Bittertang Farms sculpts hay into a North Shore theater for 102nd Ragdale Ring competition

The 2014 Ragdale Ring Design is scheduled for a public unveiling on June 14. (The Bittertang Farm)

The 2014 Ragdale Ring Design is scheduled for a public unveiling on June 14. (Courtesy Bittertang Farm)

Studio Gang’s treehouse revamp of Writers Theatre isn’t the only North Shore performance space to dance with organic forms. Designers Michael Loverich and Antonio Torres of The Bittertang Farm won $15,000 to install a temporary stage for performances in Lake Forest, where renderings show sculpted piles of hay and wavy architectural forms that “melt into the existing landscape.”

Continue reading after the jump.

Frank Lloyd Wright’s only handicap-accessible home opens for public tours

Frank Lloyd Wright's Laurent House at dusk. (Nels Akerlund)

Frank Lloyd Wright’s Laurent House at dusk. (Nels Akerlund)

Decades before the Americans With Disabilities Act, Frank Lloyd Wright designed an accessible home for a World War II veteran. Now Wright’s only home designed for a person with a disability will open to the public. Wright’s Kenneth & Phyllis Laurent House in Rockford, Illinois opens for tours on June 6, two days before what would have been its architect’s 147th birthday.

Continue reading after the jump.

“Tilt!” tips tourists out from Chicago’s John Hancock Tower

Midwest, News, Skyscrapers
Monday, May 12, 2014
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"Tilt!," a new attraction at Chicago's John Hancock Center, opened this weekend. (360Chicago)

“Tilt!,” a new attraction at Chicago’s John Hancock Center, opened this weekend. (360Chicago)

Visitors to Chicago’s John Hancock Tower this weekend were, of course, treated to the skyscraper’s stunning views of Lake Michigan and downtown Chicago, but the thrill-seekers among them also had another option. On the 94th floor, up to eight people at a time can stand in a glass box that tilts out 20 degrees, dangling them 1,000 feet above the street.

Continue reading after the jump.

Friday> Freecell & Pulitzer Foundation turn a vacant lot in St. Louis into a parade of public programs

Conceptual rendering of Lots at the PXSTL site  Image. (Freecell Architecture via Pulitzer Foundation)

Conceptual rendering of Lots at the PXSTL site. (Freecell Architecture via Pulitzer Foundation)

Last year, a vacant lot across the street from the Pulitzer Foundation in St. Louis became the site of a design competition for a temporary built-environment installation. New York’s Freecell Architecture won PXSTL’s $50,000 project budget and $10,000 honorarium for a proposal to erect an adjustable canopy for performances and gatherings—an idea Kristina Van Dyke, director of the Pulitzer Foundation, called “both monumental and ephemeral at the same time.”

Continue reading after the jump.

Work to begin on Cincinnati’s Central Parkway bike path

Chicago's first protected bike lane—photographed at Kinzie and Jefferson streets Monday, July 25, 2011—is cited as a model for Cincinnati's Central Parkway plan.  (E. Jason Wambsgans/ Chicago Tribune)

Chicago’s first protected bike lane—photographed at Kinzie and Jefferson streets Monday, July 25, 2011 for the Chicago Tribune—is cited as a model for Cincinnati’s Central Parkway plan. (Courtesy E. Jason Wambsgans/ Chicago Tribune via City of Cincinnati)

Cyclists in Cincinnati will soon have a separated bike lane along Central Parkway—a major connector between neighborhoods including Downtown, the West End, and Over-the-Rhine—following a narrow City Council vote last week. Read More

Developer scales back Clark & Belmont mid-rise for Chicago’s Lakeview neighborhood

Midwest, News
Tuesday, May 6, 2014
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03b-clark-belmont-tower-chicago-archpaper03a-clark-belmont-tower-chicago-archpaper

Six months after its proposal for a mid-sized development on the site of Chicago’s one-time “punk rock donut shop” raised height concerns, developer BlitzLake Capital Partners has scaled back its plans. Now the mixed-use development at the corner of Belmont and Clark in the Lakeview neighborhood is hoping for eight stories instead of 11.

Continue reading after the jump.

On View> ‘CHGO DSGN’ probes the past and present of Chicago Design

Art, Design, Midwest, On View
Wednesday, April 30, 2014
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(CHGO DSGN)

(CHGO DSGN)

It looks like design history is in the air here in Chicago. The Chicago Design Museum is in the middle of a Kickstarter campaign to launch an exhibition looking back at 100 years of graphic arts. Chicagoisms just opened at The Art Institute—a meditation on Chicago’s architectural history and mythology that builds off a previous exhibition of unbuilt work reviewed here.

Now another exhibit glances at Chicago’s design history to better assess its present and future.

Continue reading after the jump.

Louisville Names Winners in Competition to Creatively Reuse Abandoned Lots Across the City

(dye scape)

(dye scape)

In January Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer implored local designers and developers to propose ideas for 250 of the city’s several thousand vacant lots. Last week they announced four winners, which included gardens of dye plants for local textile production; a Habitat for Humanity–style homeownership program; environmental remediation via lavender fields; and meditation gardens made of recycled materials.

See the winning proposals after the jump.

Here’s Your Chance To Live in a Frank Lloyd Wright House For the Weekend

Frank Lloyd Wright's Emil Bach House, 7415 N. Sheridan Rd.

Frank Lloyd Wright’s Emil Bach House, 7415 N. Sheridan Rd.

A recently restored Frank Lloyd Wright house on Chicago’s far North Side will be open for weekly tours this summer, starting May 7. The Emil Bach House, 7415 North Sheridan Road, is a Chicago Landmark and an entry on the National Register of Historic Places. As a vacation rental, the carefully crafted private dwelling invites Wright enthusiasts to stay a while.

Continue reading after the jump.

Rahm Emanuel looks to lure George Lucas museum to Chicago

Midwest, News
Wednesday, April 23, 2014
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With his wife Mellody Hobson, who heads a Chicago investment firm, film mogul George Lucas serves as Grand Marshall of the 2013 Modesto American Graffiti Car Show and Festival parade. (hharryus / Flickr)

With his wife Mellody Hobson, who heads a Chicago investment firm, film mogul George Lucas serves as Grand Marshall of the 2013 Modesto American Graffiti Car Show and Festival parade. (hharryus / Flickr)

A short time from now in a neighborhood not far, far away… filmmaker extraordinaire George Lucas may land his art and film museum in Chicago. The move comes after the filmmaker’s bid to build the museum in San Francisco fell through last year. Read More

Milwaukee pushes urban agriculture for vacant land

Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett is pushing a plan to turn parcels of city-owned vacant land into urban farms and orchards. The HOME GR/OWN program has long been stalled, but received a boost from the Bloomberg Mayors Challenge.

Continue reading after the jump.

Valerio Dewalt Train’s 13-Story Hyde Park Development Advances With Changes

An updated design for Vue53 in Chicago's Hyde Park. (Courtesy Valerio Dewalt Train Associates)

An updated design for Vue53 in Chicago’s Hyde Park. (Courtesy Valerio Dewalt Train Associates)

Last year, Mesa Development and the University of Chicago announced they’d planned a 13-story mixed-use development for the western end of Hyde Park’s 53rd Street commercial strip. The massive project drew opposition to its scale and a lawsuit delayed construction—until now.

See how the design has changed after the jump.

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