Swamps Emerging on the Urban Landscape

Midwest
Thursday, December 2, 2010
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An urban swamp in Detroit (Photo by Clark Mizono)`

An urban swamp in Detroit (Photo by Clark Mizono)

While bringing nature back into the city is generally heralded as a sign of improvement, this is hardly the best path to that end.  Next American City‘s Willy Staley recently took a walk through Detroit‘s East Side with vacant property guru Sam Butler to surmise the problems of abandonment facing the city. Detroit, seeking to demolish some 3,000 structures, has long been at the center of a movement to “shrink” cities suffering from population loss and blight.

More on urban swamps bogging down neighborhood revitalization.

Remembering Louis Sullivan, Seed-Germ Savant

Midwest
Monday, November 29, 2010
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Louis Sullivan set out to invent an architecture of democracy. (Courtesy Whitecap Films)

There’s been no shortage of worthy architectural documentaries in recent years, but you’ll want to make room on your DVD rack for the latest look at a major American figure: Louis Sullivan: The Struggle for American Architecture. Recently given its New York premiere courtesy of the good people at Docomomo New York/Tri-State, this touching and tragic film offers a portrait of the man who perhaps more than anyone aspired to create an American style of architecture, yet was left behind by a nation on the cusp of a century that Sullivan himself did much to define. Read More

Celebrating Sustainability at Chicago's Art Institute

Midwest
Monday, November 22, 2010
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Party-goers holding court at Chicago's Art Institute (photos: Andrew Hensley)

On November 17, The Architect’s Newspaper and Buro Happold, along with our other event partners Dow Building Solutions, Graphisoft, American Hydrotech, and Adaptive Building Initiative, celebrated GreenBuild at the Art Institute of Chicago’s Modern Wing. Renzo Piano’s LEED certified building proved to be a stylish venue for the hundreds of architects, engineers, designers, and other assorted revelers. Click through for pictures of some of the evening’s hundreds of party-goers. It was quite the green scene! Read More

A Shiny New Neighbor for the Farnsworth House

Midwest
Friday, November 19, 2010
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Virginia Tech's Lumenhaus is completely self-powered and the exterior is lit with subtle building-integrated LEDs at night. (All photos of the Lumenhaus: Jim Stroup)

Virginia Tech’s Solar Decathlon-winning Lumenhaus is currently cooling its heals in the opulent surroundings of Millennium Park. The house, which has been touring the globe, was brought to town to coincide with GreenBuild, and is remaining on view through Saturday. The compact house is efficiently designed both in terms of space and energy use, and is completely self-sustaining. Though its stay in Millennium Park will be brief, it’s not going far. The house will be stored on the grounds of the Farnsworth House for the winter and will be open to the public when it reopens for the spring season in April 2011. Whitney French, executive director of the Farnsworth House, sees a deep connection between the two structures.  Read More

Bad Parks Can Mean Bad Health

Midwest
Wednesday, November 10, 2010
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Restroom in O'fallon Park. (Photo courtesy of librarian7**)

A new study says that some St. Louis residents are getting slighted when it comes to the usablity of neighborhood parks, and that may be adversely impacting their health, according to researchers from Saint Louis and Washington Universities. A story in the St. Louis Beacon reports that uneven sidewalks and outdated or broken equipment make neighborhood residents less likely to use parks. Researcher Cheryl Kelly of the School of Public Health at Saint Louis University pointed out that the lack of usability means that “people are getting less physical activity in general, which is a factor associated with health disparities, such as obesity and some chronic diseases and conditions.” Read More

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MOCA Cleveland Coming into Focus

Midwest
Friday, November 5, 2010
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Last night in a presentation at Hunter College, Farshid Moussavi revealed more details about her design for the new Museum of Contemporary Art Cleveland, including a first look at the plaza designed by Field Operations. Rows of trees will seperate the mirroed black museum from an adjacent development site, and geometrically patterned pavement will pick up on the forms of the building. Read More

Building from Ruin

Midwest
Thursday, November 4, 2010
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Catie Newell: Salvaged Landscape from Imagination Station on Vimeo.

Architectural designer Catie Newell is one of the many artists, architects, and designers that is using the landscape of Detroit as a field of study and its abandoned structures as raw material for building. In her latest installation, Salvaged Landscape, she uses the charred debris of a house, located across the street from the iconic ruined Central Station, to create a new series of walls and passage ways, animated by points of light streaming through gaps in the irregular forms.

DiCaprio's the Devil, But Who Will Star as Burnham and FLO?

Midwest
Wednesday, November 3, 2010
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(Courtesy Random House)

Chicago has been getting a lot of screentime over the last few years, standing in for Gothman in Batman Begins and enduring the wrath of the Transformers. A blockbuster of a slightly more highbrow sort is in the works, with an adaptation of Erik Larson’s bestseller The Devil in the White City. The Sun-Times and others reported this week that Leonardo DiCaprio will portray the serial killer H.H. Holmes. The story is set amid the preparations for 1893 World’s Columbian Exhibition, and the story of construction of the fair grounds, one of the major developments in the City Beautiful movement, as well as the growth of Chicago as a whole, forms a parallel narrative. Daniel Burnham and Frederick Law Olmsted play major parts in the story. Their roles have yet to be cast. Whoever lands the roles had better start growing their facial hair now.  Read More

Artist Proposes Fabric House Coat For St. Louis

Midwest
Tuesday, October 26, 2010
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Rendering showing proposed House Coat installation in St. Louis (Courtesy Leeza Meksin)

Rendering showing proposed House Coat installation in St. Louis (Courtesy Leeza Meksin)

Brooklyn-based artist Leeza Meksin plans to give an historic brick structure in St. Louis a new skin – or rather a new set of clothes.  House Coat proposes wrapping over 800 yards of spandex around the two-story building, complete with stylized “corset-like fixtures in the back, weights, [and] leather.”

Read more about the project after the jump.

Feel Wright at Home in Chicago's Riverside

Midwest
Friday, October 22, 2010
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Front view of Frank Lloyd Wright's Coonley House (Courtesy Baird & Warner)

Front view of Frank Lloyd Wright's Coonley House (Courtesy Baird & Warner)

A sprawling Frank Lloyd Wright masterpiece could be yours for a cool three mil.  Curbed Chicago digs up the listing for Chi-town’s Coonley House in the historic Riverside neighborhood.  The original clients apparently buttered up Wright, who, flattered, gave the house extra attention to detail.

Check out the Coonley House interior after the jump.

Memphis Exhibition Honors Paul Revere Williams, Architect to the Stars

Midwest, West
Wednesday, October 20, 2010
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Marina del Rey Junior High School (David Horan)

Marina del Rey Junior High School (David Horan)

Love Lucy? Lucille Ball, that is. Then you’ll love her architect, too.  Opening on October 22, the Art Museum of the University of Memphis is hosting the first museum exhibition of African-American architect Paul Revere Williams whose work spans the 1920s through the 1960s.

More after the jump.

Inside the Spire's Demise

Midwest
Monday, October 18, 2010
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(courtesy Business Week)

The Chicago skyline is one of the most impressive in the country. Those who dreamed of a twisting new tower at its pinnacle, however, will have to turn to new skyscraping schemes. The Anglo Irish Bank is seizing control of the stalled Chicago Spire’s site from Shelbourne Development. This detailed feature on the rise and fall of Santiago Calatrava’s unbuilt tower in the Irish Independent calls the project’s developer, Garrett Kelleher, emblematic of the jet-setting “Irish Tiger.” In today’s real estate environment, that label sounds more like slur than a compliment.

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