Detroit Mayor Endorses Seed Money for Urban Agriculture

Midwest
Tuesday, July 10, 2012
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earthworks farm Detroit

EARTHWORKS FARM SERVES CAPUCHIN SOUP KITCHEN, A LOCAL FARMERS MARKET AND GLEANER'S FOOD BANK. (COURTESY A HEALTHIER MICHIGAN/FLICKR.)

Despite the Motor City’s notoriety as a symbol of urban decay, development is actually going on in Detroit. And with almost 40 square miles of vacant land, Detroit has the chance to redefine urban renewal outright. The city recently took note of one major way some residents are turning blight into bounty: Mayor David Bing signed off on Michigan State University’s plan to seed urban agriculture in Detroit with $1.5 million over the next three years.

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On View> The Future of Yesterday

Midwest
Monday, July 9, 2012
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Crystal Palace. (Ives Maes & Christian Nagel)

Crystal Palace. (Ives Maes & Christian Nagel)

The Future of Yesterday: Photographs of Architectural Remains at World’s Fairs
Nelson-Atkins Museum
45th and Oak Streets, Kansas City, MO
Through September 9

In conjunction with Inventing the Modern World: Decorative Arts at the World’s Fairs 1851–1939, the Nelson-Atkins Museum presents the first solo American exhibition of Belgian artist Ives Maes. In contrast to the technological and stylistic innovation showcased in the companion exhibition, Maes provides a study of the lasting artifacts of the world’s fair utopian aspirations. The photographs uncover fair grounds as they stand today, sometimes repurposed but often abandoned or in ruins (such as the site of London’s Crystal Palace, above), juxtaposing the optimism of the architects’ vision with the reality of the present. Co-curator Catherine L. Futter explains, “Ives’ visually compelling images and sculptural presentation lead us to examine the condition, context and activities of the sites in the present, yet evoke the magnificent and progressive ideals of these global events.”

On View> Skyscraper: Art and Architecture Against Gravity

Midwest
Thursday, July 5, 2012
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(Courtesy Marie Bovo & Kamel Memmour)

(Courtesy Marie Bovo & Kamel Memmour)

Skyscraper: Art and Architecture Against Gravity
Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago
220 East Chicago Avenue, Chicago
Through September 23

The Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago brings together 50 international 20th and 21st century artists for a show that investigates our enduring fascination with building into the sky. Skyscraper: Art and Architecture Against Gravity presents a history of these iconic structures and their impact on our understanding of technology, society, and myth. The exhibition is divided into five themed sections. “Verticality” reflects the optimism of building upward and the pursuit of iconic form. “Personification of Architecture” juxtaposes human and architectural form, placing the body in terms of building and vice-versa. “Urban Critique” examines the effects of modern housing on its inhabitants and the dislocation and alienation that can result from architecture’s utopian impulse. “Improvisation” records occupants’ responses to their built environment and the ways they transform and humanize buildings as documented in Marie Bovo’s courtyard perspective, above. “Vulnerability of Icons” considers our changing relationship to tall buildings post-9/11.

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Mies Blocks on the Block in Detroit.  Detroit stalled HUD's planned auction of the Mies towers. (COURTESY GEHAD HADIDI VIA FLICKR.)  Mies van der Rohe’s Lafayette Towers are up for sale. It’s a striking reminder of the symbiosis between cities and iconic architecture—one which speaks to the mercurial nature of Detroit’s real estate market since World War II. The twin high-rises were foreclosed in February, and will go up for auction later this month. All 584 apartment units will go to the highest bidder July 18, but this is no ordinary sale. The Department of Housing and Urban Development will require the lucky winner to spend more than $10 million on an 80-page list of renovations to the historic buildings, and invest $2.5 million in an escrow account for HUD to hedge their risk.

 

Z World Detroit, A Neighborhood Made Undead

Midwest
Tuesday, July 3, 2012
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When RoboCop replicas and community gardens just can't cut it, legions of the undead may supply a solution. (Courtesy Z World Detroit)

As community groups and government agencies in Detroit struggle to find a solution to the depopulation and economic problems facing the city, one group sees opportunity in the city’s abandonment. A rather imaginative new proposal seeks to create a destination out of dereliction—a morbid amusement park out of a moribund neighborhood. A zombie experience park!

Z World Detroit proposes to transform a 200-acre blighted area of the city into an interactive zombie park where abandoned warehouses become sanctuaries and condemned homes into hideouts as visitors run for their lives through city streets while the undead hordes trail closely behind. As you and a group of friends forage for food and water in this surreal over-night adventure, empty stores and forgotten factories may house the last supplies and provisions.

Continue reading after the jump.

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Unveiled> SOM’s Hilltop Hospital in Cincinnati Brings Light into the Healing Process

Midwest
Monday, July 2, 2012
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THE HOSPITAL'S SOUTH LOBBY. (IMAGE COURTESY SOM)

THE HOSPITAL'S SOUTH LOBBY. (COURTESY SOM)

While the myriad instruments lining hospital walls are revised constantly to promote patient wellness, the building is there to stay. So if design can help heal or comfort the afflicted, hospital architecture is critical.

A Skidmore Owings & Merrill masterplan for Cincinnati’s Christ Hospital is meant to have a calming influence on both patients and staff. SOM’s 1.4-million-square-foot project broke ground Thursday, with completion expected by mid-2015. Demolition of a parking garage on the south end of the site will clear way for a new Orthopaedic and Spine Center, whose downtown-facing south side will serve as the new face for the hilltop hospital.

Continue reading after the jump.

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Kordalski Takes Cleveland

Midwest
Thursday, June 28, 2012
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Flour Restaurant, a recent project by Cleveland Arts Prize winner Steven Kordalski's firm.

Flour Restaurant, a recent project by Cleveland Arts Prize winner Steven Kordalski's firm. (Courtesy Kordalski Architects)

The 2012 Cleveland Arts Prize committee levied praise on Steven Kordalski, the 59-year-old Cleveland architect who received this year’s Mid Career Award for Design. The award, which was first given in 1960, is the oldest of its kind in the country. Kordalski is president of Kordalski Architects, a boutique architectural studio in Cleveland’s Little Italy neighborhood that specializes in corporate interiors, commercial, and residential projects.

Continue reading after the jump.

Get ‘Em While You Can Afford ‘Em.  Coil Lamp by Craighton Berman. Local hot-shot designer, Craighton Berman, has left the firm gravitytank to go solo. He’s keeping himself busy with all kinds of stuff—from illustration to design workshops. Craig, whose illustrations regularly don the pages of Dwell, designed the Coil Lamp, which graced the pages of this paper and many others. The Coil Lamp was recently added to the permanent collection of the Art Institute of Chicago. Better get one before they become pricey collectibles.

 

On View> Unseen City: Designs for a Future Chicago

Midwest, Newsletter
Tuesday, June 26, 2012
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Clean Tower by Kyle Bigart & Peter Binggeser.

Clean Tower by Kyle Bigart & Peter Binggeser.

There were about as many ideas for development on Chicago’s high-profile real estate at Wolf Point as there are Chicagoans. One you didn’t hear about during Alderman Brendan Reilly’s initial public meeting was The Clean Tower—a supertall that would return filtered wastewater to the Chicago River beneath its slanted profile.

The Clean Tower wasn’t actually on the table for Wolf Point, but it does occupy real estate on the Chicago Architecture Foundation’s model of downtown. That’s because it’s part of Unseen City: Designs for a Future Chicago, an exhibition of imaginative projects from Illinois Institute of Technology’s “Hi-Rise, Lo-Carb” studio.

Continue reading after the jump.

The Gift that Keeps on Giving.  Lucien Lagrange. He’s back, y’all! Without a doubt, he’ll once again spread his Nouveau Beaux Arts buildings across Chicago. Wait, what? Who are we talking about? Who else? Lucien Lagrange. After a strong decade or two spreading an upscale Disney-esque version of Paris-on-Steroids across Chicago’s skyline (see: the Waldorf Astoria, 65 East Goethe, Lincoln Park 2520), a public divorce from designer Jessica Lagrange, his namesake firm’s bankruptcy (which we’re sure had nothing to do with the divorce), his retirement, his joining VOA (just joking about retirement!), his bitter divorce from VOA, and now the recent announcement of HKS Lucien Lagrange Studio, a boutique practice within the HKS. Think of this next installment as the architecture version of a pop-up store. The question is, how long will it last?

 

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

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