Development ramps up in Chicago’s Logan Square neighborhood, provokes class tensions

Development, Midwest
Wednesday, August 20, 2014
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The Logan Square lot long home to "Mega Mall," a blighted flea market and two surface parking lots, may become "Logan's Crossing," an updated retail hub along an increasingly busy stretch of Milwaukee Avenue. (Courtesy Antunovich Associates via Curbed Chicago)

The Logan Square lot long home to “Mega Mall,” a flea market and two surface parking lots, may become “Logan’s Crossing,” an updated retail hub along an increasingly busy stretch of Milwaukee Avenue. (Courtesy Antunovich Associates via Curbed Chicago)

Bigger developments are targeting Logan Square lately, sparking local debates about what direction is best for the majority Latino neighborhood on Chicago’s northwest side.

Continue reading after the jump.

Goettsch Partners to design five towers in booming Shenzhen’s Qianhai district

Chicago's Goettsch Partners will design five towers for Shenzhen, China's Qianhai district, which Chinese authorities say will one day be the "Manhattan of the Pearl River Delta." (Goesttch Partners)

Chicago’s Goettsch Partners will design five towers for Shenzhen, China’s Qianhai district, which Chinese authorities say will one day be the “Manhattan of the Pearl River Delta.” (Goesttch Partners)

Goettsch Partners landed its largest project in China, a cluster of five towers on 15 acres in Shenzhen’s Qianhai district. China Resources Land Limited (CR Land) hired the Chicago-based Goettsch to design 5.4 million square feet of space for offices, apartments, a five-star hotel, and retail. U.K.–based Benoy is the masterplanner, and is designing a shopping mall and retail areas at the towers’ base.

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Chicago Placemaking Festival Aims to teach Old Places New Tricks

Art, City Terrain, Midwest, Urbanism
Friday, August 15, 2014
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(Metropolitan Planning Council)

(Metropolitan Planning Council)

In a few short years, the term placemaking has migrated from wonky urban planning circles to neighborhoods across the country—that communities come together around public space is no groundbreaking observation, but when successful the idea can be revolutionary on a local scale.

So hopes Chicago’s Metropolitan Planning Council, who this weekend will sponsor “Old Place New Tricks,” a bid to “activate” neighborhoods from Englewood to Ravenswood with public space interventions that range from a “healthy eating happy hour” to “Selfie Sunday.”

More info after the jump.

Pictorial> New photos illuminate Cleveland’s “AHA!” festival of lights

“The Global Rainbow” in Cleveland by artist Yvette Mattern. (frank lanza)

“The Global Rainbow” in Cleveland by artist Yvette Mattern. (Frank Lanza)

Last week AN plugged an event that aimed to turn downtown Cleveland into a festival of lights. Sure enough, colorful projections flooded the walls of downtown cultural institutions while a massive rainbow arched over the city and iridescent discs of rainbow light saw curious Clevelanders clambering about.

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Detroit’s infamous theater-turned-parking garage sold at auction

Detroit's crumbling Michigan Theatre has fallen into disrepair since its 1926 construction. (Hermann Schleicher-Roevenstrunck via Flickr)

Detroit’s Michigan Theatre has fallen into disrepair since its 1926 construction. (Hermann Schleicher-Roevenstrunck via Flickr)

Detroit’s Michigan Theatre remains iconic, but not for the reasons that made it so during its early 20th century heyday. Now the opulent 1926 concert hall holds parked cars instead of theater-goers. Will it remain a symbol of Detroit’s struggle to recover from long-term disinvestment, or could it become emblematic of the city’s resilience?

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Detroit “Reanimate the Ruins” Ideas Competition Tackles Historic Packard Automotive Plant

1st-Place-2

The competition winning proposal, Cross the Plant, by Vincent Lavergne.

In 2009, vandals pushed a dump truck through a hole in the wall on the fourth story of the abandoned Packard Automotive Plant in Detroit. (Of course there’s a video.) It’s a level of dereliction and decay that’s frankly common to North America’s foremost basket-case city, but it’s made a bit more poignant by the fact that the plant (built in 1907 and closed in the late ’90s) was once an icon of Detroit’s command over automotive technology and the automotive industry. The 3.5-million-square-foot facility was designed by Albert Kahn to produce luxury cars, and was the first of its type to use a reinforced concrete structure.

But now it’s time for some more creative thinking about how to use the Packard site.

This Weekend> Giant rainbows and iridescent pools light up Cleveland

Art, Lighting, Midwest, News, On View
Friday, August 8, 2014
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Jen Lewin's "The Pool" (Jen Lewin Studio)

Jen Lewin’s “The Pool” (Jen Lewin Studio)

Through Saturday night, a public art project by LAND studio is turning Cleveland’s downtown malls into canvases for light displays including sweeping rainbows, iridescent discs, and high-definition projections. “Light Up Cleveland!” runs August 7–9 and is sponsored by a slew of companies and nonprofits. You can see a map and full schedule of events on ahacle.com.

Continue reading after the jump.

Eavesdrop> Sign of the Times: Reflecting on Chicago Summer-Long Trump Tower Saga

Chicago's Trump Tower and its notorious sign. (edward stojakovic / Flickr)

Chicago’s Trump Tower and its notorious sign. (edward stojakovic / Flickr)

Mr. Donald Trump has bestowed upon fair Chicago an ode to his own self-worth, spurring an architectural debate that’s pulled in Mayor Rahm Emanuel, Jon Stewart, and plenty more. Grab a bag of popcorn and we’ll catch you up.

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On View> Chicagoisms at the Art Institute of Chicago

Architecture, Art, Design, Midwest, On View
Thursday, August 7, 2014
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(Courtesy Art Institute of Chicago)

(Courtesy Art Institute of Chicago)

Chicagoisms
Art Institute of Chicago
111 South Michigan Avenue, Chicago, Ilinois
Through January 4, 2015

Chicagoisms is an ongoing exhibition at the Art Institute of Chicago that focuses on key historical principles—“Chicagoisms”—that went into creating and shaping the city that we know today. The exhibition was put together by architectural theorist Alexander Eisenschmidt and art historian Jonathan Mekinda working with designer Matt Wizinsky.

Read More

10,000 sunflowers help rehab a vacant lot in St. Louis

As part of Washington University's Land Lab program, a vacant lot in St. Louis was made into a sunflower field. (Richard Reilly)

As part of Washington University’s Land Lab program, a vacant lot in St. Louis was made into a sunflower field. (Richard Reilly)

On a long-abandoned lot in St. Louis’ near north side, 10,000 sunflowers are sucking up the heavy metals that have helped stall development there for “longer than neighbors care to remember,” reported the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

The project is called Sunflower+. It’s one of the winners of St. Louis’ inaugural “Sustainable Land Lab” competition, which was organized by Washington University in St. Louis and city officials. Over the next two years, the design team will cultivate and harvest four rotations of summer sunflowers and winter wheat on the vacant lot, hopefully preparing it for redevelopment in the future.

Continue reading after the jump.

Mortgage fraud money to remake historic homes in Chicago’s Pullman area

THE 12000 BLOCK OF SOUTH CHAMPLAIN AVENUE AND THE 11200 BLOCK OF SOUTH FORESTVILLE AVENUE FEATURE SOME OF PULLMAN'S HISTORIC HOMES AND HOTELS. (HPF / ROBERT SHYMANSKI)

(HPF / ROBERT SHYMANSKI)

Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan announced Tuesday $1.9 million—most of which comes from the state’s portion of a federal settlement with banks over mortgage fraud—will go to rehab historic homes in Chicago’s Pullman neighborhood. Read More

Bittertang Farms’ organic amphitheater sprouts from straw in Lake Forest, Illinois

Buru Buru amphitheatre at the Ragdale Ring in Lake Forest, Illinois. (Bittertang Farms)

Buru Buru amphitheatre at the Ragdale Ring in Lake Forest, Illinois. (Bittertang Farms)

Work wrapped up this summer on Bittertang Farms’ installation at Ragdale, the nonprofit artists’ community in Chicago’s North Shore suburbs, and true to its plans the straw amphitheater springs forth from a lush hillside in Lake Forest, Illinois.

Continue reading after the jump.

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