Chicago’s Merchandise Mart to Get Tech Boost.  Chicago's Merchandise Mart to Get Tech Boost Known to architects for the dozens of design showrooms it houses and the annual NeoCon tradeshow it hosts, Chicago’s Merchandise Mart may also become a major center for the city’s tech industry. Crain’s is reporting that Google is planning to lease half a million square feet in the mammoth building, and will add a large roof deck offering city, river, and lake views. The deck will, no doubt, help compensate for the massive floorplates that will leave most employees far from natural light. Google will also bring 3000 jobs–from a Motorola division they acquired–from the suburbs to downtown.

 

Trendspotting at Neocon

Midwest, National
Thursday, June 14, 2012
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Steelcase's media:scape software on a stand from Coalesse.

As North America’s largest interior design conference, Neocon is a great place to scout interiors trends. Here are a couple themes AN spotted during this year’s opening days. Video conference calls are an integral part of day-to-day office work for a growing share of businesses. Elegant office design and high-tech compatibility seemed to dovetail in many of the new products on display at Neocon. Read More

Steedman Fellowship Winner Heralded for Interdisciplinary Design

Midwest
Wednesday, June 13, 2012
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Jason Mrdeza's winning proposal features a first floor "mound" fitted with a green roof and topped with five glowing "lantern blocks" containing studios and offices. (Courtesy Washington University)

Jason Mrdeza's winning proposal features a first floor "mound" fitted with a green roof and topped with five glowing "lantern blocks" containing studios and offices. (Courtesy Washington University)

Canadian/Norwegian architect Jason Mrdeza has won Washington University in Saint Louis’ 2012 Steedman Fellowship in Architecture International Design Competition. Sponsored by the College of Architecture and the Graduate School of Architecture & Urban Design at the Sam Fox School of Design & Visual Arts, the biennial competition is open to young architects from around the world within the first eight yeas of practice. The winner receives a $50,000 prize, one of the largest competition prizes in the U.S., to support study and research abroad. Mrdeza’s winning project, “Mediating Adjacencies: Inspiring Collaboration within Context,” was chosen out of 120 entrees.

Continue reading after the jump.

360 Architecture’s Invisible Fort in Kansas City

Midwest
Wednesday, June 13, 2012
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(Courtesy 360 Architecture)

(Courtesy 360 Architecture)

A giant Tetris block has landed in Powell Gardens, a large botanical garden an hour drive outside of Kansas City, Missouri. MIRRORRORRIM, designed and built by Kansas City-based firm 360 Architecture, is a modular stacking of bright, lime green, cedar cubes, forming a T-shape on the ground with a vertical tower rising above the crossing point. The wooden structure is layered over on some sides with perforated stainless steel panels.

Continue reading after the jump.

Spatial Ops’ Optical Architecture Engages with Disorientation

Midwest, Newsletter
Tuesday, June 12, 2012
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(Courtesy Spatial Ops)

(Courtesy Spatial Ops)

Occupying a room in the abandoned Federal Screw Works factory in Chelsea, Michigan, General Manifold is an immersive environment that aims to disorient as well as engage. The installation is set in an 80,000 square foot factory, founded in 1913, that once employed 250 people. When it was shuttered in 2005, only 37 remained. Spatial Ops, with students from their Meta Friche seminar at Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning at the University of Michigan, engage the factory’s history, showcasing the ruin and rendering its inverse. Their insertion is an attempt to cultivate enthusiasm for the ruin and to gain support for its transformation, the first step in a forthcoming master plan for Chelsea Common. Read More

Bye Bye Blair!.  Blair Kamin. Pulitzer-prize winning Chicago Tribune architecture critic Blair Kamin had better go hat shopping. He’s got another feather for his chapeau! A super prestigious Neiman Fellowship from Harvard! “My aspirations for the fellowship are straightforward: To return to my job refreshed and refocused, so I can provide our readers with the most sophisticated, discerning coverage of architecture—and, in the process, to demonstrate anew why newspapers should cover this inescapable art,” Kamin told Time Out Chicago. Congratulations Blair. Don’t get tempted to stay on the coast. The Midwest needs you!

 

On View> Currents 35: Tara Donovan at the Milwaukee Art Museum

Midwest
Tuesday, June 12, 2012
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Unititled, 2008. (Tara Donovan/Courtesy The Pace Gallery)

Unititled, 2008. (Tara Donovan/Courtesy The Pace Gallery)

Currents 35: Tara Donovan
Milwaukee Art Museum
700 North Art Museum Drive
Milwaukee, WI
Through October 7

The work of Tara Donovan demands close reading. By using strict rule-based systems, Donovan accumulates individual pieces of material into installations that defy easy identification. Milwaukee Art Museum chief curator Brady Roberts explains, “Donovan’s process involves selecting one material and finding one unique solution for its construction, whether it’s folding, gluing, stacking, or pressing.” Taking cues from 1960s conceptual artists like Donald Judd and Sol LeWitt, whose works rely on rule-based processes, Donovan obscures her quotidian materials to compose spectacular objects. The exhibition includes several major works including Haze, a 32-foot wall covered in approximately three million straws, Unititled, 2008 on polyester film (detail, above), and Drawing (Pins), 2011 composed of gatorboard, paint, and nickel-plated steel pins.

On View> Judith Turner: The Flatness of Ambiguity

Midwest
Friday, June 8, 2012
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(Judith Turner)

(Judith Turner)

Judith Turner: The Flatness of Ambiguity
University of Michigan Museum of Art
525 South State Street
Ann Arbor, MI
Opening June 14

Judith Turner’s photographs are the subject of the University of Michigan-Museum of Art’s new exhibition The Flatness of Ambiguity. Turner’s work captures architecture through an intense editing process where architecture is reinterpreted through unusual views. Operating from severe angles, the photographs capture the buildings in black-and-white compositions that play with the ambiguity of light, shadow, and tonality. Cropping them to further pull the buildings from their context, Turner abstracts the built landscape, transposing buildings into often unrecognizable flat artworks. Turner’s highly abstract signature style heightens the aesthetic character of her subject matter and reveals visual relationships that are not apparent when experiencing the building in traditional ways, in person or in photographs. This exhibition consists of approximately forty works, which span Turner’s three-decade-long career.

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Chicago Architecture Foundation Presents Bus Rapid Transit: Next Stop, Chicago

Midwest
Wednesday, June 6, 2012
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Courtesy Chicago Architecture Foundation

Bus Rapid Transit: Next Stop, Chicago
Chicago Architecture Foundation
224 South Michigan Avenue
Chicago, IL
Through October 2012

While construction is set to begin on the Jeffrey Boulevard Corridor this summer, the plans for the rest of Chicago’s Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system are far from decided. The Chicago Architecture Foundation hopes to spur public interest and debate with its new exhibition Bus Rapid Transit: Next Stop, Chicago. Bus Rapid Transit emulates the qualities of a rail system while operating on mostly existing infrastructure. The system would bring dedicated bus lanes, traffic signal prioritization, pre-board payment, and arrival information displays to a few select routes connecting to Metra and CTA L stops in addition to other BRT lines.

Continue reading after the jump.

On View> The Graham Foundation presents Zak Kyes Working With…

Midwest
Monday, June 4, 2012
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(Courtesy Graham Foundation)

(Courtesy Graham Foundation)

Zak Kyes Working With…
Graham Foundation
4 West Burton Place
Chicago
Through September 22

The first American solo exhibition of Swiss-American graphic designer Zak Kyes, founder of the design studio Zak Group and art director of London’s Architectural Association, will be on view at the Graham Foundation. Representing a wide array of his work, the show will feature projects arranged and presented not as a chronological body of work, but as collaborations with architects, artists, writers, curators, editors, and graphic designers. These working relationships highlight the impact of graphic design on its related fields, but also show how it is simultaneously shaped by those disciplines. By focusing on the intimate intellectual, formal, and business links of the collaborations, from conceptual to pragmatic, urgent to abiding, and ephemeral to long lasting, the exhibition focuses on the creative potential of collaboration to transform our understanding of graphic design, art, and architecture.

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Chicago Loop Alliance to Coat Sidewalks, Streets, & Buildings with Color

Brought to you with support from:
Fabrikator
The promotional rendering for "Color Jam."

The promotional rendering for "Color Jam."

From May 29th through June 4th, sheets of vinyl will be layered over the intersection of State and Adams streets in Chicago’s Loop in a site specific installation entitled Color Jam. The public installation, commissioned by Chicago Loop Alliance through their Art Loop public art program, is the work of multimedia artist Jessica Stockholder. The exhibit will be an ongoing piece of public art, covering sidewalks, buildings. and the intersection itself with contextually abstract shapes and colors. The work will be on display from its “official” completion on June 5th through September 30th of this year.

Continue reading after the jump.

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Digitizing Saarinen’s Miller House

Midwest, Newsletter
Tuesday, May 22, 2012
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The Miller House (Courtesy of the Indianapolis Museum of Art)

Even if Columbus, Indiana is not on your travel itinerary Eero Saarinen’s Miller House and Garden may come to you via the internet. Last week, the Indianapolis Museum of Art (IMA) announced a $190,000 grant from the National Endowment for Humanities (NEH) to digitize its Miller House and Garden Collection. The house—a celebrated collaboration between architect Saarinen, interior designer Alexander Girard, and landscape architect Dan Kiley—opened for tours last year , and the museum reports more than 6,500 tour tickets were sold. With the increased interest comes a growing number of requests from researchers asking for access to the home’s archives. While in good condition, the museum writes in their NEH proposal that “repeated handling would quickly degrade these important and unique materials.”  Read More

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