Minneapolis Mayor cheers on Nicollet Mall revamp

Nicollet Walk Tree Groves (COURTESY JAMES CORNER FIELD OPERATIONS)

Nicollet’s Crystal Stair (COURTESY JAMES CORNER FIELD OPERATIONS)

As a team of designers gear up for an overhaul of Nicollet Mall, dubbed Minneapolis’ main street, civic leaders there have cheered on the project in an op-ed in the StarTribune. Read More

Chicago breaks ground on Navy Pier flyover for Lakefront Trail

navy pier flyover rendering (city of chicago)

navy pier flyover rendering (city of chicago)

Bicyclists and pedestrians cruising down Chicago’s 18-mile Lakefront Trail generally enjoy an exceptionally open, continuous and scenic path along Lake Michigan. But near Navy Pier they’re shunted inland, underneath a highway, onto sidewalks and through road crossings that interrupt their journey in the middle of one of the popular pathway’s most congested corridors.

The Navy Pier Flyover, announced in 2011, was designed to remedy that situation, and today Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced the project has officially broken ground. Read More

Is expanding Chicago’s soldier field a hail mary pass?

Midwest
Thursday, March 13, 2014
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Chicago's Soldier Field (left) against the South Loop skyline. (--Mike-- / Flickr)

Chicago’s Soldier Field (left) against the South Loop skyline. (–Mike– / Flickr)

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel is reportedly considering a plan to boost capacity at Soldier Field, the city’s football stadium, in a bid to host the Super Bowl.

But as the Chicago Tribune’s Blair Kamin laid out in a story Sunday, the play is a Hail Mary. Read More

Power Stations, Polish Church, West Side SRO Make Preservation Chicago’s “Most Threatened” Buildings List

Midwest, Preservation
Friday, March 7, 2014
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the 1903 turbine hall at fisk (courtesy skyscraper page)

the 1903 turbine hall at fisk (courtesy skyscraper page)

Preservation Chicago released its annual “Most Threatened” historic buildings list, which includes two early 20th-century power stations that were part of the city’s now-defunct coal plant corridor on the southwest side.

Continue reading after the jump.

Perkins + Will folds in Freelon Group Architects, expands North Carolina practice

East, National, Shft+Alt+Del
Wednesday, March 5, 2014
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Freelon's Museum of the African Diaspora (Todd HidoEDGE)

Freelon’s Museum of the African Diaspora. (Todd HidoEDGE)

Design giant Perkins + Will has swallowed up Freelon Group Architects, one of the country’s most prominent African American–led firms. The firms announced Tuesday that North Carolina–based Phil Freelon will help lead Perkins + Will’s design efforts in the region and globally.

Continue reading after the jump.

Aqua Tower team dives back in for new Chicago project by Studio Gang

studio gang architects' aqua tower (joevare via flickr)

Detail of the rippling facade of Studio Gang Architects’ Aqua Tower. (joevare / Flickr)

With the real estate market drifting through a relative recovery, one prominent Chicago developer seems to be saying, “Come back in, the water’s fine.” The team behind Chicago’s Aqua Tower is gearing up for another high-rise nearby. Chicago-based Magellan Development Group hired Studio Gang Architects for another tower in the 28-acre master-planned neighborhood of Lakeshore East.

Continue reading after the jump.

Julie Snow Architects changes name, promotes new co-principal

Midwest
Thursday, February 27, 2014
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julie snow and matt kreilich (holcim foundation)

Julie Snow and Matthew Kreilich (holcim foundation)

One of the country’s most prominent female-led firms has named a new co-principal. Julie Snow Architects will now go by Snow Kreilich Architects. Matthew Kreilich, one of Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal’s “40 Under 40” in 2013, is now a partner and design principal of the Twin Cities-based firm. Kreilich has worked at Julie Snow Architects for 10 years. Read More

New York City Zoning Board Burns Studio Gang’s “Solar Carve” Tower Along the High Line

Development, East, Midwest, News
Friday, February 21, 2014
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(Courtesy Studio Gang)

(Courtesy Studio Gang)

Chicago’s Studio Gang Architects announced plans for their New York debut in late 2012. The proposed building, located near the High Line along 10th Avenue between 13th and 14th streets, features a serrated edge that maximizes daylight on the elevated park next door—Jeanne Gang called it “solar carving.”

But the legal path to realizing that faceted glass facade had some unexpected kinks of its own.

Continue reading after the jump.

Chicago Mulls Zoning Changes To Ward Off Mountains of Petcoke

Midwest, Newsletter
Wednesday, February 19, 2014
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Petcoke stored along the Calumet River on Chicago's Southeast Side, between 106th and 100th streets. (Josh Mogerman via Flickr)

Petcoke stored along the Calumet River on Chicago’s Southeast Side, between 106th and 100th streets. (Josh Mogerman / Flickr)

Piles of dusty, black waste from coal and petroleum processing have been piling up on Chicago’s southeast side, angering residents and prompting Mayor Rahm Emanuel to weigh in on the contentious environmental issue.

The Sun-Times has reported that Emanuel will introduce an ordinance at next month’s City Council meeting banning new storage facilities for so-called petcoke—a byproduct of the oil refinery process that can be sold overseas. It’s a step back from an outright ban proposed in December by Alderman Edward Burke, whose constituents were outraged by black dust clouds wafting from uncovered piles of petcoke along the Calumet River. Read More

“Sculpture City” Invites Dialogue On Public Art in St. Louis

Midwest
Tuesday, February 18, 2014
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St. Louis' Gateway Arch under construction. (Courtesy Missouri State Archives)

St. Louis’ Gateway Arch under construction. (Courtesy Missouri State Archives)

It’s open season for public art in St. Louis, according to the groups behind Sculpture City St. Louis 2014—an ongoing festival “intended to draw attention to the rich presence sculpture has in the visual landscape of our region.” The programming leads up to and continues after an April conference.

Art exhibitions throughout the year aim to continue the conversation. For instance, Art of Its Own Making, a show at the Pulitzer Foundation for the Arts that features sculpture, installation, film, and performance works through August 20.

Read More

Civic group calls on Chicago to expand car-free zones

Harry and Guenter Kempf Plaza in Chicago's Lincoln Square. (Google Maps)

Harry and Guenter Kempf Plaza in Chicago’s Lincoln Square. (Google Maps)

The jostle of potholes notwithstanding, motorists might find nothing unbalanced about Chicago’s public streets. But the Active Transportation Alliance points out while nearly a quarter of the city is in the public right-of-way, cars dominate practically all of it.

Citing the city’s Make Way for People initiative, which turns over underused street space to pedestrians, the group released 20 proposals Wednesday, calling on City Hall to create car-free spaces from Wrigley Field to Hyde Park. Read More

Chicago Spire developer moves to settle bankruptcy, revive project

Development, Midwest, News
Friday, February 7, 2014
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spire

Chicago’s stalled supertall Spire could rise again, according to the Irish developer who went into foreclosure in 2010 after a protracted legal battle over the project.

Garrett Kelleher’s lawyers on Thursday filed papers in U.S. Bankruptcy Court seeking court approval to move ahead with the Chicago Spire, which remains a hole in the ground at 400 North Lake Shore Drive. Kelleher said a $135 million investment from Atlas Apartment Holdings would allow him to settle bankruptcy claims in full but, as reported in the Chicago Tribune, the court filings don’t say how much more money would be needed to fund the construction of the 2,000-foot-tall condo skyscraper.

Read More

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