Make Way For People! Chicago Opens First “People Plaza” on State Street

Midwest
Monday, June 10, 2013
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State Street's new People Spot, dubbed The Gateway. (Chris Bentley)

State Street’s new People Spot, dubbed The Gateway. (Chris Bentley / AN)

The median of a downtown stretch of State Street is now home to the latest of Chicago’s People Spots, a series of parklets sprinkled throughout the city as part of its “Make Way for People” program.

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.

Continue reading after the jump.

Burnham Prize Winners Imagine Chicago BRT Designs

Midwest
Friday, June 7, 2013
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View of the winning entry, Form vs. Uniform.

View of the winning entry, Form vs. Uniform.

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.

View all the winners after the jump.

On View> “Abelardo Morell: The Universe Next Door” at the Art Institute of Chicago

Midwest
Friday, June 7, 2013
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(Abelardo Morell)

Camera Obscura: View of the Brooklyn Bridge in Bedroom, 2009. (Abelardo Morell)

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.

More images after the jump.

On View> Mobile Homestead: MOCA Detroit’s Community Center on Wheels

Midwest
Thursday, June 6, 2013
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(Courtesy MOCA Detroit)

(Courtesy MOCA Detroit)

Mobile Homestead
Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit
4454 Woodward Avenue
Permanent

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.

Graham Foundation Awards 2013 Grants to Individuals

Midwest
Tuesday, June 4, 2013
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Deborah Stratman, drawing, 2010. (Graham Foundation)

Deborah Stratman, drawing, 2010. (Graham Foundation)

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.

Continue reading after the jump.

Bike Share Programs Roll Along in New York, Chicago

City Terrain, East, Midwest
Wednesday, May 29, 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-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.

Continue reading after the jump.

Eavesdrop Midwest Goes to the Kentucky Derby

Eavesdroplet, Midwest
Thursday, May 23, 2013
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At Churchill Downs the day before the Derby. (The Architect's Newspaper)

At Churchill Downs the day before the Derby. (The Architect’s Newspaper)

Maybe You Lost My Number: Eavesdrop wants to know why we weren’t invited to your Kentucky Derby party, De Leon and Primmer. You guys are practically the only cool architecture firm in the River City! We were down in Louisville the weekend of the Derby and wandered (hungover, naturally) past your office on Sunday morning.

Continue reading after the jump.

Flint Public Art Project’s Free City Fest Reclaims Razed Chevy Site

Midwest
Thursday, May 23, 2013
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Raphaele Shirley, Spinning Circle/Shooting Cloud, 2013. (RA Littlewolf and Whisper Willow)

Raphaele Shirley, Spinning Circle/Shooting Cloud, 2013. (RA Littlewolf and Whisper Willow)

The ongoing efforts of artists and designers to reignite the spark of downtown development in aging industrial cities face no simple task. But as architects and developers begin to put pencil to paper, the best public art projects draw on the spiritual side of that renewal.

Flint, Michigan’s inaugural Free City Festival, held May 3-5, did just that when it revived a mile-long stretch of now-razed Chevrolet plants with public art, transformational lighting displays and a reverberating gospel choir.

Continue reading after the jump.

New Navy Pier Plans, McCormick CTA Renderings Revealed

Midwest
Friday, May 17, 2013
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navy_pier_redo_01navy_pier_redo_02

Above: “Gateway Fountain” in warm and cold seasons. (Courtesy Navy Pier)

Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s administration Wednesday revealed details about two initiatives they said would amount to $1.1 billion in investment: a new 10,000-seat arena for DePaul University located across the street from McCormick Place, and an overhaul to Navy Pier — the city’s largest tourist attraction.

More details after the jump.

Unity Temple Congregation May Yield Ownership in Costly Restoration Campaign

Midwest
Thursday, May 16, 2013
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Unity Temple, Oak Park, IL. 1904.

Unity Temple, Oak Park, IL. 1904.

Unity Temple, Frank Lloyd Wright’s first public building, may come under new ownership as part of a $10 million deal to help restore the 105-year-old national landmark.

Local nonprofit Alphawood Foundation Chicago and longtime owners the Unity Temple Unitarian Universalist Congregation announced Tuesday a joint fundraising campaign aimed at fixing water damage that, according to the National Trust for Historic Preservation, “urgently requires a multi-million-dollar rescue effort.”

Continue reading after the jump.

Where Are Chicago’s Most Bikeable Neighborhoods?

Midwest
Wednesday, May 15, 2013
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Protected bike lanes on Kinzie Street. (Image courtesy Josh Koonce via Flickr.)

Protected bike lanes on Kinzie Street. (Josh Koonce / Flickr)

Steven Vance, editor of StreetsBlog Chicago and frequent contributor to AN, dug through Walk Score’s breakdown of the most bikeable neighborhoods in Chicago.

The rankings are based on several factors, including the prevalence of bike lanes, connectivity, commuting mode share and hills. It also considers the number of neighborhood destinations and, as Vance points out, may consider a shared lane marking as a bike lane. That led to the Illinois Medical District’s surprising fourth place ranking, tailing East Ukrainian Village, Ukrainian Village and Wicker Park.

See the national list of WalkScore.com’s most bikeable neighborhoods here, and read StreetsBlog’s post here.

Kroloff Leaves Full-Time Post at Cranbrook

Midwest, National
Tuesday, May 14, 2013
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SMITHGROUP'S ADDITION ALONGSIDE SAARINEN'S ORIGINAL MUSEUM. JIM HAEFNER

SMITHGROUP’S ADDITION ALONGSIDE SAARINEN’S ORIGINAL MUSEUM. JIM HAEFNER

Reed Kroloff will leave his full-time position as director of Michigan’s Cranbrook Academy of Art and Art Museum for a part-time role, the academy announced Tuesday. In his stead, Cranbrook Trustee and Academy Governor Allan Rothfeder will serve as a special advisor to assist Cranbrook President Dominic DiMarco during the transition period.

Continue reading after the jump.

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