Twelve years after the Chicago Housing Administration announced its intention to overhaul the 1930s housing projects, the fate of the site remains unclear. Lathrop Community Partners—a team counting among its partners Related Midwest, Studio Gang Architects, Wolff Landscape Associates, Farr Associates, bKL, and Bauer Latoza Studio— revealed a draft master plan [PDF] this month that aimed for compromise between restoration and scaling up.
Submissions to the “Redesigning Detroit” competition matched the enthusiasm of its sponsor, Rock Ventures / Quicken Loans, in envisioning a future for the once iconic J.L. Hudson’s department store on Woodward Avenue downtown. Demolished 15 years ago, the 25-story tower left a physical and symbolic gap in the city’s urban fabric that the competition asked its entrants to repair.
“You couldn’t ask for a more exciting piece of property to redevelop, and one that can have such a profound impact on how Detroit feels about itself and sees itself,” said Reed Kroloff, outgoing director of the Cranbrook Academy of Art and advisor on the competition.
Detroit’s Packard Automotive Plant is one of Albert Kahn’s most well-known designs. But while this 3.5 million-square-foot behemoth remains iconic, it’s not exactly enduring.
Collapsed roofs, asbestos, and an ocean of debris (apparently navigable) are among the foreclosed property’s less attractive qualities. But Bill Hults thinks a $350 million renovation project could revive the plant, which closed in 1956, perhaps positioning it at the center of a metro-area rebound.
The Minneapolis Parks Foundation and the Minneapolis Park & Recreation Board have announced that two New York-based firms, SCAPE / Landscape Architecture and Rogers Marvel Architects, will collaborate to design Water Works Park, part of the city’s ongoing RiverFirst project.
Slated for completion in early 2014, Water Works Park will be incorporated into the existing Central Mississippi Riverfront Regional Park above St. Anthony Falls, the only true waterfall along the Mississippi River and an important part of Minneapolis’ history. The park already draws 1.6 million visitors each year, a number that officials expect to increase with the addition of the year-round, multi-use park.
With more than 23,000 seats, Rupp is the largest arena designed specifically for basketball in the United States. NBBJ, which will be working in collaboration with Lexington-based EOP, elected renovation over expansion or replacement after studying the 3-year-old arena. Renovation, they concluded, would save the city $215 million in construction costs.
In August the Columbus Museum of Art will break ground on the third and final phase of its renovation and expansion project: a new 50,000-square-foot wing that will bring the facility up to par with other major art museums in Ohio.
“In 1931, when we owned 500 pieces of art, we had 10 gallery spaces,” reads a statement on the museum’s website. “Today our collection numbers more than 10,000, yet those same 10 galleries remain.”
Columbus-based architecture firm DesignGroup is heading the $37.6 million project, which also includes renovations to the nearly 40-year-old Ross Wing and lobby area.
“The Red Line” could be Cleveland’s answer to New York’s High Line or Chicago’s Bloomingdale Trail, rails-to-trails projects that have captured the imaginations of their respective cities as an answer to questions surrounding transportation, aging infrastructure and urban placemaking.
The Rotary Club of Cleveland is pushing the idea of a three-mile greenway connecting five city neighborhoods to downtown. That would make the old RTA Red Line trail longer than both the High Line and the Bloomingdale Trail.
The Chicago Loop Alliance will wrap the Century Building at 202 S. State Street with a mural depicting a downtown overrun by giant sea creatures.
“Float,” by St. Louis artist Noah MacMillan, calls to mind one of the many action movies in which outsized monsters have laid waste to the Loop in computer-generated battle royales of late. But these octopi and puffer fish appear to float along benignly.
MacMillan’s surreal illustrations and designs have been featured in Smithsonian Magazine, the Washington Post and elsewhere. His 500-square-foot mural, which will be unveiled Tuesday July 16, was commissioned by building owners The General Services Administration, who asked MacMillan to ponder the relationship of citizens and their government. The 16-story building was designed by Holabird and Roche.
Chicago Loop Alliance’s other recent programs include of the Pop-Up Art Loop, a year-long art gallery series, and The Gateway, a “people plaza” on State Street.
For Detroit citizens escaping to the beach just became as easy as taking a trip downtown. The city’s urban beach opened at the end of June in Campus Martius, transforming one Detroit’s downtown traffic islands on Woodward Avenue into actual island oasis complete with 150 tons of sand.
Downtown Detroit Partnership was motivated to bring a temporary beach to the neighborhood by France’s Paris Plages plan that creates temporary sandy strips along the Seine river. For Detroit the sandy retreat is integrated into the city’s greater revitalization efforts to create economic development and bring active and accessible public spaces into everyday life. And while there are no rolling waves crashing in on Detroit’s sand island it still offers a place to lunch, socialize, or just kick back. So if you’re in Detroit this summer throw on your flip-flops and head for the shores of Woodward Avenue.