Video> How Sasaki is transforming the Chicago Riverwalk

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The Chicago Riverwalk. (Courtesy Sasaki)

As construction crews continue to pull the Chicago Riverwalk farther into the city’s iconic waterway, Sasaki Associates has released a short documentary about the $100 million transformation. And it’s worth a watch because what’s happening in Chicago is more than your typical “reclaiming public space” type of story.

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Planning, transit, and parks projects are transforming Indianapolis

Tarkington Park is the subject of a redesign aimed at catalyzing neighborhood development and curbing crime. (Courtesy Rundell Ernesterberger Associates)

Tarkington Park is the subject of a redesign aimed at catalyzing neighborhood development and curbing crime. (Courtesy Rundell Ernesterberger Associates)

Indianapolis has been busy remaking its downtown, embarking on several developments and planning projects that city officials hope bode well for the city’s future growth. The editors at Indianapolis Monthly rounded them up this week, picking out “five projects improving Indy right now.”

Continue reading after the jump.

Frank Lloyd Wright’s Taliesin School of Architecture is losing its accreditation

Architecture, Dean's List, Midwest, News, West
Tuesday, August 26, 2014
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Talisen West Studio and Reflecting Pool (Judith Bromley)

Taliesin West Studio and reflecting pool. (Judith Bromley)

Frank Lloyd Wright, who founded the Taliesin Fellowship in 1932, can’t be pleased about the latest news from the school. Architectural Record reported that in 2017 the Taliesin School of Architecture—which currently offers Masters of Architecture degrees at its campuses in Scottsdale, Arizona and Spring Green, Wisconsin—will lose its NAAB accreditation.

Continue reading after the jump.

Michigan’s first bus rapid transit line launches today in Grand Rapids

Grand Rapids, home to Michigan's first bus rapid transit line. (Ian Freimuth via Flickr)

Grand Rapids, home to Michigan’s first bus rapid transit line. (Ian Freimuth via Flickr)

Michigan‘s first bus rapid transit line launches this week, whisking passengers from downtown Grand Rapids through the city’s “Medical Mile” and south suburbs—a 9.6-mile journey that used to take 45 minutes will now be only a 27-minute commute, reported mlive.com.

Continue reading after the jump.

Urbana’s Shape-Shifting Parking Garage Facade

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Urbana Studio designed an interactive aluminum facade for an existing parking structure at Eskenazi Hospital in Indianapolis. (Serge Hoeltschi)

Urbana Studio designed an interactive aluminum facade for an existing parking structure at Eskenazi Hospital in Indianapolis. (Serge Hoeltschi)

Folded aluminum panels deliver the illusion of movement to passersby.

During their recent expansion, Eskenazi Hospital in Indianapolis approached Urbana Studio with an unusual request. The hospital wanted the Los Angeles-based art and architecture firm to design an interactive facade for a recently completed parking structure. “With Indianapolis’ really extreme weather patterns, we gave a lot of thought to: how can we make something that’s interactive but won’t be broken in a year?” said Urbana principal Rob Ley. “Unfortunately, the history of kinetic facades teaches us that that they can become a maintenance nightmare.” Urbana’s solution was to turn the relationship between movement and the object on its head. Though the aluminum facade, titled May September, is itself static, it appears to morph and change color as the viewer walks or drives by.
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Construction finally underway on Detroit’s 3.3-mile-long M-1 rail line

The 80-foot, 3,000-pound rails that will become the M1 Rail track have begun to arrive in Detroit. (Courtesy image - M1 Rail)

The 80-foot, 3,000-pound rails that will become the M1 Rail track have begun to arrive in Detroit. (Courtesy M1 Rail)

After years of planning, Detroit‘s M-1 Rail Line took an important step into physical reality this week, as piles of 80-foot-long, 3,000-pound rails arrived on construction sites that will build the 3.3 mile streetcar line by the end of 2016. Read More

Development ramps up in Chicago’s Logan Square neighborhood, provokes class tensions

Development, Midwest
Wednesday, August 20, 2014
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The Logan Square lot long home to "Mega Mall," a blighted flea market and two surface parking lots, may become "Logan's Crossing," an updated retail hub along an increasingly busy stretch of Milwaukee Avenue. (Courtesy Antunovich Associates via Curbed Chicago)

The Logan Square lot long home to “Mega Mall,” a flea market and two surface parking lots, may become “Logan’s Crossing,” an updated retail hub along an increasingly busy stretch of Milwaukee Avenue. (Courtesy Antunovich Associates via Curbed Chicago)

Bigger developments are targeting Logan Square lately, sparking local debates about what direction is best for the majority Latino neighborhood on Chicago’s northwest side.

Continue reading after the jump.

Goettsch Partners to design five towers in booming Shenzhen’s Qianhai district

Chicago's Goettsch Partners will design five towers for Shenzhen, China's Qianhai district, which Chinese authorities say will one day be the "Manhattan of the Pearl River Delta." (Goesttch Partners)

Chicago’s Goettsch Partners will design five towers for Shenzhen, China’s Qianhai district, which Chinese authorities say will one day be the “Manhattan of the Pearl River Delta.” (Goesttch Partners)

Goettsch Partners landed its largest project in China, a cluster of five towers on 15 acres in Shenzhen’s Qianhai district. China Resources Land Limited (CR Land) hired the Chicago-based Goettsch to design 5.4 million square feet of space for offices, apartments, a five-star hotel, and retail. U.K.–based Benoy is the masterplanner, and is designing a shopping mall and retail areas at the towers’ base.

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Chicago Placemaking Festival Aims to teach Old Places New Tricks

Art, City Terrain, Midwest, Urbanism
Friday, August 15, 2014
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(Metropolitan Planning Council)

(Metropolitan Planning Council)

In a few short years, the term placemaking has migrated from wonky urban planning circles to neighborhoods across the country—that communities come together around public space is no groundbreaking observation, but when successful the idea can be revolutionary on a local scale.

So hopes Chicago’s Metropolitan Planning Council, who this weekend will sponsor “Old Place New Tricks,” a bid to “activate” neighborhoods from Englewood to Ravenswood with public space interventions that range from a “healthy eating happy hour” to “Selfie Sunday.”

More info after the jump.

Pictorial> New photos illuminate Cleveland’s “AHA!” festival of lights

“The Global Rainbow” in Cleveland by artist Yvette Mattern. (frank lanza)

“The Global Rainbow” in Cleveland by artist Yvette Mattern. (Frank Lanza)

Last week AN plugged an event that aimed to turn downtown Cleveland into a festival of lights. Sure enough, colorful projections flooded the walls of downtown cultural institutions while a massive rainbow arched over the city and iridescent discs of rainbow light saw curious Clevelanders clambering about.

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Detroit’s infamous theater-turned-parking garage sold at auction

Detroit's crumbling Michigan Theatre has fallen into disrepair since its 1926 construction. (Hermann Schleicher-Roevenstrunck via Flickr)

Detroit’s Michigan Theatre has fallen into disrepair since its 1926 construction. (Hermann Schleicher-Roevenstrunck via Flickr)

Detroit’s Michigan Theatre remains iconic, but not for the reasons that made it so during its early 20th century heyday. Now the opulent 1926 concert hall holds parked cars instead of theater-goers. Will it remain a symbol of Detroit’s struggle to recover from long-term disinvestment, or could it become emblematic of the city’s resilience?

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Detroit “Reanimate the Ruins” Ideas Competition Tackles Historic Packard Automotive Plant

1st-Place-2

The competition winning proposal, Cross the Plant, by Vincent Lavergne.

In 2009, vandals pushed a dump truck through a hole in the wall on the fourth story of the abandoned Packard Automotive Plant in Detroit. (Of course there’s a video.) It’s a level of dereliction and decay that’s frankly common to North America’s foremost basket-case city, but it’s made a bit more poignant by the fact that the plant (built in 1907 and closed in the late ’90s) was once an icon of Detroit’s command over automotive technology and the automotive industry. The 3.5-million-square-foot facility was designed by Albert Kahn to produce luxury cars, and was the first of its type to use a reinforced concrete structure.

But now it’s time for some more creative thinking about how to use the Packard site.

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