“Transit Future” Wish List Tantalizes Chicago Commuters with $20 Billion in Improvements

Cook County President Toni Preckwinkle speaking at the Transit Future campaign press conference. (Steven vance)

Cook County President Toni Preckwinkle speaking at the Transit Future campaign press conference. (Steven vance)

Here’s something to meditate on the next time you see three Chicago Transit Authority buses leapfrogging one another on a crowded street, or have to shell out for a cab because the trains won’t get you where you want to go on time: a grand proposal called “Transit Future” that seeks to improve the way Chicagoans get around the region.

Continue reading after the jump.

Designed in Chicago, Made in China: Blair Kamin, Chicago designers mull Chinese urbanization

Chinese new year flags and lanterns in Shenzhen, the poster-city for rapid urbanization in China. (Flickr / dcmaster)

Chinese new year flags and lanterns in Shenzhen, the poster-city for rapid urbanization in China. (Flickr / dcmaster)

Blair Kamin convened a panel of designers at the Chicago Architecture Foundation last Wednesday for a discussion around themes explored in his recent series “Designed in Chicago, Made in China,” in which the Chicago Tribune architecture critic assessed the effects of that country’s rapid development on urbanism and design. Read More

Milwaukee Art Museum expansion moves ahead with changes

Midwest, News, Newsletter
Friday, April 11, 2014
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An updated design adds a cantilever, but the original lead architect says he recently left the design process. (Milwaukee Art Museum)

An updated design adds a cantilever, but the original lead architect says he recently left the design process. (Milwaukee Art Museum)

The Milwaukee Art Museum announced in 2012 that it would add a new entrance as part of a $15 million project to renovate the museum’s permanent collection galleries. Two years later, with $13 million raised and public support secured, the project is ready to move ahead. Read More

Major Rejection for Gehry’s Eisenhower Memorial Threatens Project’s Future

The NCPC rejected Gehry Partners' building and site plans for the Eisenhower Memorial on Friday. (Courtesy NCPC)

The NCPC rejected Gehry Partners’ building and site plans for the Eisenhower Memorial on Friday. (Courtesy NCPC)

The road to fruition for the Frank Gehry–designed Dwight D. Eisenhower Memorial has been full of twists and turns. And now, it seems, the Los Angeles architect’s plans may have reached a dead end. Last week, the National Capital Planning Commission (NCPC) voted seven to three to reject the preliminary site and building plans for the memorial. The vote followed five hours of testimony from the proposal’s supporters and detractors, including House Oversight and Government Reform Chairman Darrell Issa (R-CA). Issa spoke against one of the design’s most (but not only) controversial features: the massive stainless-steel “tapestries” meant to depict scenes from Eisenhower’s life.

Continue reading after the jump.

De Blasio Appoints Dr. Peña-Mora as New York City’s Design & Construction Commissioner

East, News, Shft+Alt+Del
Tuesday, April 8, 2014
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Dr. Feniosky A. Pena-Mora, the new DDC Commissioner. (Courtesy Columbia University)

Dr. Feniosky A. Pena-Mora, the new DDC Commissioner. (Courtesy Columbia University)

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio has tapped civil engineer Dr. Feniosky Peña-Mora as Department of Design and Construction Commissioner. Peña-More comes to the DDC from Columbia University, where he teaches civil engineering, environmental engineering, engineering mechanics, and computer science. According to a press release from the mayor’s office, “Dr. Peña-Mora will be charged with building public works big and small, ranging from making streets safer as part of the Vision Zero initiative, to renovating and constructing municipal facilities.”

At the announcement, the incoming commissioner said, “Our standards will continue to be high. We will strengthen resiliency, efficiency, and safety in every project we oversee. We hope to build a new generation of streets, public works, and buildings that weave our diverse communities closer together and enrich the fabric of this city.”

More after the jump.

Holl’s Pricey New Library in Queens Must Tone it Down a Notch

Development, East, News, Newsletter
Friday, April 4, 2014
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Rendering for Hunters Point Community Library. (Courtesy Steven Holl Architects)

Rendering for Hunters Point Community Library. (Courtesy Steven Holl Architects)

Looks like Steven Holl’s impressive design for a new library in Queens, New York costs quite a bit more than expected. DNA Info reported that bids for the 21,000-square-foot project came in about $10-20 million over budget. But that doesn’t mean the project is dead just yet. While the city has nixed a planned geothermal heating and cooling system, is swapping customized interior fixtures for standard ones, and is replacing the aluminum façade with painted concrete, they say the library will stay true to its original design.

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Shanghai Company 3-D Prints Village of Humble Concrete Homes

International, News, Technology
Thursday, April 3, 2014
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house-3d-printed-shanghai-8

(Courtesy 3ders.org)

A Shanghai building company has erected a small village of pitched-roof, 3-D printed structures—in about a day. WinSun Decoration Design Engineering Co is behind the series of humble buildings, a fully fabricated unit is expected to cost less than $5,000. The homes were created through the use of a 490- by 33- by 20-foot 3-D printer that fabricates the basic components required for assembly.

More after the jump.

UN Report: The Effects of Climate Change Will Be Catastrophic

Coal Plant in North Carolina. (Rainforest Action Network / Flickr)

Coal Plant in North Carolina. (Rainforest Action Network / Flickr)

If world leaders don’t take unprecedented action to reduce greenhouse gases, nearly all aspects of human existence will be threatened by  the “severe,” “pervasive,” and possibly “irreversible,” impacts of climate change. That’s according to a blockbuster new report by the United Nations’ International Panel on Climate Change, which lays out the devastating consequences of a warmer planet. The effects of climate change are already being felt, but, as the report warns, things are about to get much, much worse.

Continue reading after the jump.

These are the ten most threatened buildings in Illinois

Midwest, News, Preservation
Tuesday, April 1, 2014
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Uptown Theatre, 4816 N. Broadway, Chicago. (Bob Nick, Friends of the Uptown Theatre)

Uptown Theatre, 4816 N. Broadway, Chicago. (Bob Nick, Friends of the Uptown Theatre)

Preservation group Landmarks Illinois identified its ten most endangered historic places in the state Tuesday, a list which includes the embattled Uptown Theatre, a Jens Jensen landscape, and Chicago’s Central Manufacturing District on the Southwest Side. Read More

Pier Carlo Bontempi and Ruan Yisan accept Driehaus awards for classicist architecture and preservation

Place Toscane in Val D'Europe, France by Bontempi.

Place Toscane in Val D’Europe, France by Bontempi.

Italian architect Pier Carlo Bontempi and Chinese preservationist Ruan Yisan last weekend received the highest honors in the world of classicist design—a school of though that AN previously examined alongside the more widely known Pritzker Prize.

The 2014 Richard H. Driehaus Prize went to Bontempi, an architect from Parma, Italy whose work includes a block recovery plan for that city’s historic center, as well as the Place de Toscane and the “Quartier du Lac” resort in Val d’Europe near Paris.

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With Great Height Comes Greater Challenges: Questions Linger as Construction Begins on Massive Kingdom Tower

kingdom_tower_00

(Courtesy Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill)

A kilometer is less than a mile but still more than a Burj Khalifa. This truism means that Kingdom Tower is still set to be the worlds tallest building now that construction has begun in the Saudi Arabian city of Jeddah. Though the initial projected height of a mile has since been whittled down to a mere kilometer, problems continue to beset the oft-delayed $1.2 billion project.

More after the jump.

Frank Lloyd Wright’s SC Johnson Research Tower Opening to Public Tours For First Time

Frank Lloyd Wright's SC Johnson Research Tower will open for tours in May. (PRNewsFoto/SC Johnson)

Frank Lloyd Wright’s SC Johnson Research Tower will open for tours in May. (PRNewsFoto/SC Johnson)

An unusually vertical Frank Lloyd Wright building in Wisconsin will open its doors to the public for the first time since its construction in 1950. The Research Tower in Racine, Wisconsin has housed SC Johnson for 32 years, anchoring its 153-foot tall mass with a distinctive “taproot” foundation.

More information after the jump.

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