DiCaprio's the Devil, But Who Will Star as Burnham and FLO?

Midwest
Wednesday, November 3, 2010
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(Courtesy Random House)

Chicago has been getting a lot of screentime over the last few years, standing in for Gothman in Batman Begins and enduring the wrath of the Transformers. A blockbuster of a slightly more highbrow sort is in the works, with an adaptation of Erik Larson’s bestseller The Devil in the White City. The Sun-Times and others reported this week that Leonardo DiCaprio will portray the serial killer H.H. Holmes. The story is set amid the preparations for 1893 World’s Columbian Exhibition, and the story of construction of the fair grounds, one of the major developments in the City Beautiful movement, as well as the growth of Chicago as a whole, forms a parallel narrative. Daniel Burnham and Frederick Law Olmsted play major parts in the story. Their roles have yet to be cast. Whoever lands the roles had better start growing their facial hair now.  Read More

Artist Proposes Fabric House Coat For St. Louis

Midwest
Tuesday, October 26, 2010
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Rendering showing proposed House Coat installation in St. Louis (Courtesy Leeza Meksin)

Rendering showing proposed House Coat installation in St. Louis (Courtesy Leeza Meksin)

Brooklyn-based artist Leeza Meksin plans to give an historic brick structure in St. Louis a new skin – or rather a new set of clothes.  House Coat proposes wrapping over 800 yards of spandex around the two-story building, complete with stylized “corset-like fixtures in the back, weights, [and] leather.”

Read more about the project after the jump.

Feel Wright at Home in Chicago's Riverside

Midwest
Friday, October 22, 2010
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Front view of Frank Lloyd Wright's Coonley House (Courtesy Baird & Warner)

Front view of Frank Lloyd Wright's Coonley House (Courtesy Baird & Warner)

A sprawling Frank Lloyd Wright masterpiece could be yours for a cool three mil.  Curbed Chicago digs up the listing for Chi-town’s Coonley House in the historic Riverside neighborhood.  The original clients apparently buttered up Wright, who, flattered, gave the house extra attention to detail.

Check out the Coonley House interior after the jump.

Memphis Exhibition Honors Paul Revere Williams, Architect to the Stars

Midwest, West
Wednesday, October 20, 2010
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Marina del Rey Junior High School (David Horan)

Marina del Rey Junior High School (David Horan)

Love Lucy? Lucille Ball, that is. Then you’ll love her architect, too.  Opening on October 22, the Art Museum of the University of Memphis is hosting the first museum exhibition of African-American architect Paul Revere Williams whose work spans the 1920s through the 1960s.

More after the jump.

Inside the Spire's Demise

Midwest
Monday, October 18, 2010
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(courtesy Business Week)

The Chicago skyline is one of the most impressive in the country. Those who dreamed of a twisting new tower at its pinnacle, however, will have to turn to new skyscraping schemes. The Anglo Irish Bank is seizing control of the stalled Chicago Spire’s site from Shelbourne Development. This detailed feature on the rise and fall of Santiago Calatrava’s unbuilt tower in the Irish Independent calls the project’s developer, Garrett Kelleher, emblematic of the jet-setting “Irish Tiger.” In today’s real estate environment, that label sounds more like slur than a compliment.

Louisville Opens Waterfront Arena

Midwest
Wednesday, October 13, 2010
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Exterior of the new KFC Yum! Center (Courtesy Louisville Arena Authority)

Exterior of the new KFC Yum! Center (Courtesy Louisville Arena Authority)

Basketball fans in Louisville gathered Downtown Sunday on 10.10.10 for a ribbon cutting ceremony at the just-finished $238 million KFC Yum! Center designed by Populous architects, formerly HOK Sports, Venue, Event.  The 22,000 seat venue is the home of the University of Louisville Cardinals. Read More

Celebrating Bruce Graham

Midwest
Thursday, September 23, 2010
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(courtesy SOM)

Recently deceased and much respected Chicago architect Bruce J Graham, the man behind the Sears (now Willis) Tower and Hancock Center, will be honored with a special tribute Thursday, October 14 at the Art Institute of Chicago. The event, hosted by the Graham family and Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, will begin at 5:30 pm in the Rubloff Auditorium.  Graham also brought the Inland Steel Building to Chicago, the Business Men’s Assurance Company Headquarters to Kansas City, Missouri, and the recently demolished Upjohn Headquarters to Kalamazoo, Michigan, among many other significant projects.

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Daley Reverses Course, or Wants To

Midwest
Thursday, September 16, 2010
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(photo: sunface13/flickr)

Whether you want to call him a lame duck or not, Chicago Mayor Richard M Daley wants to float out of office and into Lake Michigan. Days after announcing his decision not to seek reelection the long-serving mayor hinted at a possible last hurrah: the re-reversal of the Chicago River. Read More

Day to Night, Illuminating Darkened Detroit

Midwest
Tuesday, September 14, 2010
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(All images courtesy McIntosh Poris Associates)

Architectural lighting is a great way to bring a bit of life to unused buildings. A new program in Detroit aims to cast some of the city’s many empty structures in a better light, in an effort to “mothball” them for future use. The architects at McIntosh Poris Associates have an innovative plan to re-light the four buildings without generating carbon emissions, a plan they hope to expand across downtown. Commissioned by the Detroit Downtown Development Authority, the project will light the interior and exteriors with power generated from rooftop photovoltaics. Read More

Mart for Sale? Not So Fast.

Midwest
Thursday, September 9, 2010
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The Merchandise Mart

(photo: courtesy MMPI)

Earlier in the week Crain’s reported that the Merchandise Mart, Chicago’s iconic Art Deco design center and the home of the country’s largest design trade show, is up for sale. Vornado, the New York–based real estate company that bought the Mart’s parent company from the Kennedy family in 1998, is reportedly seeking more than $1 billion for 8.9 million square feet held by Merchandise Mart Properties (MMPI).

Yesterday, MMPI released a statement disputing elements of the Crain’s story, particularly recent profitability figures. According to MMPI, their properties are 92% occupied, a rate far higher than the 84% occupancy for the rest of the Chicago central business district. The statement implies, thought it does not categorically state, that the Mart is not on the block. Here’s the full release. Read More

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Daley Out. Rahm In?

Midwest
Tuesday, September 7, 2010
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The Sun-Times broke the story that, after much deliberation, Mayor Richard M. Daley has decided not to run for reelection. Daley has been in office since 1989, so his impact has been vast, especially on the city’s built environment. From planting thousands of trees and promoting green roofs and LEED construction, to building magaprojects like Millenium Park and championing development like the new Trump Tower, Daley’s vision shaped the architecture and urbanism Chicago, as well as the city’s identity, arguably more directly than any other mayor in the country. With less than six months before the election, those interested in replacing Daley will have to work fast. President Obama’s Chief of Staff, Rahm Emanuel, generated considerable buzz earlier in the year when he said he’d like to be mayor someday. He quickly qualified that he would not challenged Daley. No word yet on his intentions following Daley’s announcement. While Emanuel is known to be a strong armed character, his views on design and the built environment are unclear at the point. Whoever becomes mayor, Daley’s shadow will be a long one.

Buy This House!

Midwest
Thursday, September 2, 2010
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(photo: John Andersen/New York Times)

The comparison shopping set up of the “What you get for…” column in the New York Times Real Estate section is often a stroke of editorial genius. This week’s price point is an affordable $275,000, which gets you a charming frame bungalow in Nashville, a handsome one bedroom loft in Philadelphia, or this Midcentury Modern two bedroom in Madison, Wisconsin, designed by William Kaeser. According to the Times, the house is located in a residential neighborhood called Sunset Village about two miles from downtown and within walking distance of shops and restaurants. The house retains many of its original details, including mahogany paneled interiors, so the right buyer could turn it into a serene yet cozy modern hideaway.

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