Construction Fully Funded for St. Louis’ Loop Trolley Project

Midwest
Monday, September 10, 2012
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One of the vintage trolley cars that will eventually traverse St. Louis' Delmar Loop. (Claudia Daggett/Flickr)

One of the vintage trolley cars that will eventually traverse St. Louis’ Delmar Loop. (Claudia Daggett/Flickr)

Plans for a fixed-track trolley system in St. Louis got a $22 million infusion last week, when the Federal Transit Administration followed through with plans to fund construction of the city’s long-awaited Loop Trolley system.

The Loop Trolley Transportation Development District would administer a 2.2-mile track from the Missouri History Museum in Forest Park to the University City Library—part of a regional plan for more sustainable transit. Three hybrid electric trolleys will make nine stops along the way, offering connection with the existing light rail MetroLink system.

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Prentice Preservationists Doubt Northwestern Survey Results

Midwest, Newsletter
Monday, September 10, 2012
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(TheeErin/Flickr)

(TheeErin/Flickr)

Even after several Pritzker-winning architects signed onto the preservation campaign last week, the Commission on Chicago Landmarks again omitted from its meeting agenda the embattled Old Prentice Women’s Hospital. Then, noting the recent flurry of media coverage, commission Chariman Rafael Leon announced at the top of Thursday’s meeting that the commission would address the issue before the end of its fall season.

Continue reading after the jump.

Let There Be Light: Cleveland Museum of Art’s New Atrium Open

Midwest
Friday, September 7, 2012
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A view of the skylight that defines Cleveland Museum of Art's new atrium. (Courtesy Bruce Kratofil via Flickr.)

A view of the skylight that defines Cleveland Museum of Art’s new atrium. (Courtesy Bruce Kratofil via Flickr.)

After seven years of construction, during much of which visitors were sent on an underground detour, the Cleveland Museum of Art’s expansive atrium opened in late August.

The 39,000-square-foot Rafael Viñoly-designed atrium is essentially a massive skylight, which arcs from 55 to 66 feet in height across a space nearly as large as a football field. Planting beds complement the granite floor, anchoring an airy space that houses a second floor mezzanine and could seat upwards of 700 people for events.

Continue reading after the jump.

Hotel Made from Shipping Containers Planned for Detroit’s Eastern Market

Midwest
Thursday, September 6, 2012
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Collision Works would be a boutique hotel made from shipping containers in Detroit's Eastern Market area. (Courtesy Detroit Collaborative Design Center.)

Collision Works would be a boutique hotel made from shipping containers in Detroit’s Eastern Market area. (Courtesy Detroit Collaborative Design Center.)

Following the many interesting developments in Detroit these days, one gets a sense that the city’s post-industrial landscape is fertile ground for innovative design. A boutique hotel made of shipping containers seems to back up that trend.

Collision Works, as the project is called, touts the structural merits of shipping containers. “Shipping containers are considerably more durable than standard construction, can cost less, and most importantly are about 30 percent faster to build,” writes project founder Shel Kimen.

Continue reading after the jump.

On View> Grete Marks: When Modern Was Degenerate

Midwest
Thursday, September 6, 2012
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(Courtesy Milwaukee Museum of Art)

(Courtesy Milwaukee Museum of Art)

Grete Marks: When Modern Was Degenerate
Milwaukee Art Museum
700 North Art Museum Drive Milwaukee, WI
Through January 1

Grete Marks was born in Cologne in 1899 to an artistic Jewish family, and she enrolled in the ceramics program at the Bauhaus School in 1920. In 1923 she left the school to marry a young industrialist with whom she founded the Haël Factory for Artistic Ceramics to produce her designs. These works are composed of simple geometric shapes, glazed with striking colors and patterns in the style of Soviet Constructivist painters and showcasing the Bauhaus ideal of uniting industrial mass-production with Modernist aesthetics. Marks’ legacy as a potter was cut short by the Nazi party when in 1935 they declared her artwork “degenerate,” and her avant-garde pottery career ended with the onset of World War II. This will be the first American exhibition to explore Marks’ work and the circumstances that have prevented her name from entering the list of Bauhaus greats.

More images after the jump.

Five Pritzker-winning architects join “Save Prentice” campaign

Midwest
Tuesday, September 4, 2012
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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)

Bertrand Goldberg’s Prentice Hospital has become the cause célèbre for architectural preservationists from across Chicago and beyond, now garnering five more Pritzker-toting allies amid mounting pressure for demolition.

Robert Venturi, Tadao Ando, Jacques Herzog, Pierre de Meuron, and Eduardo Souto de Moura added their names to a letter sent to Mayor Rahm Emanuel last month from more than 60 architects, including Frank Gehry. Dan Coffey and Jack Hartray of Chicago, George Miller of New York City, Denise Scott Brown of Philadelphia, and Bjarke Ingels of Copenhagen also joined the chorus of designers calling on Chicago city officials to grant the iconic cloverleaf structure landmark status.

Continue reading after the jump.

Cincinnati Close to First New Masterplan in 32 Years

Midwest, Newsletter
Thursday, August 23, 2012
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Downtown Cincinnati. (Firesign/Flickr)

Downtown Cincinnati. (Firesign/Flickr)

Cincinnati, a city on the move, released a draft of its first master plan since 1980 in anticipation of approval by the planning commission August 30. The 222-page draft identifies five “initiative areas,” dubbed Compete, Connect, Live, Sustain, and Collaborate. Each contain tasks for growth over approximately ten years, according to the plan, although the document will receive annual budget reviews and will be officially updated every five years.

Continue reading after the jump.

New Life Comes With New Name for Purple Hotel

Midwest
Thursday, August 23, 2012
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Lincolnwood's Purple Hotel, celebrated in a mid-century postcard. (Courtesy Koo & Associates)

Lincolnwood’s Purple Hotel, celebrated in a mid-century postcard. (Courtesy Koo & Associates)

A rose by any other name may still smell as sweet, but what about a violet? Suburban Chicago’s Purple Hotel, rescued this Spring from dereliction and impending demolition, may change its name to complement its transformation under architects Koo and Associates. The firm solicited name suggestions via Facebook, looking for “something mid-century and fresh.” One early commenter declared, “Renaming the Purple Hotel will go over about as well as renaming the Sears Tower.”

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Mies-En-Scène.  Downtown Chicago could have its own tech hub, if plans from the University of Illinois and the state come to fruition. (Courtesy Langham Chicago) Mies better have a big old casket, because he’s undoubtedly been doing a lot of rolling over lately. First, the project to convert the lower floors of the IBM building into an eye-rolling five-star hotel called the Langham Chicago is back on. And now the city of Detroit and HUD are fighting over the fate of the foreclosed Lafayette apartment buildings. Let’s just hope they end up in the hands of a preservationist. (Photo: Courtesy Langham Chicago)  

 

With New Rankings, Pedaling Cleveland Forward.  A bike rack in Cleveland. (Spacing Magazine/Flickr) Despite an increased focus on sustainable transportation, Cleveland lost its spot on Bicycling Magazine’s list of the 50 most bike-friendly cities. With New York’s bike share program delayed, DC reporting increased bike ownership, and Chicago rolling out new protected lanes, efforts to promote pedaling in Cleveland have not dominated national bike news. But after landing 39th on the magazine’s list in 2011, the city was not named this year. That prompted Rust Wire to rally for Cleveland to “boldly prioritize bicycle infrastructure,” building on a recent safety ordinance considered one of the most progressive in the state. (Photo: Spacing Magazine/Flickr)

 

Cleaning up an Arts District in Cincinnati

Midwest
Thursday, August 16, 2012
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Brownstones in Pendleton, a neighborhood in downtown Cincinnati. (Wikimedia Commons)

Brownstones in Pendleton, a neighborhood in downtown Cincinnati. (Wikimedia Commons)

In its ongoing march to reclaim downtown neighborhoods marred by blight and suburban exodus, Cincinnati this week added Pendleton to the Neighborhood Enhancement Program. The district is known for its art center, and was a natural choice for the program now in 14 areas of the city.

Like its neighbor to the west, Over-the-Rhine, Pendleton has struggled with crime. The “90-day blitz of city services” offered by NEP is designed to begin the process of long-term revitalization for the neighborhood by addressing that issue. Kennedy Heights saw a 16 percent drop in crime after it embarked on NEP earlier this year. The program will be reevaluated every 90 days, and again six months after completion.

Continue reading after the jump.

Ask Not What The Google Can Do For You

Eavesdroplet, Midwest, Newsletter
Tuesday, August 14, 2012
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Wolf Point on the Chicago River. (Courtesy Pelli Clarke Pelli)

Wolf Point on the Chicago River. (Courtesy Pelli Clarke Pelli)

The biggest stir caused by the Kennedy’s newest proposal for developing Wolf Point was not obscuring the Merchandise Mart views or initial reactions to the renderings or the stuffing of three very tall towers on one impossibly small piece of land. It was more like, “There’s a living Kennedy with a stake in Chicago real estate?” We all know the family sold the Mart years ago. Fewer of us knew they held on to that little sandbar that sits in front of the the Sun-Times building.

Ready to boost the family fortune, the Kennedys with Hines, Cesar Pelli, and bKL plan to stuff three towers onto the site. Is this the architectural equivalent of a 10 lb. bag of sugar in a 5 lb. sack? Maybe, but development of that scale is also kind of exciting. And that leads to the biggest question. Can this economy support a residential and commercial project of this size? Well, Jean—that’s the last sibling standing, right, so the land must be hers—get out your good-faith checkbook: Google is coming. They’ve leased the top floors of the Mart, which will serve as the new headquarters of Motorola, which Google has acquired. That means thousands of high paying fancy Google jobs just across the street. With that news, Wolf Point is a done deal, no?

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