Vacant buildings can drag down whole blocks, depressing property values, encouraging crime and accelerating a spiral of poverty that afflicts many Chicago neighborhoods. Even the boards that cover the windows on abandoned homes can convey a sense that nobody’s in charge, or that an area can’t be salvaged to save it from demolition.
That’s the point of intervention for artist Chris Toepfer, who since 1995 has visited thousands of vacant buildings in 17 U.S. cities. Toepfer paints the boards that clad abanonded homes and businesses, working with Chicago nonprofit Neighborhood Housing Service to slow the cycle of decline in neighborhoods hit hard by the housing crisis. Dave Hoekstra profiled their work for the Sun-Times. Also, here’s a 2010 video with Toepfer from Medill Reports.
New plans for Chicago’s Purple Hotel site don’t have their predecessor’s color, in any sense of the word, but many may view the mixed-use “town center” plaza as the antidote to the site’s lurid history. The quirky midcentury hotel in suburban Chicago seemed to escape its fate last year when architect Jackie Koo drew up plans to save the vacant hotel and its divisive color scheme.
But demolition on the Purple Hotel in Lincolnwood, IL began late last month. Organizers of the village’s end-of-summer festival apparently raised $5,000 for the local library through sales of purple brick.
When London-based Two Islands took first place in Flint, Michigan’s first Flat Lot Competition for public art, images of their floating, mirror-clad meditation on the foreclosure crisis turned heads. Six months later the project has been built, but it faced challenges and has drawn criticism making the leap from rendering to reality.
With only one month remaining before Facades+ PERFORMANCE opens in Chicago, our exciting lineup of the industry’s leading innovators is gearing up for an electrifying array of symposia, panels, and workshops. Be there for this groundbreaking, two-day convergence of design and construction professionals, presented by AN and Enclos, coming to Chicago, October 24-25th.
Join Chris O’Hara, founding Principal of Boulder-based Studio NYL, for his day-one symposium, “Ludicrous Speed: the Design and Delivery of Non-traditional Facades on a Fast Track,” and learn first-hand from the experts the technologies and fabrication techniques that are revolutionizing the next generation of high performance facades. Register today to redefine performance for 21st century architecture, only at Facades+ PERFORMANCE.
Across the country cities are revamping formerly industrial riverfronts. Plans are underway for Philadelphia’s Schuylkill, the Mississippi in Minneapolis, Town Branch in Lexington, and in downtown Chicago to reclaim urban rivers for mutual goals of ecology and urbanism. That hasn’t yet caught on in Youngstown, Ohio.
The condo couple could pull up stakes and move, but they might want to avoid Milwaukee. Bikers, if you really want to ruffle some stuck-up feathers, head to Wisconsin for brew city’s first naked bike ride. Milwaukee joins chafing masses from the likes of Chicago, Boston, New York, and Houston on July 12 next year, so get your birthday suit ready.
Waiting for the bus was getting just a bit too pleasant, so it’s a good thing the 46th Ward removed benches from at least three locations in Uptown—an anonymous tipster told StreetsBlog that Alderman James Cappelman’s office apparently relieved several bus stops of their benches to prevent loitering. That’s the same Cappelman accused earlier this year of waging a “war on the poor” for pressuring the Salvation Army to stop feeding the poor in his ward.
But look at who’s tugging at his ear. A married couple of lawyers just tried to sue Cappelman and the Chicago Department of Transportation for besmirching the sidewalk in front of their condo with a Divvy bikeshare station. A judge dismissed their request to yank the station immediately, but they’re up for a hearing at the end of September. Another month of these blue beacons for bikers? Just think of the loiterers!
Chicago-based architect Jimenez Lai, principal of Bureau Spectacular, has been awarded the first BPC Debut Award for architects under 35. Lai is known for his bold, formally-inventive work, which he describes as “cartoon narratives” that “swerve into the physical world through architectural installations models, and small buildings.” He is the author of Citizen of No Place and an assistant professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago.
Selected from a pool of more than 180 entrants, Lai’s work was recognized for its “original design thinking and pursuit of critical ideas.” The prize comes with a modest monetary award of 5,000 euros.
Look for Beauty: Philip Johnson and Art Museum Design
Sheldon Museum of Art
12th and R streets, University of Nebraska, Lincoln, NE
Through October 13, 2013
The Sheldon Museum of Art in Lincoln, Nebraska, is currently celebrating the works of Philip Johnson, the influential American architect who promoted the International Style and, later, defined postmodernist architecture. One of his most iconic projects was the design of the Seagram building in Manhattan, a project undertaken in partnership with Mies Van Der Rohe. This particular project marked a decisive shift in Johnson’s career. Look for Beauty examines the design journey of Philip Johnson through the examination of three of his earlier museum buildings: Munson-Williams-Proctor Arts Institute, the Amon Carter Museum of American Art, and the Sheldon Memorial Art Gallery (now the Sheldon Museum of Art). These three projects form a coherent study of Johnson’s developing personal style in the early years of his career. The exhibition includes models, plans, furniture, photographic murals, and archival materials such as correspondence, exhibition photographs, and catalogs.
Next month, AN is providing registered architects the opportunity to earn 8 AIA LU credits and the chance to collaborate with industry experts on practical projects at Facades+PERFORMANCE Chicago. Mostapha Roudsari of Thornton Tomasetti is leading one of six full-day tech workshops programmed for October 25th at the Illinois Institute of Technology, where he will investigate building envelope performance through hands-on tasks.
For those with beginner level knowledge of Grasshopper, Roudsari will explore the relationship between building envelope performance and architectural design decision-making. Environmental Analysis for High Performance Building Envelope Design will involve a short introduction to the basics of building envelope performance evaluation, in addition to practical weather data analysis. Through a series of applications, this workshop will guide participants through an iterative method of understanding the issue, conducting design evaluations, setting up parametric models, leading environmental analyses, and drawing conclusions.
Roudsari is an Integration Applications Developer at Thornton Tomasetti where he specializes in environmental building design and simulation. His diverse expertise allows him to create automated performance-driven design and optimization workflows by integrating advanced parametric modeling with environmental performance analysis and multi-objective optimization algorithms. Roudsari is the developer for Ladybug and Honeybee, two environmental plugins for Grasshopper that allow users to import and analyze weather data and run parametric environmental studies using RADIANCE, DAYSIM and EnergyPlus directly from Grasshopper3D.