Mayor Rahmbo Mowing Down Permitting Times

Midwest
Wednesday, August 10, 2011
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Today Mayor Emanuel’s office announced plans to streamline the process for submitting and reviewing plans for building permits. The so-called “E-Plan” will eliminate paper drawings, and allow architects and engineers to submit projects to the Department of Buildings electronically. Architects and building owners will also be able to check the status of their permits instantly. “We are taking much-needed steps to increase efficiency and decrease the time it takes developers to obtain a building permit in the City of Chicago,” said the mayor, in a statement. According to an interview with NBC Chicago, Emanuel believes the new permitting measures will shave an average of 10 days off the process.

 

Museum Plaza Developers Scrap Plans for Tower

Midwest, Newsletter
Monday, August 1, 2011
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Museum Plaza would have extended Louisville's skyline. (Courtesy REX)

Museum Plaza would have extended Louisville's skyline. (Courtesy REX)

The first line of a press statement sent out by developers of the REX-designed Museum Plaza tower in Louisville, Kentucky put it bluntly: “Museum Plaza will not be built.” The 62-story hyper-rational tower—part kunsthalle museum, part residential and commercial hub, part art school—was hoped to signal the rejuvenation of the city’s urban core, but like so many iconic buildings proposed in the days leading up to the great recession, the vision succumbed to the realities of the financial markets.

Read More

Stretched for the Stars

Midwest, Newsletter
Tuesday, July 26, 2011
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(Courtesy Adler Planetarium)

When folks wait in line for the Adler Planetarium’s rehabbed space theater, they won’t be staring at a bland hallway. The new Clark Family Welcome Gallery, designed by Thomas Roszak Architecture, corrals the queue at the theater’s entrance. The goal for its design: “We wanted people to stop thinking about driving and parking, and start thinking about the mysteries of the universe,” says Adler president Paul Knappenberger. Read More

Video> Welcome to Cloquet, Home of Frank Lloyd Wright’s Only Gas Station

Midwest
Friday, July 22, 2011
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Gas station designed by Frank Lloyd Wright. (Screen Capture)

Gas station designed by Frank Lloyd Wright. (Screen Capture)

Frank Lloyd Wright’s vision of Broadacre City may have been the prototype for the modern American suburb, but in Cloquet, Minnesota, a small piece of the original plan was actually built and is still in operation. The R.W. Lindholm Service Station, the only gas station ever designed by the architect, was commissioned after the Lindholm family previously hired Wright to design their house. Finished in 1956, the service station offered a futuristic vision of the gas station as place of community and culture with a novel waiting room prominently perched overlooking the filling bays. Wright took the structure’s design seriously, even specifying that gas be dispensed from the ceiling to avoid obstacles to auto traffic flow, an innovation that didn’t make it through history.

Watch the videos after the jump.

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Competition> Envision a Future for the Pruitt-Igoe Site

Midwest, Newsletter
Thursday, July 21, 2011
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Pruitt-Igoe as planned. (all images courtesy Pruitt-Igoe Now)

Building on the renewed interest in the destruction of the Pruitt-Igoe public housing complex in St. Louis, a new competition looks to engage the history and inspire possible future uses for the 33 acre site. Nearly 40 years after the demolition–which Charles Jencks claimed signaled the death of Modern architecture itself–most of the site remains cleared, filled in with trees and grasses that have sprung up over time. Organized by the newly formed non-profit Pruitt-Igoe Now, the competition brief asks, “Can this site itself be liberated from a turbulent and mythologized past through re-imagination and community engagement?” Read More

Stop, Collaborate & Lexington: Studio Gang Reveals New Plans for Stalled Kentucky Site

Midwest, Newsletter
Thursday, July 14, 2011
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Studio Gang's design for a 30-story tower in Lexington, Kentucky (Courtesy Studio Gang)

Studio Gang's design for a 30-story tower in Lexington, Kentucky (Courtesy Studio Gang)

Developer Dudley Webb of the Webb Companies didn’t make any friends when his company razed an entire block of Downtown Lexington, Kentucky for a massive mixed-use tower that ended up stalling in the recession. Now, though, after bringing on Chicago-based Studio Gang to help reimagine the project at the behest of Lexington Mayor Jim Gray and dean of the University of Kentucky College of Design Michael Speaks, the community is regaining excitement over new plans to revamp the CentrePointe site.

Continue reading after the jump.

Front Lawn Wayfinding in Kansas City

Midwest
Friday, July 1, 2011
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Site seeing in the burbs. (photo: Gunnar Hand)

Last month rumblings started going around the leafy Armour Hills neighborhood in Kansas City, Missouri. “Those hippies are up to something,” exclaimed one the area’s more conservative residents.

Local artist Pete Cowdin, who goes by the pseudonym A. Bitterman, has created a unique outdoor experience in his front and back yards. Entitled Point of Interest, the installation takes the property of the single-family home, and transforms it into a “national park.” The installation is an interesting critique of how society views nature as somewhere outside of the built environment. “We confuse Nature for the natural world, and this has generated a kind of madness,” Cowdin said.

Continue reading after the jump.

Mark Handforth Sculptures at Chicago MCA “Big” Deal

Midwest
Thursday, June 30, 2011
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Mark Handforth Plaza Project
Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago
220 East Chicago Avenue
July 8 through October 10

The formality of the plaza and entrance that Josef Paul Kleihues designed for the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago has always stood in contrast to the institution’s experimental spirit. This summer the Miami-based artist Mark Handforth will debut four playful sculptures on the plaza and west facade of the building, including a giant brass coat hanger (above) hand bent by the artist. Other pieces, which mine Surrealism even more explicitly, include a giant streetlamp coiled like a snake, a monumental bone with a telephone handset hanging off the top, and a massive crumpled traffic cone topped with an English bobby’s hat.

On View> Pipilotti Rist: The Tender Room

Midwest
Wednesday, June 29, 2011
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(Courtesy Wexner Center)

(Courtesy Wexner Center)

Pipilotti Rist: The Tender Room
Wexner Center for the Arts
The Ohio State University
1871 North High St.
Columbus, Ohio
Through July 31

Swiss artist Pipilotti Rist makes her debut in Columbus with a new site-specific project drawn from the artist’s latest inspirations. The lush multimedia environment promises visitors a full-body experience, featuring kaleidoscopic colors, lulling soundtracks, and whimsical lighting, along with lounge chairs for taking in the sights and sounds. As usual, Rist takes a familiar starting point, such as the body, and plays with it (altering colors, speed, and sound) until it becomes unfamiliar and even fascinating. Drawing inspiration from her first feature-length film, Pepperminta (2009), Rist complicates the visitors’ environment, blurring the boundary between fantasy and reality. The exhibition also features Rist’s single-channel video Open My Glade (Flatten) (2000) outside the Wexner Center’s east entrance.

Future of Preservation in St. Louis Looks Modern

Midwest, Newsletter
Tuesday, June 28, 2011
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Del Taco in St. Louis (Courtesy Modern STL)

Del Taco in St. Louis (Courtesy Modern STL)

When St. Louis architects Schwarz and Van Hoefen designed a 120-foot diameter flying saucer in 1967 along the city’s Grand Boulevard, historic preservation was likely the last thing on their minds. Today faced with demolition, the structure’s concrete cantilever has garnered tremendous public outcry and has become a local icon. (It’s facebook page numbers over 11,600 fans, trouncing the 850 fans of Chicago’s threatened Prentice Tower.) It’s hard to imagine a gas station turned drive through restaurant could muster such support with such an anti-urban background, but the Del Taco building isn’t leaving without a fight.

Continue reading after the jump.

On View> Material Landscapes in St. Louis

Midwest
Thursday, June 23, 2011
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Asphalt tattoo in Brooklyn by Paula Meijerink (Courtesy Paula Meijerink)

Asphalt tattoo in Brooklyn by Paula Meijerink (Courtesy Paula Meijerink)

Seemingly sliced into the asphalt of a Brooklyn street beneath the Manhattan Bridge is an unexpected glass-filled “tattoo” designed by landscape architect Paula Meijerink, founder of Boston-based WANTED Landscape. Meijerink is among eight landscape architects featured in Material Landscapes, a recently opened exhibition at the Sheldon Art Galleries in St. Louis running through January 21st, 2012. Work from the eight firms including D.I.R.T  studio, dlandstudio, Stoss Landscape Urbanism, Legge Lewis Legge, PEG office, Kaseman Beckman Advanced Strategies, and ESKYIU is presented in photographs and drawings.

Curator Liane Hancock, senior lecturer at Washington University in St. Louis, chose projects ranging from a vertical container garden in Hong Kong to a waterfront in Milwaukee to reflect innovative use of materials in landscape architecture and to advance landscape design in St. Louis in light of major projects such as Citygarden and the redevelopment of the St. Louis Arch grounds.

Photos from the exhibition after the jump.

iPad 2 Giveaway: And The Winner Is….

Midwest
Monday, June 20, 2011
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Drawing the winning name (photo: Tom Stoelker/AN)

We’re back from NeoCon in Chicago, where we had a fantastic showroom crawl with designers passing through Hafele, The Fine Line, and Toto. People had drinks, took in the fantastic products, and stretched their legs after a long day at the Merchandise Mart. Now that we’re back at the office, we drew a card for the winner of an iPad 2.

And the winner is…

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