Ask Not What The Google Can Do For You

Eavesdroplet, Midwest, Newsletter
Tuesday, August 14, 2012
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Wolf Point on the Chicago River. (Courtesy Pelli Clarke Pelli)

Wolf Point on the Chicago River. (Courtesy Pelli Clarke Pelli)

The biggest stir caused by the Kennedy’s newest proposal for developing Wolf Point was not obscuring the Merchandise Mart views or initial reactions to the renderings or the stuffing of three very tall towers on one impossibly small piece of land. It was more like, “There’s a living Kennedy with a stake in Chicago real estate?” We all know the family sold the Mart years ago. Fewer of us knew they held on to that little sandbar that sits in front of the the Sun-Times building.

Ready to boost the family fortune, the Kennedys with Hines, Cesar Pelli, and bKL plan to stuff three towers onto the site. Is this the architectural equivalent of a 10 lb. bag of sugar in a 5 lb. sack? Maybe, but development of that scale is also kind of exciting. And that leads to the biggest question. Can this economy support a residential and commercial project of this size? Well, Jean—that’s the last sibling standing, right, so the land must be hers—get out your good-faith checkbook: Google is coming. They’ve leased the top floors of the Mart, which will serve as the new headquarters of Motorola, which Google has acquired. That means thousands of high paying fancy Google jobs just across the street. With that news, Wolf Point is a done deal, no?

On View> Russian Posters–Rodchenko 120 in Indianapolis through August 24

Midwest
Monday, August 13, 2012
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(Courtesy Marsh Gallery)

(Courtesy Marsh Gallery)

Russian Posters – Rodchenko 120
Indiana University–Purdue University Indianapolis
Herron School of Art and Design Marsh Gallery
735 West New York Street, Indianapolis, IN
Through August 24

In recognition of the 120th anniversary of the birth of Alexander Rodchenko, Moscow Design Week organized a poster campaign honoring the Russian avant-garde artist, graphic designer, and photographer. Commissioning work from twenty prominent Russian poster artists, the campaign sought to create a dialogue between contemporary graphic designers and a master of the discipline. Sergei Serov, curator of the project, writes, “The posters are not only a tribute to the great artist, but a reflection on the historical destiny of graphic design.” The posters all bear Rodchenko’s influence in unique ways. Elements from some of his most notable designs are repurposed, utilizing Rodchenko’s own language of collage and geometric composition. These strict geometries inform Nikolai Shtok’s entry, above, where simple geometric forms are abstracted and composed as a Rodchenko-inspired typography.

Spiritual Construction: Minneapolis Cemetery Blends Old and New

Midwest
Monday, August 13, 2012
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The Garden Mausoleum at Lakewood Cemetery. (Image courtesy Paul Crosby.)

The Garden Mausoleum at Lakewood Cemetery. (Image courtesy Paul Crosby.)

When a bucolic cemetery in Minneapolis began to near capacity, its owners worried a large expansion might dampen the landscape’s pastoral charm.

Despite its comparatively large footprint, the 24,500-square-foot Garden Mausoleum in Minneapolis’ Lakewood Cemetery is in harmony with the existing mausoleum and chapel that it sits between, as if in meditation. The 141-year-old non-sectarian cemetery occupies 250 acres in the city’s Uptown neighborhood.

Continue reading after the jump.

Cleveland Scrubs Clean a Long-Blighted Park

Midwest
Friday, August 10, 2012
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Downtown Cleveland's Perk Park, post-renovation. (Scott Pease / Pease Photography)

Downtown Cleveland’s Perk Park, post-renovation. (Scott Pease / Pease Photography)

After nine years of fundraising, a transformed park in downtown Cleveland seems to personify the spirit of reinvention that has recently overtaken the city. Perk Park, originally built in 1972, was first conceived by I.M. Pei as a small piece of the 200-acre Urban Renewal District. It was once called Chester Commons (for its location at East 12th Street and Chester Avenue), but was renamed in 1996 for 1970s Mayor Ralph Perk.

Continue reading after the jump.

Detroit Riverfront Design Competition Nets Libeskind as Judge

Midwest
Thursday, August 9, 2012
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A pool in Daniel Libeskind's Westside retail center collapsed (Mike Bischoff/Flickr)

Daniel Libeskind’s Westside retail center. (Mike Bischoff/Flickr)

Starchitect Daniel Libeskind will help judge this year’s Detroit by Design competition to design public spaces along the Detroit River. AIA’s Detroit Chapter is a sponsor of the competition, which will focus on the area between Cobo Hall and the Renaissance Center, and between Jefferson Avenue and the Detroit River. The site includes an entrance to the tunnel to Canada, the Port Authority Building, and Hart Plaza—a 14-acre space at the heart of downtown.

Submissions are open through November 30. If Libeskind and the other jurors like your design, you could win $5,000 and a trip to the Motor City.

View the competition site after the jump.

Even More Protected Bike Lanes to Serve Downtown Chicago

Midwest
Tuesday, August 7, 2012
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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)

In a city where bicyclists may share a lane with Transportation Commissioner Gabe Klein, last year’s promise by Mayor Rahm Emanuel of 100 miles of protected bike paths was cause for celebration. Chicago’s latest project, announced Sunday, will be a protected lane along Dearborn Street in the Loop that will run in both directions from Polk to Kinzie.

The new route connects the near north side with the south loop and is designed to appeal to young, tech-savvy commuters who work downtown.

Continue reading after the jump.

IIT Names Wiel Arets New Architecture Dean

Dean's List, Midwest
Tuesday, August 7, 2012
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Wiel Arets. (Image courtesy The Illinois Institute of Technology.)

Wiel Arets. (Courtesy Illinois Institute of Technology)

The Illinois Institute of Technology named Dutch designer Wiel Arets as the new dean of its architecture school Tuesday. Currently a professor at the Berlin University for the Arts, Arets will replace Donna Robertson.

Arets is an acclaimed architect whose firm, WAA, has studios in Amsterdam, Berlin, Maastricht, and Zürich. His current projects include Amsterdam Central Station’s IJhal, Allianz Headquarters in Zürich, and the A’ House in Tokyo.

Mies van der Rohe chaired IIT’s architecture school for 20 years starting in 1938 and designed its main campus on Chicago’s South Side.

Mile-Long Pedestrian Bridge Connects Kentucky and Indiana

Midwest
Monday, August 6, 2012
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The Big Four Pedestrian Bridge viewed from Louisville's Waterfront Park. (Courtesy Waterfront Development Corporation)

The Big Four Pedestrian Bridge viewed from Louisville’s Waterfront Park. (Courtesy Waterfront Development Corporation)

A one-mile-long pedestrian bridge spanning the Ohio River between Louisville, Kentucky and Jeffersonville, Indiana is under construction and expected to open next spring. With work progressing on laying a new concrete deck on the circa 1895 former railroad bridge and a dramatic elliptical spiral ramp built of Cor-ten steel to match the patina of the old span already soaring above the Hargreaves-designed Waterfront Park in Louisville. The latest piece of the puzzle came into focus in late July as a new park in downtown Jeffersonville was unveiled to the public.

Continue reading after the jump.

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A Streetcar Named KC?

Midwest
Friday, August 3, 2012
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An old Kansas City streetcar rolls through San Francisco. (Image courtesy Jamison Wieser via Flickr.)

An old Kansas City streetcar rolls through San Francisco. (Jamison Wieser/Flickr.)

Kansas City, recently outfitted with superfast internet courtesy of Google, is on the move. And KC taxpayers voted to keep up the momentum this week, authorizing a special taxing district to help fund a downtown streetcar.

A transportation development district would cultivate the 2-mile, $101 million route from Union Station to the River Market. The line was shortened by 300 feet after a scramble to make up for $25 million in TIGER grants that the city applied for and was not awarded. Funding for the modified plan came from the Mid-America Regional Council.

Now efforts turn to finding an operator. Kansas City will work with the Port Authority to create a Streetcar Authority—a step which has become a hang-up for similar efforts in Detroit. But Wednesday’s vote is a clear signal of public and political support for expanded public transit in the city.

KC is also lining up funding for a second phase of streetcar lines, totaling 22 miles of track crisscrossing the city.

Northerly Island to Soon Become Lake Michigan Oasis

Midwest
Friday, August 3, 2012
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(Courtesy Studio Gang & Chicago Park District)

Northerly Island will soon begin to take shape as an oasis in Lake Michigan. (Courtesy Studio Gang & Chicago Park District)

Gazing at Chicago from the east, it’s impossible to ignore the city’s towering skyline. But the latest gem on the southwest shores of Lake Michigan won’t be made from glass and steel—it’s prairie grass and wetlands.

Northerly Island, a 91-acre peninsula that juts into Lake Michigan just south of the Loop, was promised a visionary makeover from Studio Gang and landscape architects JJR in 2010. Now the Chicago Park District and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers are preparing to break ground this fall.

COntinue reading after the jump.

Historic Tower in Downtown Cincinnati Gets New Life as Hotel

Midwest
Thursday, August 2, 2012
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The old Cincinnati enquirer building on Vine St. will get $27.3 million from Sree Hotels. (image courtesy of Ohio Office of Redevelopment.)

The old Cincinnati Enquirer building on Vine St. will get $27.3 million from Sree Hotels. (image courtesy of Ohio Office of Redevelopment.)

Seven years after the Cincinnati Center City Development Corporation embarked on its resuscitation of downtown’s signature Fountain Square, a vacant 86-year-old tower one block away is getting a $27.3 million makeover.

The former home of the Cincinnati Enquirer, the 14-story building will now house 12,000 square feet of street-level retail and a 238-room hotel. Once slated for condos, the limestone tower will instead be downtown’s fifth largest hotel, bringing the total number of rooms downtown to more than 3,000.

Continue reading after the jump.

What Moves Ohio City? Historic Cleveland Neighborhood Considers its Transportation Future

Midwest
Wednesday, August 1, 2012
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Ohio City, one of Cleveland's most vibrant neighborhoods, grew between 2000 and 2010. (Image courtesy John Dawson via Flickr.)

Ohio City, one of Cleveland’s most vibrant neighborhoods, grew between 2000 and 2010. (John Dawson/Flickr.)

Ohio City, Cleveland’s self-described artisan neighborhood, also hopes to become one of the city’s transportation hubs. A new plan proposes “a 21st Century transportation strategy” for the mixed-use area, which is home to popular destinations like the West Side Market and the Great Lakes Brewing Company.

Continue reading after the jump.

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