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.

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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.

Pedal On, Columbus: Bike Share Contract Approved

Midwest
Friday, November 16, 2012
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Columbus will become the first city in Ohio to offer a bike share program. (Courtesy Gary Brown/Flickr & ser_lorenz/Flickr

Columbus will become the first city in Ohio to offer a bike share program. (Courtesy Gary Brown/Flickr & ser_lorenz/Flickr

Bicyclists, add Columbus to the list: the capital of Ohio approved a $2.3 million contract with Alta Bicycle Share on Monday. Starting in May, users will be able to pay $5 per day via credit card to roam the greater downtown area on a three-speed bicycle. Yearly memberships will be about $65, which will include unlimited 30-minute rides for the year, but they will have to pay more for longer rides.

Columbus is the first city in Ohio with such a program, but there has been talk in Cleveland and Cincinnati.

Milwaukee Rails-to-Trails Project Would Bridge Racial Gaps with Repurposed Tires

Midwest
Thursday, November 15, 2012
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The abandoned rail line eyed for The Artery. (Courtesy Matireal)

The abandoned rail line eyed for The Artery. (Courtesy Matireal)

Two students in Milwaukee have grand plans for their own version of the High Line, or Chicago’s Bloomingdale Trail, albeit at ground level. The 2.4-mile trail would connect racially segregated neighborhoods and turn an abandoned railroad line into an outdoor artwalk.

Keith Hayes and Rob Zdanowski crafted a profile of the geo-textile called “matireal” that they hope will comprise Milwaukee’s “Artery” — an 18-inch-by-4-foot reduction of car tires set in a polycarbonate case. Some of the materials come directly from the trail itself, including the tires’ rubber and the gravel that fills the cells in between.

Continue reading after the jump.

UPDATE: Preservationists Sue to Save Chicago’s Prentice Hospital, Win Temporary Protection

Midwest
Thursday, November 15, 2012
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Old Prentice Women's Hospital, now the subject of a legal battle. (Hedrich Blessing, courtesy of Estate of Bertrand Goldberg/ Strawn.Sierralta with Plural Design)

Old Prentice Women’s Hospital, now the subject of a legal battle. (Hedrich Blessing, courtesy of Estate of Bertrand Goldberg/ Strawn.Sierralta with Plural Design)

A bizarre parliamentary maneuver two weeks ago granted and subsequently revoked landmark status for Bertrand Goldberg’s embattled Old Prentice Women’s Hospital in Chicago, leading some to speculate about legal recourse for a coalition of preservationists who have fought owner Northwestern University’s plans to demolish the building. Today members of that coalition took their battle to court, alleging the Commission on Chicago Landmarks “acted arbitrarily and exceeded its authority.”

Continue reading after the jump.

Two Designs Take First at 2012 Cleveland Design Competition

Midwest
Wednesday, November 14, 2012
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“Bridgewalk” from New York’s Archilier Architecture reimagined Cleveland's Detroit-Superior Bridge.

“Bridgewalk” from New York’s Archilier Architecture reimagined Cleveland’s Detroit-Superior Bridge.

The annual Cleveland Design Competition, organized by architects Micahel Christoff and Bradley Fink, called on designers to imagine a revitalized Detroit-Superior Bridge spanning the Cuyahoga River. The jury unanimously awarded first prize to two submissions that highlighted the bridge as a catalyst for urban reinvigoration.

“Transforming The Bridge” asked competitors to redesign the abandoned lower deck of the bridge, also known as Veterans Memorial Bridge, which connects downtown Cleveland with its industrial Flats neighborhood and west side.

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