Parking Increasingly Passé in Downtown Chicago Towers.  Parking Increasingly Passé in Downtown Chicago Towers Crain’s has an encouraging report on the drop in demand for parking spaces in Chicago’s downtown residential buildings. At Lakeshore East, which includes Studio Gang’s Aqua tower, only 40% of renters are leasing parking spaces. The developers had forecast a 55% demand. As a result many buildings are dropping the price for spaces. Other factors including buildings with on-site car sharing and secure bicycle storage areas are also likely cutting demand for parking spaces. As a result, some developers are rethinking how much parking to include in new projects, which would mean smaller podiums and more active street life, something any city would want.

 

Minnesotans Driving Less, Taking Transit a lot More.  Minnesotans Driving Less, Taking Transit a lot More Nationally the number of Vehicle Miles Traveled (VMT) has been declining in recent years. Transit ridership has also held steady or been climbing slightly. Minnesota seems to be a dramatic example of this new transportation reality, according to figures from the Minnesota Department of Transportation as reported on Minnpost.com. They cite a 40% increase in transit ridership from 2004 to 2011, and a small but significant decline in VMTs 2011 from their 2007 peak. Road congestion has also been easing slightly. High gas prices, an increasing preference for walkable neighborhoods, and teenagers postponing getting their licenses are all cited as contributing factors. It all adds up to further evidence that political rhetoric around gas prices, transportation, and energy policy needs to catch up to the reality on the ground.

 

On View> Sarah Morris: Points on a Line

Midwest
Thursday, March 15, 2012
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Philip Johnson’s Glass House in Connecticut. (Sarah Morris)

Philip Johnson’s Glass House in Connecticut. (Sarah Morris)

Sarah Morris: Points on a Line
The Wexner Center
1871 North High Street
Columbus, OH
Through April 15

Points On A Line, a 2010 film by artist Sarah Morris, takes two iconic buildings as its central characters, Mies van der Rohe’s Farnsworth House in Illinois and Philip Johnson’s Glass House in Connecticut (above). Commissioned by the National Trust for Historic Preservation, which owns both properties, the film is a meditation on the relationship between the buildings—Johnson, an acolyte of Mies and inspired by Farnsworth drawings, happened to complete his New Canaan house first—and the structures as they exist today. But it is the relationship of the architects themselves that becomes Morris’ narrative thread, serving as a springboard to explore their other architectural overlap: Johnson’s glamorized corporate interiors for the Four Seasons, the power-broker restaurant in the base of the Mies-designed Seagram building in Manhattan. Points on A Line underscores how our perception of a space is affected not just by its design but also its mythology.

Chicago Picks Bike-Sharing Vendor.  Chicago Picks Bike-Sharing Vendor Big changes are coming to Chicago’s streets, as AN has reported. One of the most visible, the city’s planned bike-sharing system, just took a major step forward with the selection of a vendor, Portland, Oregon-based Alta Bicycle Share and Public Bike System. The vendor will supply 3000 bikes and 300 solar powered charging stations this summer, according to the Chicago Tribune. The number will be upped to 5000 bikes and 500 stations by 2014. The Alta/Public partnership operates bike-sharing systems in London, Melbourne, Boston, Minneapolis, Toronto, Washington, D.C. and Montreal among other cities.

 

Another $9 Million Banked for Chicago’s Newest Linear Park.  Another $9 Million Banked for Chicago's Newest Linear Park Today, Mayor Emanuel announced an additional $9 million in pledges for the Bloomingdale Trail, completing funding for the first phase of the elevated rails to trails project, according to the Sun-Times. The funds include a $5 million gift from Excelon, $1 million each from Boeing and CNA, and a $2 million commitment from the city, which, combined with $37 million in federal funds, will cover the $46 million cost of the first phase. The city and park advocates hope to raise an additional $36 million to complete the project, mostly through private, corporate, and foundation sources.

 

Tracking Progress on the Bloomingdale Trail

Midwest
Friday, March 9, 2012
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(all images courtesy Ross Barney Architects)

The community planning process for the conversion of the elevated rail line known as the Bloomingdale Trail into a public park and recreational path is underway. The three mile embankment, twice the length of New York’s High Line, will feature 8 access points from adjacent pocket parks, and a mile and a half of the line will have separated pedestrian and multi-use paths (for bike riders and roller-blades). The trail winds through Chicago’s Logan Square, Wicker Park, Humboldt Park, and Bucktown neighborhoods.  Read More

New York does a David Double-Take

East, Midwest
Wednesday, March 7, 2012
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The face of David (inspired by Michelangelo) by Serkan Ozkaya. (Branden Klayko)

The face of David (inspired by Michelangelo) by Serkan Ozkaya. (Branden Klayko)

In the hustle and bustle of city life, sometimes it’s hard to find the time to visit a museum. Luckily for time-strapped New Yorkers, a massive copy of Michelangelo’s David was trucked around Manhattan on Tuesday, stopping off at the Storefront for Art and Architecture for a manifesto series called “Double” exploring the implications of creating copies, fakes, and replicas before heading to its new home at the 21c Museum Hotel in Louisville, Kentucky. This David, by conceptual artist Serkan Ozkaya is a copy of a copy of the original Florentine model, reimagined twice as tall and painted gold, making it the perfect centerpiece for the evening.

Continue reading after the jump.

Vikings Commit to Minneapolis…If They Get A New Stadium

Midwest
Tuesday, March 6, 2012
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It’s a story that’s been told in city after city. If you build it, they won’t leave. Professional sports teams hold cities hostage, playing on the loyalty of fans to get expensive, taxpayer-funded facilities, while displaying little civic loyalty of their own. Anyway! In Minneapolis, the Vikings have said they won’t decamp for Los Angeles if the city and state agree to help build a new $975 million stadium on the site of the Metrodome, according to the Star-Tribune.

Read More

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Chicago’s Bloomingdale Trail Taking Shape

Midwest, Newsletter
Thursday, March 1, 2012
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(images: CDOT)

Next week a framework plan for the abandoned elevated rail embankment known as the Bloomingdale Trail will be released. Curbed Chicago has posted some preliminary images from the Chicago Department of Transportation that were shown in public meetings last fall. While advocates have stressed that the project is not a copy of New York’s High Line, these very preliminary study images look a lot like the High Line, minus the bells and whistles like the bleachers for traffic viewing. Read More

Eavesdrop> The Gang Gang.  Eavesdrop> The Gang Gang In news that will surprise no one, Studio Gang is getting the star treatment by the Art Institute with a monographic show planned for fall 2013. Eavesdrop is certainly not immune to Jeanne Gang’s charms, nor do we dispute her talent, but her work is exhaustively covered in these pages and every other design publication as well as prestige glossies like The New Yorker. Last year, Studio Gang released a monograph of their work, as well as a book-length design proposal for the Chicago River. The firm’s contribution to MoMA’s Foreclosed exhibition just opened. Zoe Ryan and her team at the AIC, then, have given themselves a difficult task: how to show or say something new about the MacArthur-anointed genius architect. And next time, AIC, shine the spotlight on someone a bit less exposed!

 

Rice + Lipka and Field Operations to Remake MOCA Detroit

Midwest, Newsletter
Thursday, February 23, 2012
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(courtesy Zago Architecture)

When it opened in 2006, the Museum of Contemporary Art in Detroit became known as a cutting edge venue for showing contemporary art. Designed by Zago Architecture, the museum’s raw interior and graffitied exterior seemed to fit its mission and speak to the Motor City’s gritty present. How quickly museums grow up! Today, the museum announced it had selected Rice + Lipka Architects and James Corner Field Operations to renovate the building and redesign its adjacent public space.  Read More

Cabrini-Green Now Gone, But Not Forgotten.  Cabrini-Green Now Gone, But Not Forgotten AN has covered the Chicago Housing Authority’s “Plan for Transformation” from a variety of angles, including, most recently, one of the few public housing developments that is likely to be spared. Over at Places, MIT urban planner and historian Lawrence Vale takes a long look at the now demolished Cabrini-Green and the ongoing impact of the Plan, including how it has faired in the current real estate crisis. “Looking across a century of the housing that occupied this same benighted acreage, we can see striking parallels between Cabrini-Green’s slum-clearance origins in the 1930s and ’40s and the more recent fate of this site under the Chicago Housing Authority’s ongoing Plan for Transformation,” he writes.

 

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