AN’s Eavesdrop Makes A Mark on Chicago Nightlife

Eavesdroplet, Midwest
Monday, May 6, 2013
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Left to right: Thomas Demand, Marina Fine Arts #23, 2011; Thomas Demand, Beyer #15, 2011; Thomas Demand, Segel #25, 2011. (Courtesy Graham Foundation)

Left to right: Thomas Demand, Marina Fine Arts #23, 2011; Thomas Demand, Beyer #15, 2011; Thomas Demand, Segel #25, 2011. (Courtesy Graham Foundation)

Get Out Your Scotch Guard—Eavesdrop Is Coming! If the hors d’ouevres make a party, Luminaire threw quite the fête last month. The huge design showroom in Chicago’s River North staged the top floor with more affordable items from their inventory, alongside of pop-ups from local artisans, including European bike-lifestyle guru J.C. Lind Bike Co. This was our first stop of several that evening, so the substantial hors d’oeuvres—a.k.a. Prosecco sponges—were fully appreciated.
 What didn’t appreciate them?

Continue reading after the jump.

Rockefeller Foundation Issues Grants To Support Bus Rapid Transit

East, Midwest
Monday, April 29, 2013
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Chicago BRT Proposal. (Courtesy CDOT)

Chicago BRT Proposal. (Courtesy CDOT)

The Rockefeller Foundation has announced that four cities will receive a combined $1.2 million in grants to foster research, communications, and community outreach efforts in an endeavor to educate local stakeholders about the advantages of Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) systems. The Foundation’s solution to “Transform Cities” and promote fiscal growth and quality of life proposes better mass transit investments. Boston, Chicago, Nashville, and Pittsburgh will participate in the project.

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What Do We Want? Docent Rights! Farnsworth House Opts For Paid Labor

Eavesdroplet, Midwest
Monday, April 29, 2013
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The Farnsworth House. (Courtesy Farnsworth House)

The Farnsworth House. (Courtesy Farnsworth House)

For seven years, Eavesdrop has lived in Chicago without a car and that means we’ve never made the trek out to Mies van der Rohe‘s Farnsworth House. But with all the flooding in the Midwest this year, we could have just used a boat. Now, a little bird has whispered in our ear that at least one docent is bent out of shape by recent changes. It would appear that the National Trust for Historic Preservation is replacing volunteer docents with paid part-time tour guides. Can you imaging, the desire to pay your help? Quelle horreur! We say: way to go Trust!

Chicago Developer Eyes Endangered Cuneo Hospital for Arts Center

Midwest, Newsletter
Friday, April 26, 2013
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CUNEO MEMORIAL HOSPITAL IN CHICAGO. (ZOL87 / FLICKR)

CUNEO MEMORIAL HOSPITAL IN CHICAGO. (ZOL87 / FLICKR)

The vacant Frank Cuneo Memorial Hospital in Chicago’s Uptown neighborhood faces demolition to make way for the $220 million “Maryville” residential project, but the developer of Chicago’s Green Exchange has a plan to save the 1957 Edo Belli-designed building. David Baum, of Baum Development, said his plan to turn Cuneo into a neighborhood hub for Uptown’s artistic community would not require any subsidies. The rival plan from JDL Development calls for luxury apartments and $32 million of TIF funding.

But the two may not be mutually exclusive. JDL’s plan calls for development along the west side of Clarendon Avenue, while Cuneo is on the east. Baum’s plan awaits the approval of an architectural engineer who could vet the building’s structural integrity and help solidify plans for redevelopment.

Cuneo made Preservation Chicago’s list of seven most endangered buildings in 2012.

Chicago To Roll Out Alta’s Divvy Bike Share in June

Midwest
Thursday, April 25, 2013
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"Divvy," Chicago's forthcoming bike share program, features three-speed bicycles painted the same blue as seen as seen in the city's flag. (Courtesy Divvy / Alta Bicycle Share)

“Divvy,” Chicago’s forthcoming bike share program, features three-speed bicycles painted the same blue as seen as seen in the city’s flag. (Courtesy Divvy / Alta Bicycle Share)

Chicago’s bike share program will kick off in June when the city debuts hundreds of light blue, three-speed bicycles that can be rented for an hourly fee or with a yearly $75 membership.

Managed by Portland, OR–based Alta Bicycle Share, which also runs New York and DC’s bike share, Chicago’s program goes by the name “Divvy.” Alta was supposed to launch the $22 million program last summer, and has since become the subject of controversy. Chicago Transportation Commissioner Gabe Klein was formerly a consultant for the company, and competitors have alleged foul play, which Alta and the city have flatly denied.

The first of Divvy’s 75 solar-powered docking stations will be downtown and in River North. Within a year the city’s plan is to roll out 400 stations and about 4,000 bicycles across the city.

Massive Monsanto Expansion in St. Louis Suburbs has Urbanists Asking, “Why not downtown?”

Midwest
Thursday, April 25, 2013
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Cannon Design's life sciences research center for agribusiness giant Monsanto in Chesterfield, Missouri. (Courtesy Cannon Design)

Cannon Design’s life sciences research center for agribusiness giant Monsanto in Chesterfield, Missouri. (Courtesy Cannon Design)

Agribusiness titan Monsanto has pledged hundreds of millions of dollars in upgrades to its research facility outside St. Louis, and design details are starting to pop up. Cannon Design will plan, design and engineer a new 400,000 square foot center for life sciences research.

Continue reading after the jump.

APA Hands Out National Planning Excellence Awards

Midwest, National
Tuesday, April 23, 2013
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Philadelphia's Integrated Planning and Zoning Process won National Planning Excellence Award for a Best Practice, namely its "innovative approach to leveraging the synergy between citizen education, planning, and zoning reform." (Courtesy APA)

Philadelphia’s Integrated Planning and Zoning Process won National Planning Excellence Award for a Best Practice, namely its “innovative approach to leveraging the synergy between citizen education, planning, and zoning reform.” (Courtesy APA)

Northwest Indiana’s 2040 masterplan took home top honors for comprehensive planning last week, when the American Planning Association handed out its 2013 National Planning Excellence Awards. The association also saluted 12 projects with the first-ever National Planning Achievement Awards.

Tying into a major theme at this year’s conference, the APA award winners tended toward projects with an ambitious scope, such as Philadelphia’s sweeping planning and zoning rewrite and New York’s Zone Green initiative.

Continue reading after the jump.

Details Emerge for Bus Rapid Transit on Chicago’s Ashland Avenue

Midwest
Monday, April 22, 2013
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ashland_brt_chi_02bashland_brt_chi_02a

Above: Before & After: Ashland Avenue at Polk. (Courtesy Chicago Transit Authority)

Chicago officials released details Friday about a much-anticipated project to roll out bus rapid transit along Ashland Avenue, a major arterial street that runs north-south a bit more than a mile and half west of downtown. Previous plans from the city included a route on Western Avenue as well, but a statement from the Chicago Transit Authority and the Chicago Department of Transportation revealed only plans for Ashland.

Continue reading after the jump.

Coming Soon To Vacant Lots in St. Louis: Chess, Farming, Sunflower Rehab

Midwest
Friday, April 19, 2013
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A restaurant made from shipping containers was among the winners.

A restaurant made from shipping containers was among the winners. (Courtesy Sustainable Land Lab)

The winners of St. Louis’ first-ever “Sustainable Land Lab” competition, put on by Washington University and city officials, attempted to make the most of a regrettably abundant resource: vacant lots.

Local architects took top honors in a competition that garnered some four dozen submissions. Each winner gets a two-year lease on a North St. Louis vacant lot and $5,000 in seed money to realize their ideas. Five winning projects will share four lots (two finalist teams combined their proposals into one new plan) across the city.

View the winners after the jump.

St. Louis Eyes Shipping Container Architecture

Midwest, Newsletter
Wednesday, April 17, 2013
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(Courtesy Delsa Development)

(Courtesy Delsa Development)

A new development in St. Louis has proposed using shipping containers to create a mixed-use building. The project, known as The Grove, is located at 4312 Manchester Avenue. It features a three-story structure of stacked steel boxes with retail on the first level and offices and residential above. The development, which already garnered the support of the Forest Park Southeast Development Committee, is set on the site of a former four-family brick home and is presently awaiting approval from the 17th Ward Alderman.

Continue reading after the jump.

Cincinnati’s Bike Hub Connects the City With Smale Riverfront Park

Midwest
Wednesday, April 17, 2013
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The bike hub in Cincinnati's Smale Waterfront Park. (Randy Simes / Urban Cincy)

The bike hub in Cincinnati’s Smale Waterfront Park. (Randy Simes / Urban Cincy)

As one of a slew of successful placemaking initiatives of late, along with the recently reopened Washington Park, Cincinnati’s Phyllis W. Smale Riverfront Park is a key component of the city’s resurgent urban identity. It’s a multi-faceted design, aspiring to filter water for flood control, provide green space and connect two downtown stadiums with a multimodal trail along the Ohio River.

Continue reading after the jump.

On View> Indianapolis Museum of Art Showing “Ai Weiwei: According to What?”

Midwest
Tuesday, April 16, 2013
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(Courtesy IMA)

(Courtesy IMA)

AI WEIWEI: ACCORDING TO WHAT?
Indianapolis Museum of Art
Allen Whitehill Clowes Special Exhibition Gallery
4000 Michigan Road
Indianapolis, Indiana
Through July 21

Ai Weiwei is internationally recognized as one of China’s most controversial and influential contemporary artists. In his exhibition Ai Weiwei: According to What?, the artist, through various media (sculpture, photography, architectural installations, and video), boldly addresses issues of human rights in China and comments on the nation’s history, traditions, and politics. The exhibit features more than 30 works spanning more than 20 years. One is an early work, Forever (2003), in which Ai arranged 42 Forever brand bicycles into a circle, to honor China’s most popular, and reliable (the bicycles were made of heavy-duty steel), mode of transportation during the mid-1900s. The exhibit is also devoted to Ai’s more provocative pieces, such as a 38-ton steel carpet entitled Straight (2008). The artist used rusted steel rebar taken from the remains of a poorly-built school that collapsed during the 2008 Sichuan earthquake that tragically killed more than 5,000 schoolchildren. The piece commemorates the thousands of lost lives while openly condemning the Chinese government’s stance on human rights.

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