Michael Sorkin Proposal Sites Obama Presidential Library in Chicago’s Woodlawn Neighborhood

(michael sorkin studio)

(michael sorkin studio)

After President Barack Obama leaves office, he’s expected to announce the location of a Presidential Library in his name. Its location has been a topic of debate for some time already, years ahead of Obama’s return to civilian life in 2017. His birthplace, Hawaii, has made a push, as has New York’s Columbia University, where Obama got his undergraduate degree in political science.

Chicago, the President’s adopted hometown, is a natural frontrunner in the preemptive race, as it’s where Obama made most of his political ties and first launched his career in public service.

Continue reading after the jump.

Pittsburgh’s New Mayor to “Focus On Underserved Neighborhoods”

City Terrain, Midwest, News, Urbanism
Friday, January 10, 2014
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Pittsburgh (Sakeeb Sabakka via flickr)

(Sakeeb Sabakka via flickr)

Pittsburgh’s new mayor took office this week, and with him comes a cabinet division dedicated to neighborhood development. The Steel City has largely scrubbed its image as an ailing post-industrial town in recent years, drawing in new artists and young professionals, but the revival has not touched all parts of the city equally.

Continue reading after the jump.

Cincinnati Art Museum seeks new director; Aaron Betsky steps down

Art, Midwest, Shft+Alt+Del
Monday, January 6, 2014
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The cincinnati art museum. (Erica Minton via flickr)

The cincinnati art museum. (Erica Minton via flickr)

Aaron Betsky, director of the Cincinnati Art Museum for seven years, announced Thursday he’ll step down.

Cincinnati’s WVXU reported that the museum’s board will set up a search committee, and that Betsky will help pick his successor. Betsky, an architect, oversaw the first phase of a renovation for which he helped raise more $13 million, and increased the art museum’s endowment by 18 percent. His leadership was at times controversial, as when he oversaw an exhibit by artist Todd Pavlisko that included firing a .30-caliber rifle in the 132-year-old museum’s Schmidlapp Gallery.

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Frank Lloyd Wright to open balcony for home studio tours

Midwest
Friday, January 3, 2014
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frank lloyd wright's home and studio in oak park, ill. (jan uy via flickr)

frank lloyd wright’s home and studio in oak park, ill. (jan uy via flickr)

Frank Lloyd Wright fans have had plenty to celebrate lately. In December the Prairie School architect’s first independent commission, the William Winslow House, went up for sale. Now there’s more good news, reports Blair Kamin for the Chicago Tribune: the balcony over Wright’s studio in Oak Park, Ill. will be open to the public during tours for the first time in 40 years.

The Frank Lloyd Wright Trust will give two guided home and studio tours each day starting March 21, at 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. An installation on the balcony at 951 Chicago Ave. in Oak Park will celebrate Wright’s work and that of his colleagues Marion Mahony Griffin, Walter Burley Griffin, and William Drummond.

Wright, 22 at the time, designed the home studio for his family in 1889.

Chicago Group Celebrates Bungalow Belt’s 100th Anniversary

Midwest, Preservation
Thursday, January 2, 2014
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5300 S block of Sawyer mid to late 1920s bungalows (Eric Allix Rogers via Flickr)

5300 S block of Sawyer mid to late 1920s bungalows (Eric Allix Rogers via Flickr)

Among Chicago’s architectural peculiarities, none is perhaps better known than its bungalow belt—the swath of elongated, single-family homes that ring the city’s outer neighborhoods and suburbs. Read More

Indianapolis Moves to Privatize Parks

City Terrain, Midwest, Urbanism
Thursday, January 2, 2014
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Indianapolis' parks system seeks proposals from private operators by Jan. 31.  (Jay Denney via Flickr)

Indianapolis’ parks system seeks proposals from private operators by Jan. 31. (Jay Denney via Flickr)

Indianapolis’ public parks system, Indy Parks, is looking for third parties interested in privatizing some or all of the city’s parks and recreation holdings. The move follows last year’s survey seeking ways to upgrade the city’s 207 parks properties.

Continue reading after the jump.

Frank Lloyd Wright’s William Winslow House Up For Sale in Suburban Chicago

(William Winslow House Listing courtesy of MRED : Jameson Sotheby's Intl Realty)

(William Winslow House Listing courtesy of MRED : Jameson Sotheby’s Intl Realty)

Frank Lloyd Wright’s first independent commission, the William Winslow House, is on the market.

For $2.4 million, you can net this 5,000-square-foot home in River Forest, Illinois—a critical link in the development of Prairie Style, where Wright’s horizontality and dynamic interior spaces began to take shape. The home at 515 Auvergne Place is made of roman brick, white stone and plaster, and features the architect’s signature deep overhangs and stout, planar forms. A wide foyer, fireplace and built-in benches in the dining room are among its signature interior elements. Read More

Zip Lines Over the Ohio River? Louisville Designer Says It’s Possible

City Terrain, Midwest, Transportation
Tuesday, December 17, 2013
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(Russ Renbarger)

(Russ Renbarger)

Louisville, Kentucky has asked its residents for help in determining the future vision for the city, and citizens sent in thousands of ideas on how to improve Possibility City. Among the crowd-sourced suggestions were many promoting alternative transportation, whether improving bike infrastructure to building light rail to, well, even more alternative methods of getting around.

Local Russ Renbarger proposed what he calls RiverZips, a mile-long zip line across the Ohio River that would convey people between Kentucky and Indiana—more of a ride than an adventure, says Insider Louisville.

Continue reading after the jump.

Minneapolis City Council to vote on mixed-use makeover for Downtown East neighborhood

Minneapolis Downtown East could get an overhaul from developers looking to turn surface parking lots into mixed-use programming. (Ryan companies/DML)

Minneapolis Downtown East could get an overhaul from developers looking to turn surface parking lots into mixed-use programming. This rendering shows a park that would result. (Ryan companies/DML)

In its last scheduled meeting of the year, Minneapolis City Council could give the go-ahead on a $400 million mixed-use development near the new Vikings stadium. Surface parking lots currently occupy much of that land.

The Minneapolis Star-Tribune editorial board called the Downtown East neighborhood “a part of the city’s commercial core in desperate need of new life.” The newspaper stands to benefit from the project, as the editorial announces—they plan to sell five blocks of nearby property, including their current headquarters, and move downtown.

Read More

Chicago’s Divvy bikeshare wants your help placing new stations

A screenshot of Divvy stations, in blue, and suggestions in green. (Divvy)

A screenshot of Divvy stations, in blue, and suggestions in green. (Divvy)

Chicago’s Divvy bikesharing program wants your help placing new bicycle rental stations throughout the city. The Divvy Siting Team will consider your suggestions at suggest.divvybikes.com—they’ve already mapped many public suggestions alongside the 300 existing stations.

Last month the program announced its intent to become North America’s largest bikesharing system. Divvy will add 175 stations by the end of 2014 and, pending state and federal funding, bring another 75 online after that, raising the total to 550 stations.

As it expands, Divvy could address previous criticisms about equal access. Though it started by focusing on the Loop and other high-density downtown areas, the program has expanded into many neighborhoods. Still, many are unserved—Uptown is the northern terminus, while much of the West, Southwest, and South Sides have no stations.

On View> The Indianapolis Museum of Art Presents “Impressed: Modern Japanese Prints”

Art, Midwest, On View
Friday, December 13, 2013
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(Courtesy Indianapolis Museum of Art)

(Courtesy Indianapolis Museum of Art)

 

Impressed: Modern Japanese Prints
Indianapolis Museum of Art
4000 Michigan Road, Indianapolis, IN
Through January 26, 2014

In traditional Japanese woodblock printing, a team of four artists worked to create a single piece. In this collaboration, the publisher directed the designer, the engraver, and the printer to apply their respective artisan skills for the creation of a final artwork. During the early 20th century, however, a new printmaking method arose in Japan, transforming the group project into an independent endeavor. The Sosaku hanga, “creative prints,” school of printmakers became the first solo artists in Japanese woodblock printing, designing and executing every aspect of their artworks by their own hand.

Currently on exhibit at the Indianapolis Museum of Art is a collection of these masterpieces, including some the best known Sosaku hanga printmakers from the last century. Running through January 26, Impressed: Modern Japanese Prints explores the effects of blossoming individualism on woodblock prints. Distinguished by intricate detailing and the look of a highly texturized surface, the exhibition’s display of print works by Tajima Hiroyuki, Iwami Reika, Saito Kiyoshi, and Maki Haku shows that artists of this movement considered the woodblock print an art form, not a commercial venture.

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McDonald’s Development Flares Urbanist Tensions in Cleveland

Midwest, Urbanism
Wednesday, December 11, 2013
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cleveland's lorain avenue would include the city's first two-way bike path under a plan from the ohio city development corporation. (Behnke Associates, Inc., and Michael Baker Corp.)

cleveland’s lorain avenue would include the city’s first two-way bike path under a plan from the ohio city development corporation. (Behnke Associates, Inc., and Michael Baker Corp.)

Cleveland’s conflicting development pressures came to a head last week over one avenue on the city’s West Side, and whether its future holds car-oriented businesses like McDonald’s or lanes for public transit and bike paths.

The Plain Dealer’s Steven Litt reported on developers’ plans to suburbanize the area around Lorain Avenue at Fulton Road: “Residents hate the idea with a passion,” he wrote.

Continue reading after the jump.

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