (Collin Erickson)

Audi and GSAPP teamed with FLATCUT_ to create a 1:1500 scale model of Manhattan’s street grid from 3/16-inch-thick aluminum sheets

This September at the preview of the Lowline Park in Manhattan’s Lower East Side, visitors had the opportunity to absorb nine visions by students from Columbia University Graduate School of Architecture Planning and Preservation (GSAPP) about the future of urban living and mobility. Conducted as the culmination of a yearlong research program in partnership with Audi of America, the exhibition, Experiments in Motion, was tied together and contextualized by a hanging, 50-foot-long, 1:1500 scale model of Manhattan’s street grid. Audi and GSAPP called on New York and New Jersey-based fabrication studio FLATCUT_ to create the model, which also calls out every subway station on the island. The job required the studio to pull off a high wire balancing act: the fabrication of an object both intricate and sturdy, modular yet monolithic. Read More

U of C addition updates old seminary for modern economics department

Other
Thursday, December 13, 2012
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University of Chicago, Becker Friedman Institute (courtesy ann beha architects)

University of Chicago, Becker Friedman Institute (courtesy ann beha architects)

The University of Chicago’s ongoing development is a balancing act of preserving its collegiate gothic badge of architectural honor and making bold contemporary bounds ahead. One project that maintains that equilibrium with grace is Ann Beha Architect’s conversion of the University’s old Theological Seminary into a new economics building.

The area surrounding the site at 58th and University is on the preservation watch list, so the new steel-and-glass research pavilion along Woodlawn Avenue is likely to ruffle a few feathers. But most of the work treads lightly on the site. Glass infill will create a new entryway between the seminary building’s two main wings.

While historic facades remain throughout much of the building, designers hope a new staircase will improve vertical circulation. And a 90-seat classroom anchors an expansion below grade that improves access to existing space, drawing in light from openings to a new loggia above. Placed atop a terra cotta base, the modern addition jives tastefully with the former seminary.

Thomas H. Beeby To Win 2013 Driehaus Prize

Midwest, National
Wednesday, December 12, 2012
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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 2013 Driehaus laureate Thomas H. Beeby. (Courtesy of University of Notre Dame)

One of the “Chicago Seven” architects who broke with the city’s modernist aesthetic during the 1970s and 80s, Thomas H. Beeby, will receive the 2013 Richard H. Driehaus Prize. Considered the traditionalist’s Pritzker Prize, the Driehaus comes with a $200,000 purse and denotes a lifetime of contributions to classicism in contemporary built work.

Continue reading after the jump.

Chicago Architecture Foundation Honors Patrons of the Year

Midwest
Friday, December 7, 2012
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Rush University Medical Center in Chicago, Illinois. (Courtesy Steinkamp Photography)

Rush University Medical Center in Chicago, Illinois. (Courtesy Steinkamp Photography)

The end of the year is nigh, and the season of awards and lists is at hand. In addition to the AIA Chicago awards to be presented tonight, the Chicago Architecture Foundation this week announced their Patron of the Year Awards.

“Good buildings only happen with good clients,” read a statement presented by Williams + Tsien at the ceremony. Great buildings, however, only happen when clients are “unreasonable” in their commitment to good design, the David & Reva Logan Center for the Arts architects said.

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Ray LaHood Touts High-Speed Rail at UIC Urban Forum

Midwest
Friday, December 7, 2012
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Ray LaHood. (Courtesy Ray LaHood/Facebook)

Ray LaHood. (Courtesy Ray LaHood/Facebook)

Cities matter. In the Midwest recent headlines have read like an urban planning syllabus: post-industrial rebirth attracts a new generation of urbanites downtown, the roll-out of high-speed rail begins to pick up pace, and while innovative solutions to the region’s well-documented problems abound, a lingering fiscal crisis and unfunded pension liabilities threaten to squash even the most attainable aspirations.

Those topics and more made the agenda at University of Illinois Chicago’s annual Urban Forum held Thursday, whose lineup included the mayors of Columbus and Pittsburgh, as well as U.S. Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood. “Metropolitan Resilience in a Time of Economic Turmoil” was the topic at hand.

Read More

AIA Chicago to Honor Farr Associates, Valerio Dewalt Train, Lynn Becker, More

Midwest
Thursday, December 6, 2012
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Farr Associates

Farr Associates

AIA Chicago announced their 2012 awards, to be officially presented tomorrow at the chapter’s annual meeting.

Firm of the year goes to Farr Associates, whose sustainable design credentials include seven LEED Platinum projects, two net-zero-energy buildings and three LEED-Neighborhood Developments. Farr was the first firm in the world to rack up three LEED Platinum projects. The New York Times’ Keith Schneider once called them “The most prominent of the city’s growing cadre of ecologically sensitive architects.” Eco-urbanists are in good company these days, and it seems a timely choice by AIA to highlight a firm so actively involved in the hard work of implementing smart growth and sustainable design.

More after the jump.

Architecture Students Build a Pavilion to Engage Detroit’s Empty Space

Dean's List, Midwest
Friday, November 30, 2012
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Empty Pavilion installation in Detroit.

Empty Pavilion installation in Detroit.

Detroit’s stark unemployment and population loss have spurred plenty of ideas for redevelopment, from new manufacturing to urban agriculture. A recently unveiled piece of public art meditates on one thing the city has in excess: empty space.

Continue reading after the jump.

High Speed Rail Picks Up Speed Between Chicago and St. Louis

Midwest
Tuesday, November 27, 2012
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An Amtrak train in Niles, Ill. (Courtesy Wayne Senville, Planning Commissioners Journal)

An Amtrak train in Niles, Ill. (Courtesy Wayne Senville, Planning Commissioners Journal)

Midwest train travelers will enjoy a quicker passage, as Amtrak approves a new top speed of 110 mph for a section of its Chicago-St. Louis route. Though trains will only accelerate to the new top speed over a 15-mile segment, officials said another $1.5 billion investment over three years of upgrades will bring the rest of the track up to speed.

The current top speed is 79 mph over most of the route. Instead of 5 and a half hours, future trips could be under 4 hours. Union Pacific Railroad and Amtrak tested a new system of triggers for highway crossing gates earlier this year.

Amtrak’s Midwest presence has seen a significant ridership boost, following trends around the country. Transit in general may be enjoying a small renaissance, with the CTA counting 16 months of rail and bus line increases. Despite setting ridership records, Amtrak is losing money and faces an uncertain future.

Rockford Valley College May Axe Booth Hansen / Jeanne Gang Project

Midwest
Tuesday, November 20, 2012
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A plan for Rock Valley College's unbuilt Arts Instructional Center. (Courtesy Booth Hansen)

A plan for Rock Valley College’s unbuilt Arts Instructional Center. (Courtesy Booth Hansen)

A push to consolidate art classrooms and performance venues on the campus of a prominent Rockford, Illinois college seems to have hit the doldrums, as Rock Valley College (RVC) administrators shake up priorities and pull back the budget. The Rockford Register Star reported RVC’s new arts instructional center, which received plans from Booth Hansen and Jeanne Gang, may get the axe.

Continue reading after the jump.

“Future Prentice” Proposals Imagine Reuse for Threatened Chicago Icon

Midwest
Friday, November 16, 2012
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The Buildings are sleeping, you should go and wake them up, she says. (Cyril Marsollier and Wallo Villacorta)

The Buildings are sleeping, you should go and wake them up, she says. (Cyril Marsollier and Wallo Villacorta)

On the heels of a surprising, if tenuous, victory in court, preservationists gathered Thursday evening at the Chicago Architecture Foundation to celebrate the opening of Reconsidering an Icon: Creative Conversations About Prentice Women’s Hospital, an exhibition that showcases re-use proposals for Bertrand Goldberg’s threatened icon.

Some of the 71 ideas presented addressed Northwestern University’s stipulations for high-density wet-lab research space on the site, while some imagined other uses for the cloverleaf tower and its blocky podium.

Continue reading after the jump.

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