Ahoy! Chicago entrepreneur wants to park a floating pool in Lake Michigan

breakwater-chicago-01

(SPACE Architects + Planners)

Party boats are common in Lake Michigan off the shores of Chicago’s more well to do neighborhoods. But local entrepreneur Beau D’Arcy wants to corner that market with Breakwater Chicago—a floating club and leisure destination anchored in the city’s downtown harbor year-round. The 33-year-old engineer told the Chicago Tribune he’s hoping to create the city’s “next Bean,” referencing Millennium Park’s Cloud Gate sculpture.

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“Living” skin lands HOK designers first place in Chicago Living Building Challenge competition

Architecture, Awards, Midwest, News
Thursday, June 5, 2014
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HOK's design for an addition to Chicago's Eli Whitney Elementary School employs a "living" bimetallic skin. (Courtesy HOK)

HOK’s design for an addition to Chicago’s Eli Whitney Elementary School employs a “living” bimetallic skin. (Courtesy HOK)

With a “living” skin of bimetallic strips, four HOK architects have won a Chicago Living Building Challenge competition to design an addition for a school on Chicago’s Southwest Side.

The 2014 School Annex Design Competition, organized by the Living Building Challenge Collaborative: Chicago (LBCCC), asked entrants to design a new building for overcrowded Eli Whitney Elementary School while meeting the strict environmental standards of the Living Building Challenge, which include omitting a long list of banned building materials.

COntinue reading after the jump.

Chicago’s Divvy bike share program gets a corporate sponsor

Pro tip: A bike with the seat backwards means it's in need of repair. (John Sonderman / Flickr)

Pro tip: A bike with the seat backwards means it’s in need of repair. (John Sonderman / Flickr)

Divvy, Chicago’s bike share program, just sold the moving ad space of some 3,000 bicycles that have traveled 2.5 million miles since the system launched nine months ago. Illinois’ largest health insurance company, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois, paid $12.5 million to sponsor Divvy and brand its blue bikes and vans with their corporate logo beginning in June. The Chicago Tribune reported that the highest bidder was Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association, which has also sponsored several other bikeshare systems in recent years, starting in Minneapolis. The health insurance company will pay $2.5 million each year through 2018—revenue the city will use to expand Divvy and fund bicycling projects throughout the city.

Eavesdrop> Block Party: Chicago Design Museum Finds New Home in Downtown Chicago Mall

Eavesdroplet, Midwest
Monday, June 2, 2014
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block-thirty-seven-chicago

Just last month Eaves dropped in on the Chicago Design Museum for the launch of its Kickstarter campaign, which sought funding for the institution’s first summer exhibition in a new permanent space. Well, that space has been revealed, and it’s every Chicagoan’s favorite downtown boondoggle. No, not the Spire. Or the Post Office. Never mind—it’s Block Thirty Seven! That’s right, it turns out the largely vacant downtown mall has 5,000 square feet free for ChiDM (and probably a lot more). A good chance to remind yourself that the building’s still there, looming above the Red Line-Blue Line transfer.

Minneapolis breaks ground on massive downtown east development

Minneapolis developers broke ground May 13 on a mixed-use development in Downtown East. (Ryan companies/DML)

Minneapolis developers broke ground May 13 on a mixed-use development in Downtown East. (Ryan companies/DML)

Earlier this month, workers broke ground on the largest Twin Cities real estate development project in two decades. Budding off a new stadium for the Minnesota Vikings, designed by HKS, locally based Ryan Companies saw an opportunity to redefine the Minneapolis neighborhood of Downtown East.

Continue reading after the jump.

Chicago’s School of the Art Institute taps Jonathan Solomon as head of architecture

Jonathan D. Solomon. (Courtesy Solomon)

Jonathan D. Solomon. (Courtesy Solomon)

Chicago’s top art school announced big changes in its design department this morning.

The School of the Art Institute of Chicago Thursday announced their selection of Jonathan Solomon as the new Director of the Department of Architecture, Interior Architecture, and Designed Objects (AIADO). Solomon, who comes from his position as associate professor and associate dean at the School of Architecture at Syracuse University, assumes the job officially on August 1.

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Glass Coating Cracks At Willis Tower’s 103rd Floor Observation Deck

The cracked platform. (Alejandro Garibay via NBC 5 Chicago)

The cracked platform. (Alejandro Garibay via NBC 5 Chicago)

At first glance, the glass-observation boxes that jut out of the Willis Tower’s 103rd floor don’t look all that safe—and that is exactly the point. The SOM-designed attraction, known as the Ledge, opened in 2009 and offers “thrill seekers,” “death defiers,” and “people who can wait in  a really long line” the chance to step outside of the iconic skyscraper and look straight down at the streets of Chicago, 1,353-feet below. The floor of the suspended structure is comprised of 1.5-inch laminated glass panels, which can hold 10,000 pounds and withstand four tons of pressure. So, the danger is all imagined, right? Well, it certainly didn’t feel that way for a California family who visited last night.

COntinue reading after the jump.

Permanent Vacation, Anyone? Illinois & Connecticut Residents Would Prefer a Move

Eavesdroplet, Midwest, National
Wednesday, May 28, 2014
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gallup-moving-poll

Gallup pollsters recently asked Americans if they had the opportunity to move, “would you like to move to another state, or would you rather remain in your current state?” Well, Illinois and Connecticut earned the dubious distinction of having the nation’s most restless residents. About half of the surveyed residents in Illinois wanted to bounce, but don’t expect an influx of moving boxes. We’ll probably just ride it out and complain. Case in point: another Gallup poll found 25 percent of Illinoisans surveyed said their state is “the worst possible place to live in”—second only in self-loathing to Rhode Island.

Chicago Plan Commission Approves New Skate Park for Grant Park

(Chicago Park District)

(Chicago Park District)

This month, Chicago’s Plan Commission approved plans for a new skatepark at the south end of Grant Park. Plans were released last fall, showing curvy paved pathways and sculptural landscape features courtesy of the Chicago Park District and North Center urban design studio Altamanu. Read More

St. Louis Exhibition Explores Street Design in Grand Center Arts District

(Great Streets Project: Grand Center)

(Great Streets Project: Grand Center)

St. Louis’ Grand Center neighborhood has gone through a lot of changes. Though it was hit hard by suburban flight during the 1950s, in recent years the historic and predominantly African-American community area has enjoyed an artistic revival bolstered by theaters and cultural institutions like the Pulitzer Foundation for the Arts.

Now a confluence of development corporations and nonprofits want the midtown neighborhood “to become the premiere cultural and entertainment tourist destination in the Midwest.” Read More

Inaugural Mies Crown Hall Americas Prize goes to cliffside cube in Chile

Poli House, Chile (Cristobal Palma)

Poli House, Chile (Cristobal Palma)

After traveling all over the Western Hemisphere to inspect built work by emerging architects from Canada to Chile, a team of judges awarded the first-ever Mies Crown Hall Americas Prize on Tuesday, bestowing $25,000 and an offer to teach at the Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT) on Mauricio Pezo and Sofia Von Ellrichshausen for their poetic Poli House, perched above the Pacific Ocean on a cliff in Tomé, Chile.

Continue reading after the jump.

On View> Chicago’s Graham Foundation Presents “Everything Loose Will Land”

Midwest, On View
Thursday, May 22, 2014
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L.A. Fine Arts Squad (Victor Henderson, Terry Schoonhoven), "Isle of California," 1971. (Joshua White)

L.A. Fine Arts Squad (Victor Henderson, Terry Schoonhoven), “Isle of California,” 1971. (Joshua White)

Everything Loose Will Land
Graham Foundation
4 West Burton Place, Chicago
Through July 26

Everything Loose Will Land explores the intersection of art and architecture in Los Angeles during the 1970s. The show’s title refers to a Frank Lloyd Wright quote that if you “tip the world over on its side and everything loose will land in Los Angeles.” This freeness alludes to the fact that this dislodging did not lead to chaos but rather a multidisciplinary artistic community that redefined LA.

Continue reading after the jump.

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