Jaume Plensa lands four new heads in Chicago’s Millennium Park

Art, City Terrain, Midwest, On View
Tuesday, June 17, 2014
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Jaume Plensa's new work "Look Into My Dreams, Awilda," greets visitors to Chicago's Millennium Park. (City of Chicago / Patrick Pyszka)

Jaume Plensa’s new work Look Into My Dreams, Awilda, greets visitors to Chicago’s Millennium Park. (City of Chicago / Patrick Pyszka)

Barcelona-based artist Jaume Plensa said the first thing he does after checking into his hotel during stays in Chicago is drop by Crown Fountain, the digital waterwork that features human faces spitting water, just to make sure his popular downtown installation really exists.

“Sometimes I think it was just a beautiful dream I had 10 years ago,” Plensa said at a press conference Tuesday. Millennium Park, which turns ten years old in 2014, counts Plensa’s whimsical fountains among its more popular installations. A new piece of his, on loan from the artist through the end of 2015, attempts to build on that momentum.

Continue reading after the jump.

Facades+ NYC14 Video Interviews: Resilience

Climate change and extreme weather events have made resilience a watchword among AEC professionals. In this video from our partners at Enclos, filmed at facades+ NYC in April, Gordon Gill (Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill), Edward Peck (Thornton Tomasetti), and James O’Callaghan (Eckersley O’Callaghan) talk about designing and engineering building skins to meet present and future environmental challenges.

Resilience will take center stage at the facades+ Chicago conference July 24-25. Early Bird registration rates have been extended through Sunday, June 29. For more information and to register, visit the conference website.

Flint Public Art Project enlists local students for ‘museum of public schools’

(Museum of Public Schools)

(Museum of Public Schools)

Flint, Michigan kicked off a series of events celebrating education and the arts Friday, unveiling interactive installations cooked up over a year-long after school program local students have dubbed Museum of Public Schools.

Produced by the Flint Public Art Project, the ongoing exhibition will culminate in a series of proposals by students to change their school system. Mott Middle College plays host to the ongoing event.

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Art installation wraps up Cleveland Public Library garden with 15,000 feet of rope

Art, Midwest, News, On View
Wednesday, June 11, 2014
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"drawing lines" by Mexican arhitect Ivan Juarez is the fifth installation in the Cleveland Public Library's "See Also" public art series. (Cleveland Public Library)

“drawing lines” by Mexican architect Ivan Juarez is the fifth installation in the Cleveland Public Library’s “See Also” public art series. (Cleveland Public Library)

June brought good weather to Cleveland, and those who rang in summer with a visit to the Cleveland Public Library encountered an airy installation of white frames and threads crisscrossing the Eastman Reading Garden.

It’s not the first piece of public art to active the space outside the Cleveland Public Library. Last year a giant reading nest designed by LAND Studio and New York artist Mark Reigelman took wing in the library’s Eastman Reading Garden.

Continue reading after the jump.

Cleveland approves neighborhood plans to bring new life to first ring suburbs

City Terrain, Midwest, News, Urbanism
Wednesday, June 11, 2014
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draft_duckisland_nabe-plan-cleveland

Aerial rendering from the Duck Island neighborhood plan.

The Cleveland neighborhoods of Kinsman, Duck Island, and West 65th Street could eventually get major updates now that three new plans have won unanimous approval from the city’s planning commission. All three neighborhoods were built when Cleveland’s industrial heyday propelled a boom of real estate development that has long since given way to depopulation. In Kinsman, on the city’s far East Side, the plan proposed creating an arts and entertainment district. The Duck Island plan focused on multi-modal transportation hubs, and the plan focusing on the West 65th Street neighborhood called for a two-mile multi-purpose trail. Funding for most of the work is still undetermined, but the city has committed some money for bike lanes, curb extensions, and other local improvements already called for in the three plans.

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.

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