Happy birthday, Millennium Park! Yes, the Chicago park named for the chronological milestone now 14 years in the rearview mirror is turning 10—it went famously over-schedule and over-budget but we love it nonetheless. Last year 4.75 million people visited Chicago’s front yard, taking in free concerts and events, and probably taking at least as many selfies with Anish Kapoor’s Cloud Gate and the flowing titanium locks of Frank Gehry‘s Pritzker Pavilion in the background.
In honor of the anniversary, the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events is kicking off a series of shows and exhibitions that includes new work from Crown Fountain designer Jaume Plensa. Hey, Jaume! Email us if you need another face for your 40-foot LED projection!
Here at AN, we’re celebrating with ten of our favorite photographs of the park taken over the past decade and more. Take a look below.
Decades before the Americans With Disabilities Act, Frank Lloyd Wright designed an accessible home for a World War II veteran. Now Wright’s only home designed for a person with a disability will open to the public. Wright’s Kenneth & Phyllis Laurent House in Rockford, Illinois opens for tours on June 6, two days before what would have been its architect’s 147th birthday.
Ludwig Mies van der Rohe’s archetypal modernist home, the Farnsworth House, is drowning. The banks of the Fox River served as an idyllic setting for the building’s white steel and glass when it landed in Plano, Illinois. But lately the Fox has gone rabid, spilling over its banks three times in the past 18 years. So what to do? Preservationists are looking at installing hydraulic jacks to lift the house during floods, to the tune of about $3 million. Call it the Three Million Dollar Modernist. Ironically Mies put the house on stilts to prevent such flooding; I guess you can’t outwit a wily Fox.
Visitors to Chicago’s John Hancock Tower this weekend were, of course, treated to the skyscraper’s stunning views of Lake Michigan and downtown Chicago, but the thrill-seekers among them also had another option. On the 94th floor, up to eight people at a time can stand in a glass box that tilts out 20 degrees, dangling them 1,000 feet above the street.
bKL Architecture is going as bullish as any Chicago-based firm in this start-and-stop economy, embarking on big commissions in Beijing and Toronto while committing to more and more work at home. The firm bunks with Magellan Development in ground floor offices at Aqua Tower and has partnered with the Lakeshore East progenitor on a number of buildings including two phases of the new GEMS Academy private school.
And now that kinship is extending into River North. Fresh off the drafting table is a 38-story rental tower slated for 720 North LaSalle Street (at Superior) on the present site of a Howard Johnson Inn, one of downtown Chicago’s last remaining suburban-style motels—and a relic of affordability.
Friday> Freecell & Pulitzer Foundation turn a vacant lot in St. Louis into a parade of public programs
Last year, a vacant lot across the street from the Pulitzer Foundation in St. Louis became the site of a design competition for a temporary built-environment installation. New York’s Freecell Architecture won PXSTL’s $50,000 project budget and $10,000 honorarium for a proposal to erect an adjustable canopy for performances and gatherings—an idea Kristina Van Dyke, director of the Pulitzer Foundation, called “both monumental and ephemeral at the same time.”
[Editor's Note: The following are reader-submitted response to the article “A Manifesto from the Architecture Lobby” (Protest AN 01_01.22.2014_MW). Opinions expressed in letters to the editor do not necessarily reflect the opinions or sentiments of the newspaper. AN welcomes reader letters, which could appear in our regional print editions. To share your opinion, please email firstname.lastname@example.org. ]
I read the article, “A Manifesto from the Architecture Lobby” and found every single word applicable to my own situation and my own firm. While we architects enjoy the perceived honor of our profession, it undermines the vocation’s viability as an occupation versus a good hobby.
Chicago‘s most famous architect has just acquired a New York City pied-à-terre. Studio Gang has opened an office on Water Street in Lower Manhattan, which will be led by Weston Walker, a design principal. “This is a natural next step for the firm,” said founding principal Jeanne Gang in a statement. “We have been working in New York for the past several years and are excited by the variety of work currently in design, along with potential engagements in the city and beyond.”
The firm is currently working on a Fire Rescue facility for the New York City Department of Design and Construction and on the “Solar Carve” tower adjacent to the High Line. That project met resistance from the community for its height. There is no word yet on how tall it will be or how it will be redesigned.
Six months after its proposal for a mid-sized development on the site of Chicago’s one-time “punk rock donut shop” raised height concerns, developer BlitzLake Capital Partners has scaled back its plans. Now the mixed-use development at the corner of Belmont and Clark in the Lakeview neighborhood is hoping for eight stories instead of 11.
My Florence: Photographs by Art Shay
Museum of Contemporary Photography
624 South Michigan Avenue
Through May 24
My Florence is a photographic project by renowned Chicago Photojournalist Art Shay. For over six decades, Art Shay’s photographs have appeared in such periodicals as Time, Life, Fortune, and Sports Illustrated. In Shay’s words, My Florence “is the story in pictures of our 67 years of marriage.” The photographs in this show are primarily candid and capture moments beginning with the first photograph Art took of Florence, his wife, the day they met in 1942 as 20-year-old camp counselors in the Catskills.