Eavesdrop> Sign of the Times: Reflecting on Chicago Summer-Long Trump Tower Saga

Chicago's Trump Tower and its notorious sign. (edward stojakovic / Flickr)

Chicago’s Trump Tower and its notorious sign. (edward stojakovic / Flickr)

Mr. Donald Trump has bestowed upon fair Chicago an ode to his own self-worth, spurring an architectural debate that’s pulled in Mayor Rahm Emanuel, Jon Stewart, and plenty more. Grab a bag of popcorn and we’ll catch you up.

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George Lucas Museum will be in Chicago

With his wife Mellody Hobson, who heads a Chicago investment firm, film mogul George Lucas serves as Grand Marshall of the 2013 Modesto American Graffiti Car Show and Festival parade. (hharryus / Flickr)

With his wife Mellody Hobson, who heads a Chicago investment firm, film mogul George Lucas serves as Grand Marshall of the 2013 Modesto American Graffiti Car Show and Festival parade. (hharryus / Flickr)

Columnist Michael Sneed of the Chicago Sun-Times quotes “reliable sources” who tell her George Lucas has picked Chicago for his planned museum devoted to movie memorabilia, visual arts, and culture.

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Is expanding Chicago’s soldier field a hail mary pass?

Midwest
Thursday, March 13, 2014
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Chicago's Soldier Field (left) against the South Loop skyline. (--Mike-- / Flickr)

Chicago’s Soldier Field (left) against the South Loop skyline. (–Mike– / Flickr)

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel is reportedly considering a plan to boost capacity at Soldier Field, the city’s football stadium, in a bid to host the Super Bowl.

But as the Chicago Tribune’s Blair Kamin laid out in a story Sunday, the play is a Hail Mary. Read More

Chicago Mulls Zoning Changes To Ward Off Mountains of Petcoke

Midwest, Newsletter
Wednesday, February 19, 2014
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Petcoke stored along the Calumet River on Chicago's Southeast Side, between 106th and 100th streets. (Josh Mogerman via Flickr)

Petcoke stored along the Calumet River on Chicago’s Southeast Side, between 106th and 100th streets. (Josh Mogerman / Flickr)

Piles of dusty, black waste from coal and petroleum processing have been piling up on Chicago’s southeast side, angering residents and prompting Mayor Rahm Emanuel to weigh in on the contentious environmental issue.

The Sun-Times has reported that Emanuel will introduce an ordinance at next month’s City Council meeting banning new storage facilities for so-called petcoke—a byproduct of the oil refinery process that can be sold overseas. It’s a step back from an outright ban proposed in December by Alderman Edward Burke, whose constituents were outraged by black dust clouds wafting from uncovered piles of petcoke along the Calumet River. Read More

Unveiled> SOM Designs New Library Branch for Chicago’s Chinatown

Midwest
Wednesday, September 11, 2013
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Chinatown's new library on Wentworth Avenue. (SOM / Public Buildings Commission)

Chinatown’s new library on Wentworth Avenue. (SOM / Public Buildings Commission)

In the first-ever design/build process for a Chicago neighborhood library branch, Skidmore, Owings and Merrill joins Wight & Company construction to replace Chinatown’s aging and heavily trafficked library at 2100 South Wentworth Avenue.

Continue reading after the jump.

Chicago Breaks Ground On Elevated Bloomingdale Trail and Park System

City Terrain, Midwest
Wednesday, August 28, 2013
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Overhead view of the Bloomingdale Trail. (Courtesy Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates)

Overhead view of the Bloomingdale Trail. (Courtesy Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates)

The City of Chicago broke ground Tuesday on the Bloomingdale Trail, or the 606 to use the combined name for the elevated trail and its five access parks, fulfilling a promise and long-term planning process that dates back years.

Walsh Construction Company won the $53.7 million contract, which city officials told the Sun-Times was $5.2 million lower than the closest competition. The city plans to use $50 million in federal money to pay for construction.

Continue reading after the jump.

New Navy Pier Plans, McCormick CTA Renderings Revealed

Midwest
Friday, May 17, 2013
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navy_pier_redo_01navy_pier_redo_02

Above: “Gateway Fountain” in warm and cold seasons. (Courtesy Navy Pier)

Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s administration Wednesday revealed details about two initiatives they said would amount to $1.1 billion in investment: a new 10,000-seat arena for DePaul University located across the street from McCormick Place, and an overhaul to Navy Pier — the city’s largest tourist attraction.

More details after the jump.

Kimmelman: Have your Prentice and Build It, Too

Midwest
Wednesday, October 17, 2012
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Options exist beyond demolition and preservation as-is. (Courtesy Studio Gang, Jay Hoffman)

Options exist beyond demolition and preservation as-is. (Courtesy Studio Gang, Jay Hoffman)

New York Times architecture critic Michael Kimmelman waded into the controversy embroiling Chicago’s old Prentice Women’s Hospital Wednesday and wound up soliciting a unique solution from Jeanne Gang that has already garnered praise from the coalition of preservationists fighting to save the building from demolition.

Noting the “familiar” tone of the dispute between landowner Northwestern University, who wants to demolish Prentice to make way for up to 500,000 square feet of medical research facilities, and preservationists seeking landmark status for the distinctive 1970s Bertrand Goldberg structure, Kimmelman called for a third approach: incorporate old Prentice into a new design on the site. As the pendulum begins to lean towards demolition, with 42nd ward Alderman Brendan Reilly saying he supports Northwestern’s decision, the critic asked Gang what she thought.

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Rahm’s Security Loves Art, Passes On Booze

Eavesdroplet, Midwest
Friday, October 12, 2012
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It’s been (another) terrible year for Jeanne Gang! From being awarded the MacArthur Genius Grant to starring in the just opened solo exhibition, Building: Inside Studio Gang Architects, at the Art Institute, there appears to be no slowdown in Studio Gang momentum. Of course, Eavesdrop stopped by the opening and we have a few things to say. The first has little to do with Jeanne and more with the Art Institute. Their openings are always so snoozy! Get more of the students and younger folks in there, in addition to your stodgy museum patrons! We probably wouldn’t have stuck around long, accept a little bird told us that Mayor Rahm Emanuel would be making an appearance and we wanted to see how short he is in real life.

Zoë Ryan, the museum’s chair of the department of architecture and design, looked nervous awaiting Rahm’s arrival, while Jeanne looked quite at ease, milling about in a really cute dress. One of the hottest architects in the world is certainly in the same power echelon as the mayor of the Second City.

Taxing Parking for Transit in Chicago

Midwest
Monday, November 7, 2011
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(photo: Evil Vince Photography)

Mayor Emanuel’s proposed $2 congestion tax on downtown parking is facing stiff opposition from, you guessed it, the parking lobby. According to the Tribune, the Parking Industry Labor Management Committee is posting placards in member facilities and handing out flyers opposing the tax. The committee argues the tax will not improve traffic flow and could encourage businesses to relocate to the suburbs. Emanuel believes the tax will foster greater transit ridership and raise an estimated $28 million annually for CTA improvements. The $2 tax on parking at garages and lots in the Loop and River North will be added to the existing $3 tax that goes to the city’s general fund.

Quick Clicks> Zombie Train, Chicago Scales, Tracking LA, Church Sales, and Booking Philly

Daily Clicks
Wednesday, November 2, 2011
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Photo of the Day: Rahm Emanuel takes public transit with zombies! (Courtesy Mayor's Office)

Photo of the Day: Rahm Emanuel takes public transit with zombies! (Courtesy Mayor's Office)

Calm like Rahm. Halloween might be over, but we couldn’t resist sharing this Facebook photo of Chicago’s Mayor Rahm Emanuel riding public transit with zombies! The photo was posted with the following caption: “In case of a zombie apocalypse, remember to stay calm like Rahm.” (h/t Transportation Nation)

S, M, L, XL, XXL. The AIA-Chicago has released their latest round of awards and the Chicago Tribune‘s Blair Kamin takes a look at the winners, lauding the range of project scales undertaken by Chicago architects, from a small pavilion to the world’s tallest building.

Tracking LA. While Chicago has zombies, LA County has some cold hard cash. Everything Long Beach reports that eight key transportation projects were awarded $448 million including a 6.7 light rail line that is expected to become one of the busiest lines in the U.S.

Sacred sale. Bankrupt mega-church Crystal Cathedral has found a buyer for their expansive, starchitect-studded Southern California campus (think Philip Johnson, Neutra, and Meier). The LA Times says Chapman University will pay $50 mil for the site, allowing the slimmed-down church to stay and eventually buy back their core building.

Philly reads. In this economy, small book stores—especially architecture book stores—are struggling to keep their doors open. Philly is bucking this trend as the AIA Philadelphia opens up a new shop working with the Charter High School for Architecture and Design in Washington Square.

Rahmbo to City Workers: Take the Train!

Midwest, Newsletter
Tuesday, October 11, 2011
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Emanuel at a CTA station (Courtesy National Journal)

Emanuel at a CTA station (Courtesy National Journal)

Mayor Emanuel has made transit, biking, and sustainability some of the top priorities of his young administration. The same goes for fiscal restraint and transparency (something notably lacking in the administration of his predecessor). Drawing on his experience as White House Chief of Staff, his most recent edict combines these two sets of goals. Emanuel is mandating that city employees use public transit when on the job. Read More

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