Minneapolis’ Embattled Peavey Plaza Lands on National Register

Midwest
Monday, January 21, 2013
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Peavey Plaza's fountains have fallen into disrepair.

Peavey Plaza’s fountains have fallen into disrepair. (Keri Pickett)

Peavey Plaza, downtown Minneapolis’ celebrated modernist square completed in 1975, fell into disrepair—two of its three iconic fountains are no longer operational, and its sunken “garden rooms” have helped harbor illegal activity. Landscape architect M. Paul Friedberg’s plaza became the focus of a high-profile preservation battle two years ago, with The Cultural Landscape Foundation (TCLF) leading the charge to rehabilitate Peavey and city officials pushing for demolition.

Now TCLF has announced the plaza has been listed in the National Register of Historic Places. The “park plaza” style Friedberg forged is evident in Peavey’s blend of hard concrete squares and American-style green spaces. It joins 88,000 sites of architectural heritage on the list, only 2,500 of which have significance in landscape architecture.

Preservationists sued the city last year to contest city council’s claim that there were “no reasonable alternatives” to demolition, hoping to win protection under Minnesota’s Environmental Rights Act.

How Successful is Philanthropy-Based Urban Redevelopment?

Midwest
Thursday, January 17, 2013
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Gary Comer College Prep, designed by John Ronan. (courtesy Zol87 via Flickr)

Gary Comer College Prep, designed by John Ronan. (courtesy Zol87 via Flickr)

Chicago Magazine’s Elly Fishman has an interesting story on Lands’ End founder Gary Comer’s efforts to save his old neighborhood. Pocket Town, a portion of Greater Grand Crossing on the Far South Side, suffered a 25 percent unemployment rate and longstanding poverty when septuagenarian Gary Comer popped into his alma mater Paul Revere Elementary School. Shortly after he began writing checks to the principal for improvements to the aging red brick building. That philanthropy snowballed into millions of dollars each year for Revere and the neighborhood. In 2010, Gary Comer College Prep moved into a John Ronan-designed school that has garnered praise from the design community.

Continue reading after the jump.

Kansas City: Silicon Prairie?

Midwest
Thursday, January 17, 2013
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Kansas City. (Courtesy Pam Broviak via Flickr)

Kansas City. (Courtesy Pam Broviak via Flickr)

Google’s grand experiment on the Great Plains, dubbed “Silicon Prairie” by some, is to revitalize Kansas City with superfast internet. That network hookup could make KC a hotspot for new businesses, too, according to some entrepreneurs eyeing the new “fiberhoods” where the infrastructure exists.

Kansas City may not have aspirations to be the next Silicon Valley, but Google’s investment has invigorated the city’s startup culture. On top of efforts to clean up the region’s vacant land and the highly-anticipated return of KC’s streetcar, startups are just one reason that Kansas City will be a city to watch.

Prentice, Back in Court, Wins Just Another 30 Days

Midwest
Friday, January 11, 2013
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Bertrand Goldberg's Prentice Women's Hospital in Chicago. (ChicagoGeek/Flickr)

Bertrand Goldberg’s Prentice Women’s Hospital in Chicago. (ChicagoGeek/Flickr)

Cook County Judge Neil Cohen swatted down Friday a lawsuit preservationists filed to save Prentice Women’s Hospital, but ordered an extension of the threatened Goldberg building’s stay of demolition for another month.

Preservationists sued to overturn a decision by the Chicago Commission on Landmarks that ultimately denied protection for Prentice in November, asserting the commission violated its own rules of conduct by considering economic concerns over architectural merits.

Continue reading after the jump.

Defrosting A Construction Site: Beautiful Ice Crystals Inside a Chicago Adaptive Reuse Project

Midwest, Newsletter
Friday, January 11, 2013
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(Gary R. Jensen/Courtesy Sterling Bay Companies)

(Gary R. Jensen/Courtesy Sterling Bay Companies)

Perkins+Will is designing one cool corporate headquarters for bike components manufacturer, SRAM, in Chicago’s Fulton Market District. Located inside the 1K Fulton development by the Sterling Bay Companies, an adaptive reuse of a ten-story cold storage warehouse, two floors of offices will include bleacher seating for group meetings, a product development shop, and even an interior cycling test track. But before construction could begin, there was one small problem most architects rarely encounter: the construction site needed to be defrosted after essentially serving as a building-size refrigerator since 1923.

Continue reading after the jump.

National Blues Museum Targets 2014 Opening in St. Louis

Midwest, Newsletter
Tuesday, January 8, 2013
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The National Blues Museum (Courtesdy NationalBluesMuseum.org)

The National Blues Museum. (Courtesy NationalBluesMuseum.org)

Cleveland has the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Kansas City has the American Jazz Museum, Nashville has Music City, and now St. Louis looks likely to become home to the National Blues Museum in 2014. Cue up “St. Louis Blues.”

Continue reading after the jump.

Preservationists: Chicago Prentice Demolition More Costly Than Re-Use

Midwest
Thursday, January 3, 2013
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BauerLatoza's new tower would intersect with the northwest lobe of Prentice's cloverleaf form. (Courtesy BauerLatoza Studio)

BauerLatoza’s new tower would intersect with the northwest lobe of Prentice’s cloverleaf form. (Courtesy BauerLatoza Studio)

The top brass in the field of design have long supported preserving Chicago’s Old Prentice Women’s Hospital. Now proposals to save the embattled Bertrand Goldberg building may have economics on their side, too, according to a new report commissioned by advocates who hope to convince owner Northwestern University not to demolish the four-pronged curvilinear tower.

Continue reading after the jump.

On View> Alyson Shotz’s Geometry of Light at the Indianapolis Museum of Art

Midwest
Thursday, December 27, 2012
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(Courtesy Indianapolis Museum of Art)

(Courtesy Indianapolis Museum of Art)

Alyson Shotz: The Geometry of Light
Indianapolis Museum of Art
4000 Michigan Rd.
Indianapolis, IN
Through January 6, 2013

Following the U.S premiere of her animated Fluid State, which visualizes the creation of matter in a fictional landscape, artist Alyson Shotz has adapted her installation The Geometry of Light for the Indianapolis Museum of Art’s Efroymson Family Entrance Pavilion Series. Shotz—who is recognized for exploring the physical world by engaging with concepts of light, gravity, and space—uses industrial materials such as stainless steel wire, silvered glass beads, and cut Fresnel lens sheets to form a sculpture that considers the duality of light as both particle and wave. During daylight hours, natural light filters through the lens sheets, and the varying angles bring life to the piece as the position of the sun changes throughout the day. By moving through the room, visitors perceive how light and motion shape the experience of space.

On View> Sreshta Rit Premnath’s “Folding Rulers” Explore Visual Representation

Midwest
Thursday, December 27, 2012
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(Courtesy Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis)

(Courtesy Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis)

Sreshta Rit Premnath: Folding Rulers
Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis
3750 Washington Blvd
Through December 30, 2012

Sreshta Rit Premnath’s exhibit, Folding Rulers, at the Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis questions processes of representation, attempting to identify why certain objects, images, events, and discourses are chosen to represent larger ideas, cultural periods, or histories. Using various mediums, Premnath investigates why and how icons, places, and people— specifically the concept of power—are so symbolic. By analyzing and reducing these symbols and their meanings, his new work offers new readings of people, places, and times.

Thomas H. Beeby To Win 2013 Driehaus Prize

Midwest, National
Wednesday, December 12, 2012
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Harold Washington Library Center in downtown Chicago, designed by 2012 Driehaus laureate Thomas H. Beeby. (Courtesy of University of Notre Dame)

Harold Washington Library Center in downtown Chicago, designed by 2013 Driehaus laureate Thomas H. Beeby. (Courtesy of University of Notre Dame)

One of the “Chicago Seven” architects who broke with the city’s modernist aesthetic during the 1970s and 80s, Thomas H. Beeby, will receive the 2013 Richard H. Driehaus Prize. Considered the traditionalist’s Pritzker Prize, the Driehaus comes with a $200,000 purse and denotes a lifetime of contributions to classicism in contemporary built work.

Continue reading after the jump.

Chicago Architecture Foundation Honors Patrons of the Year

Midwest
Friday, December 7, 2012
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Rush University Medical Center in Chicago, Illinois. (Courtesy Steinkamp Photography)

Rush University Medical Center in Chicago, Illinois. (Courtesy Steinkamp Photography)

The end of the year is nigh, and the season of awards and lists is at hand. In addition to the AIA Chicago awards to be presented tonight, the Chicago Architecture Foundation this week announced their Patron of the Year Awards.

“Good buildings only happen with good clients,” read a statement presented by Williams + Tsien at the ceremony. Great buildings, however, only happen when clients are “unreasonable” in their commitment to good design, the David & Reva Logan Center for the Arts architects said.

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Ray LaHood Touts High-Speed Rail at UIC Urban Forum

Midwest
Friday, December 7, 2012
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Ray LaHood. (Courtesy Ray LaHood/Facebook)

Ray LaHood. (Courtesy Ray LaHood/Facebook)

Cities matter. In the Midwest recent headlines have read like an urban planning syllabus: post-industrial rebirth attracts a new generation of urbanites downtown, the roll-out of high-speed rail begins to pick up pace, and while innovative solutions to the region’s well-documented problems abound, a lingering fiscal crisis and unfunded pension liabilities threaten to squash even the most attainable aspirations.

Those topics and more made the agenda at University of Illinois Chicago’s annual Urban Forum held Thursday, whose lineup included the mayors of Columbus and Pittsburgh, as well as U.S. Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood. “Metropolitan Resilience in a Time of Economic Turmoil” was the topic at hand.

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