Chicago To Roll Out Alta’s Divvy Bike Share in June

Midwest
Thursday, April 25, 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 share program will kick off in June when the city debuts hundreds of light blue, three-speed bicycles that can be rented for an hourly fee or with a yearly $75 membership.

Managed by Portland, OR–based Alta Bicycle Share, which also runs New York and DC’s bike share, Chicago’s program goes by the name “Divvy.” Alta was supposed to launch the $22 million program last summer, and has since become the subject of controversy. Chicago Transportation Commissioner Gabe Klein was formerly a consultant for the company, and competitors have alleged foul play, which Alta and the city have flatly denied.

The first of Divvy’s 75 solar-powered docking stations will be downtown and in River North. Within a year the city’s plan is to roll out 400 stations and about 4,000 bicycles across the city.

Massive Monsanto Expansion in St. Louis Suburbs has Urbanists Asking, “Why not downtown?”

Midwest
Thursday, April 25, 2013
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Cannon Design's life sciences research center for agribusiness giant Monsanto in Chesterfield, Missouri. (Courtesy Cannon Design)

Cannon Design’s life sciences research center for agribusiness giant Monsanto in Chesterfield, Missouri. (Courtesy Cannon Design)

Agribusiness titan Monsanto has pledged hundreds of millions of dollars in upgrades to its research facility outside St. Louis, and design details are starting to pop up. Cannon Design will plan, design and engineer a new 400,000 square foot center for life sciences research.

Continue reading after the jump.

APA Hands Out National Planning Excellence Awards

Midwest, National
Tuesday, April 23, 2013
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Philadelphia's Integrated Planning and Zoning Process won National Planning Excellence Award for a Best Practice, namely its "innovative approach to leveraging the synergy between citizen education, planning, and zoning reform." (Courtesy APA)

Philadelphia’s Integrated Planning and Zoning Process won National Planning Excellence Award for a Best Practice, namely its “innovative approach to leveraging the synergy between citizen education, planning, and zoning reform.” (Courtesy APA)

Northwest Indiana’s 2040 masterplan took home top honors for comprehensive planning last week, when the American Planning Association handed out its 2013 National Planning Excellence Awards. The association also saluted 12 projects with the first-ever National Planning Achievement Awards.

Tying into a major theme at this year’s conference, the APA award winners tended toward projects with an ambitious scope, such as Philadelphia’s sweeping planning and zoning rewrite and New York’s Zone Green initiative.

Continue reading after the jump.

Details Emerge for Bus Rapid Transit on Chicago’s Ashland Avenue

Midwest
Monday, April 22, 2013
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ashland_brt_chi_02bashland_brt_chi_02a

Above: Before & After: Ashland Avenue at Polk. (Courtesy Chicago Transit Authority)

Chicago officials released details Friday about a much-anticipated project to roll out bus rapid transit along Ashland Avenue, a major arterial street that runs north-south a bit more than a mile and half west of downtown. Previous plans from the city included a route on Western Avenue as well, but a statement from the Chicago Transit Authority and the Chicago Department of Transportation revealed only plans for Ashland.

Continue reading after the jump.

Coming Soon To Vacant Lots in St. Louis: Chess, Farming, Sunflower Rehab

Midwest
Friday, April 19, 2013
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A restaurant made from shipping containers was among the winners.

A restaurant made from shipping containers was among the winners. (Courtesy Sustainable Land Lab)

The winners of St. Louis’ first-ever “Sustainable Land Lab” competition, put on by Washington University and city officials, attempted to make the most of a regrettably abundant resource: vacant lots.

Local architects took top honors in a competition that garnered some four dozen submissions. Each winner gets a two-year lease on a North St. Louis vacant lot and $5,000 in seed money to realize their ideas. Five winning projects will share four lots (two finalist teams combined their proposals into one new plan) across the city.

View the winners after the jump.

St. Louis Eyes Shipping Container Architecture

Midwest, Newsletter
Wednesday, April 17, 2013
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(Courtesy Delsa Development)

(Courtesy Delsa Development)

A new development in St. Louis has proposed using shipping containers to create a mixed-use building. The project, known as The Grove, is located at 4312 Manchester Avenue. It features a three-story structure of stacked steel boxes with retail on the first level and offices and residential above. The development, which already garnered the support of the Forest Park Southeast Development Committee, is set on the site of a former four-family brick home and is presently awaiting approval from the 17th Ward Alderman.

Continue reading after the jump.

Cincinnati’s Bike Hub Connects the City With Smale Riverfront Park

Midwest
Wednesday, April 17, 2013
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The bike hub in Cincinnati's Smale Waterfront Park. (Randy Simes / Urban Cincy)

The bike hub in Cincinnati’s Smale Waterfront Park. (Randy Simes / Urban Cincy)

As one of a slew of successful placemaking initiatives of late, along with the recently reopened Washington Park, Cincinnati’s Phyllis W. Smale Riverfront Park is a key component of the city’s resurgent urban identity. It’s a multi-faceted design, aspiring to filter water for flood control, provide green space and connect two downtown stadiums with a multimodal trail along the Ohio River.

Continue reading after the jump.

On View> Indianapolis Museum of Art Showing “Ai Weiwei: According to What?”

Midwest
Tuesday, April 16, 2013
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(Courtesy IMA)

(Courtesy IMA)

AI WEIWEI: ACCORDING TO WHAT?
Indianapolis Museum of Art
Allen Whitehill Clowes Special Exhibition Gallery
4000 Michigan Road
Indianapolis, Indiana
Through July 21

Ai Weiwei is internationally recognized as one of China’s most controversial and influential contemporary artists. In his exhibition Ai Weiwei: According to What?, the artist, through various media (sculpture, photography, architectural installations, and video), boldly addresses issues of human rights in China and comments on the nation’s history, traditions, and politics. The exhibit features more than 30 works spanning more than 20 years. One is an early work, Forever (2003), in which Ai arranged 42 Forever brand bicycles into a circle, to honor China’s most popular, and reliable (the bicycles were made of heavy-duty steel), mode of transportation during the mid-1900s. The exhibit is also devoted to Ai’s more provocative pieces, such as a 38-ton steel carpet entitled Straight (2008). The artist used rusted steel rebar taken from the remains of a poorly-built school that collapsed during the 2008 Sichuan earthquake that tragically killed more than 5,000 schoolchildren. The piece commemorates the thousands of lost lives while openly condemning the Chinese government’s stance on human rights.

Crain’s: “Is it finally a good time to be an architect?”.  Crain’s Chicago Business asks a good question: “Is it finally a good time to be an architect?” The story, by Micah Maidenberg, picks up on an encouraging trend in the architecture billings index. Both nationally and in the Midwest, architecture billings are back above 50, the threshold that denotes growth. In 2008, both tanked to about 35. Read the full post

 

Loyola University Hopes to Close Kenmore Ave for Pedestrian Walkway

Midwest
Monday, April 15, 2013
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loyola 2

Loyola University hopes to permanently close part of Kenmore Avenue in preparation for new dorms on its lakefront campus in Chicago’s Rogers Park neighborhood. SmithGroupJJR architects, who also helped revamp Loyola’s lakefront campus along with Solomon Cordwell Buenz, released some renderings of the new pedestrian space, which would replace Kenmore Avenue between West Sheridan Road and Rosemont Avenue.

Read More

Massive Post Office Development in Chicago Moves Forward

Midwest
Thursday, April 11, 2013
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Phase One Rendering of Old Main Post Office Redevelopment. (Courtesy Chicago Architecture Blog)

Phase One Rendering of Old Main Post Office Redevelopment. (Courtesy Chicago Architecture Blog)

International Property Developers (IPD) has renewed plans for massive developments around Chicago’s Old Main Post Office. IPD bought the structure in 2009 for $40 million and has been working with Chicago-based architects Antunovich Associates on a plan to surround the massive building, which has almost as much interior space as Willis Tower, with three new towers.

Continue reading after the jump.

On View> Jason Lazarus at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago

Midwest
Thursday, April 11, 2013
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United States Naval Station, Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. (Jason Lazarus)

United States Naval Station, Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. (Jason Lazarus)

Jason Lazarus
Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago
220 East Chicago Avenue
Through June 18

Jason Lazarus’ exhibition at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago centers around three pieces. The first, Untitled (2013), is a performance piece featuring a classical piano student playing Frederic Chopin’s Nocturne in F minor, mistakes and all. Phase 1/Live Archive (2011-present) is a collection of Occupy Wall Street signs, remade by both Lazarus and the public and based on images from print and online sources. The final piece is a project that explores the thin line between public and private sectors through media generated photography. In employing found photographs he also comments on ways archives are used and on their relationship to history. Lazarus, a Chicago-based artist, is best known as a photographer, though he is also deeply invested in the art of sign making, both physically and symbolically. He has recently expanded his artistic practice into art collector, archivist, and curator.

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