Letter to the Editor> Golden Age of Rail

Denver's expanded Union Station. (Robert Polidori)

Denver’s expanded Union Station. (Robert Polidori)

[Editor's Note: The following comment was left at archpaper.com in reference to John Gendall’s feature article on multi-modal transit hubs (“The Golden Ticket” AN 07_08.06.2914_MW). Opinions expressed in letters to the editor do not necessarily reflect the opinions or sentiments of the newspaper. AN welcomes reader letters, which could appear in our regional print editions. To share your opinion, please email editor@archpaper.com]

The original design of all grand U.S. railroad stations fit the architectural design foundation “form follows function.” Unfortunately the years have not been kind to these railroad stations. Real estate developers have coveted the rail yard property for non-transportation development. In some cases these rail yards have yielded to interstates, highways, and streets. This has transformed the depot (waiting room, ticket offices, etc.) into just “a nice old building that used to serve the traveling public.”

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Pictorial> Minneapolis’ downtown transit hub by Perkins Eastman, “green central”

Minneapolis hosted the Major League Baseball All Star Game this year, and many of the 41,000 people in attendance used some new public transit to get there. In May the city opened Target Field Station—a multimodal transit hub and public space at the foot of the Twins’ Target Field that designers Perkins Eastman hope will catalyze development.

More photos after the jump.

Tour 150 of Chicago’s architectural gems this weekend for free at Open House Chicago

The 190 South LaSalle building was designed by Philip Johnson and John Burgee in 1968 as an homage to Burnham & Root’s demolished 1892 Masonic Temple Building. (Eric Allix Rogers)

The 190 South LaSalle building was designed by Philip Johnson and John Burgee in 1968 as an homage to Burnham & Root’s demolished 1892 Masonic Temple Building. (Eric Allix Rogers)

Open House Chicago is this weekend, October 18 and 19, when 150 of the city’s architectural gems—both new and old, well-known and obscure, public year-round and off-limits but for now—open their doors to enthusiasts of the built environment, free of charge. Read More

Long-vacant grain silos in Chicago up for auction, future uncertain

One of Chicago‘s most visible rust-belt remnants is up for sale, just in time for its cameo in the Transformers 4 movie. The derelict Santa Fe grain elevator has been a favorite hangout for squatters, graffiti artists and ruin-porn enthusiasts since 1977, when a fire and explosion ended 70 years of industrial history there.

Continue reading after the jump.

Michigan Avenue’s newest high-rise by bKL Architecture is under construction

from left: Charles Becker, Becker Ventures; Dan Raleigh, Partners Group (USA)Inc.; Carrie Meghie, Becker Ventures; John Buck, The John Buck Company; Rahm Emanuel, Mayor of Chicago; Michael Glandt, Fifth Third Bank; Mark Degner, Partners Group (USA Inc.; and Scott Egarian, Partners Group (Donna Binbek)

from left: Charles Becker, Becker Ventures; Dan Raleigh, Partners Group (USA)Inc.; Carrie Meghie, Becker Ventures; John Buck, The John Buck Company; Rahm Emanuel, Mayor of Chicago; Michael Glandt, Fifth Third Bank; Mark Degner and Scott Egarian, Partners Group (USA)Inc. (Photo: Donna Binbek)

Last year AN broke news of plans for the first residential high-rise on Chicago’s North Michigan Avenue in decades. Last Friday, James McHugh Construction Company and Pepper Construction Company broke ground on the 41-story tower at 200 N. Michigan Ave., which is expected to be complete in mid-2016.

Continue reading after the jump.

PART Studio Plays Peek-a-boo with Plywood

Brought to you with support from:
Fabrikator
PART Studio designed the plywood Peek-a-boo Curtain to behave like fabric. (Courtesy PART Studio)

PART Studio designed the plywood Peek-a-boo Curtain to behave like fabric. (Courtesy PART Studio)

Louisville installation elicits fabric-like behavior from wood.

PART Studio designed and built their plywood Peek-a-boo Curtain in just four days, after a last-minute invitation from Louisville arts and business networking organization I.D.E.A.S. 40203. “We went to a meeting, talked about it, then drove to the plywood store,” recalled principal Nathan Smith. Luckily, the architects were not starting from scratch. Rather, Smith and partner Mark Foxworth seized the opportunity to build a full-scale mock-up of an idea they had been tossing around for some time: a curtain that, though built of wood, would behave like fabric. Staged at FirstBuild, a design and fabrication studio run through a partnership between GE Appliances and Local Motors, the exhibition also gave the designers a chance to explore the space between art and commerce. “With our piece we were looking not only to span the specific interests of the groups involved, but also to consider the relationships between product design, art, and architectural design,” said Smith. Read More

Cook County mulls options for long-abandoned, beaux-arts hospital in Chicago

(Courtesy Chicago Architecture Foundation)

(Courtesy Chicago Architecture Foundation)

Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle briefly took the lectern at the Chicago Architecture Foundation (CAF) Tuesday night to welcome presentations on the future of an infamous white elephant structure on the city’s near West Side: the old Cook County Hospital building. “We believe that this building has inherent value,” Preckwinkle said, “and that a thoughtful process like this can help unlock that value.” Read More

Pictorial> Take a tour of Paul Rudolph’s only house in Detroit

Architecture, Midwest
Wednesday, October 8, 2014
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(Michelle & Chris Gerard)

(Michelle & Chris Gerard)

Today, AN reported on Detroit’s lone house designed by architect Paul Rudolph called the Parcells House. According to our article, “The waterfront home faces Lake Saint Clair and was designed to give waterfront views to almost every room. As the home sits on a lot at the end of a cul-de-sac where heavy plantings and trees cover the driveway and maintain privacy, it is, for the most part, only viewable by boat.” Check out a slideshow of the inside and outside of the house below and be sure to learn more about the property, currently on the market, over here.

View the slideshow after the jump.

Eavesdrop> The Great Chicago Fire Festival was a bust

Art, Media, Midwest
Monday, October 6, 2014
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The house appears to be much more on fire than it actually is. (Henry Melcher / AN)

The house appears to be much more on fire than it actually is. (Henry Melcher / AN)

In 1871, the Great Chicago Fire ripped through the city’s streets and spurred a massive urban renewal. On Saturday, in an attempt to honor that city-defining event, some kayakers paddled around the Chicago River and tried to light some fake houses on fire. It was all part of the $2 million Great Chicago Fire Festival put on by the Redmoon Theater Company. But on Saturday night, it quickly became clear that the festival would be neither great nor full of fire. You could say the festival fizzled out or that it failed to ignite. Both will do.

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Saturday> Fire Festival to light up the Chicago River

Architecture, Art, Midwest
Friday, October 3, 2014
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The inaugural Great Chicago Fire Festival takes place October 4. (Redmoon Theater)

The inaugural Great Chicago Fire Festival takes place October 4. (Redmoon Theater)

A new downtown festival launching tomorrow celebrates the “grit, greatness and renewal” of Chicago by paying tribute its greatest tragedy. In a move reminiscent of Las Fallas in Valencia, Spain, The Chicago Fire Festival will float some theatrical pyrotechnics down the Chicago River on Saturday evening. Read More

Beer, Shakespeare, and hip hop take over a vacant lot in Downtown Louisville

ReSurfaced, a pop-up festival occupying a vacant lot in downtown Louisville. (Urban Design Studio)

ReSurfaced, a pop-up festival occupying a vacant lot in downtown Louisville. (Urban Design Studio via Flickr)

What can you do with a vacant lot? Urban activists in Louisville have set out to show just how much with an ongoing pop-up festival of sorts at 615-621 West Main Street, an empty plot of land in the heart of downtown where REX‘s Museum Plaza skyscraper was once set to rise.

Continue reading after the jump.

Chicago’s big building owners embrace the smart grid

Chicago is one of 10 cities targeted by philanthropies for energy efficiency savings. (josh*m via flickr)

Large downtown buildings make up a disproportionate share of the built environment’s energy usage. (josh*m via flickr)

The members of Chicago‘s Building Owners and Managers Association (BOMA) control nearly 80 percent of downtown Chicago’s rentable building area. That makes them critical to local energy efficiency initiatives that aim to reduce the nearly 40 percent of U.S. energy that is consumed by buildings. Read More

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