Although it gets more daily traffic than Midway Airport, Chicago’s main rail hub remains little more than a waypoint for most people—a bustling transit station buried beneath an often empty Beaux Arts volume.
The Metropolitan Planning Council wants to change that. Their new placemaking contest, Activate Union Station, calls on architects, landscape architects, planners and designers of all stripes to submit ideas for a design-build program that will enliven the underused West Loop hub.
Chicago’s plan to extend and revamp its downtown riverwalk got a major shot in the arm from the feds last week.
U.S. Dept of Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood announced the federal government will loan the city $99 million under the Transportation Finance Innovation Act, a program geared at transportation projects of “national and regional significance.” Mayor Rahm Emanuel had previously set his sights on just such funding, as well as financial sponsors for ongoing maintenance.
The project, which is scheduled to be finished by 2016, hopes to draw more attention to the riverfront. Designs by Sasaki Associates, Alfred Benesch & Co., Ross Barney Architects, and Jacobs/Ryan Associates call for six unique identities across six downtown blocks of the Chicago River, such as The Jetty, The Cove, and The River Theater. Read more about the design in AN‘s previous report.
The fate of an 8,500-square-foot house designed in 1970 by architect Romaldo Giurgola in Wayzata, Minnesota hangs in the balance following what the Minneapolis Star-Tribune reported as 2012′s priciest single-family housing deal in the Twin Cities. Just months after paying $10 million for the lakefront property, the new owner, Cargill heir Donald C. MacMillan, has presented plans that could include the building’s demolition.
For the first time in half a century, residents of Cincinnati and Covington, Ky. can traverse the Ohio River on foot via Roebling Bridge, thanks to a pedestrian connector reopened June 4. The Roebling Bridge Pedestrian Connector ties Cincinnati’s central riverfront, the site of some major mixed-use development of late, to the city of Covington.
The $430,000 project is part of The Banks’ public infrastructure improvement program. Lane closures will accompany renovations on the north end of the bridge, where a new roundabout and traffic signal will take a few months to complete. Pedestrians, however, can walk on through.
Let’s just hope a certain New York City mayoral candidate doesn’t confuse the Roebling Bridge with its big brother in Brooklyn and snap a photo for his website!
Dubbed “The Gateway,” the portion of State Street between Lake Street and Wacker Drive features shaded tables and chairs in what the city is calling its first “People Plaza.” Flowerboxes, banners, and bright red and blue colors lighten up the otherwise utilitarian median. While the spot’s central location is probably its greatest asset in attracting visitors, satisfying views of downtown’s architectural gems impart some elegance to the straightforward design.
During the discussion that followed the announcement of 2013’s Burnham Prize winners, much was made of the difference between “gold-standard” bus rapid transit and watered-down “express bus” service. The key difference is that the real thing not only runs more smoothly, but that it feels like a special experience.
So it was for the honorees of the prize ceremony, which this year included three winners, three honorable mentions, and three citations. Their prompt, “Next Stop,” asked them to design stations for Chicago’s burgeoning network of bus rapid transit systems.
Abelardo Morell: The Universe Next Door
Art Institute of Chicago
111 South Michigan Avenue
Through September 2, 2013
Abelardo Morell is a Cuban-born American photographer who over the past 25 years has used photography and his unique way of looking at the world to create compelling works of art. Morell finds inspiration for his pictures in the environment he is most comfortable in, his home. The subjects of Morell’s photographs are common household objects—still lives of books and money—but the photographer is most known for his Camera Obscura series. To create these unique, large-format photographs, Morell cuts out a small opening in a dark room that reveals a view of the outside world. An upside down image of the outside is then projected back into the interior of the room. Morell then photographs a projection of the outside world set against the common objects that fill a room’s interior, such as a bed, or a table of stacked books. This exhibition features more than 100 of the artist’s works in which he experimented with various techniques, including photograms, still-life tableaux, stop-motion studies, and the tent camera.
Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit
4454 Woodward Avenue
Before his passing at the young age of 57, Los-Angeles based artist Mike Kelley created an exact duplicate of his childhood home in the Westland area of Detroit, on-wheels. The artist intended to use the mobile-home as a community center, it’s rooms dedicated to hosting local events and providing community services and education programs, save for the two-story basement, which he would close to the public and use as his private underground studio. Kelley was never able to use his studio. He tragically committed suicide before he could ever see his vision come to life, but his artistic legacy lives on. The mobile home, which provides a solid example of the architecture of working-class neighborhoods in the American Midwest, was wheeled to The Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit where it has been transformed into a center for community programs, just as Kelley intended.
The Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts announced the recipients of their 2013 Grants to Individuals Friday. Half of the 60 international grantees were present for the awards ceremony in Chicago May 29, and were congratulated by Stanley Tigerman, a former recipient himself.
Chicago’s bike-for-rent made its test premiere during the annual “Bike the Drive” event on the Windy City’s Lake Shore thoroughfare Sunday, and Wednesday opened the new service for membership sign-ups.
Chicago’s Department of Transportation unveiled its bike share plans in April, tapping Portland, OR–based Alta Bicycle Share, which also runs New York and DC’s bike-share programs, to roll out 400 stations and about 4,000 three-speed “Chicago Blue” bicycles across the city.