Ask Not What The Google Can Do For You

Eavesdroplet, Midwest, Newsletter
Tuesday, August 14, 2012
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Wolf Point on the Chicago River. (Courtesy Pelli Clarke Pelli)

Wolf Point on the Chicago River. (Courtesy Pelli Clarke Pelli)

The biggest stir caused by the Kennedy’s newest proposal for developing Wolf Point was not obscuring the Merchandise Mart views or initial reactions to the renderings or the stuffing of three very tall towers on one impossibly small piece of land. It was more like, “There’s a living Kennedy with a stake in Chicago real estate?” We all know the family sold the Mart years ago. Fewer of us knew they held on to that little sandbar that sits in front of the the Sun-Times building.

Ready to boost the family fortune, the Kennedys with Hines, Cesar Pelli, and bKL plan to stuff three towers onto the site. Is this the architectural equivalent of a 10 lb. bag of sugar in a 5 lb. sack? Maybe, but development of that scale is also kind of exciting. And that leads to the biggest question. Can this economy support a residential and commercial project of this size? Well, Jean—that’s the last sibling standing, right, so the land must be hers—get out your good-faith checkbook: Google is coming. They’ve leased the top floors of the Mart, which will serve as the new headquarters of Motorola, which Google has acquired. That means thousands of high paying fancy Google jobs just across the street. With that news, Wolf Point is a done deal, no?

Domesticating the Cathedral of Commerce with Luxe Condos

East, Newsletter
Wednesday, August 8, 2012
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The crown of the Woolworth Building in Lower Manhattan. (dragonflyajt/Flickr)

The crown of the Woolworth Building in Lower Manhattan. (dragonflyajt/Flickr)

New York City’s nouveau-tall skyscrapers, like the Christian de Portzamparc-designed One57 which recently topped out at 1,004 feet, have been wooing the world’s richest residential buyers with unimaginable amenities and floor-to-ceiling glass. But if you interested in an address that redefined tall—one hundred years ago—your options are more limited. Now, developers Alchemy Properties have acquired the top 30 floors of the iconic Woolworth Building in Lower Manhattan, the world’s tallest structure when it opened in 1913, with plans to build 40 super-luxury residential units in the sky.

Continue reading after the jump.

On View> Skyscraper: Art and Architecture Against Gravity

Midwest
Thursday, July 5, 2012
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(Courtesy Marie Bovo & Kamel Memmour)

(Courtesy Marie Bovo & Kamel Memmour)

Skyscraper: Art and Architecture Against Gravity
Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago
220 East Chicago Avenue, Chicago
Through September 23

The Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago brings together 50 international 20th and 21st century artists for a show that investigates our enduring fascination with building into the sky. Skyscraper: Art and Architecture Against Gravity presents a history of these iconic structures and their impact on our understanding of technology, society, and myth. The exhibition is divided into five themed sections. “Verticality” reflects the optimism of building upward and the pursuit of iconic form. “Personification of Architecture” juxtaposes human and architectural form, placing the body in terms of building and vice-versa. “Urban Critique” examines the effects of modern housing on its inhabitants and the dislocation and alienation that can result from architecture’s utopian impulse. “Improvisation” records occupants’ responses to their built environment and the ways they transform and humanize buildings as documented in Marie Bovo’s courtyard perspective, above. “Vulnerability of Icons” considers our changing relationship to tall buildings post-9/11.

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Unveiled> BIG Joins the Supertall Ranks in China with Rockefeller Center-Inspired Tower

International
Monday, July 2, 2012
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Many details of BIG's supertall tower in Tianjin are still shrouded in mystery. (Courtesy BIG)

Many details of BIG's supertall tower in Tianjin are still shrouded in mystery. (Courtesy BIG)

Bjarke Ingels, architect of mountains, now has set his eyes on Everest. The New York and Copenhagen-based architect’s firm BIG has been tapped by the Rockefellers to design one of the world’s tallest buildings at 1,929 feet for a new commercial development in Tianjin, China, a city of nearly 13 million people. Ingels revealed a cryptic, fog-shrouded rendering of the tower on his web site—indicative of the scarcity of detail yet released on the tower—but this being the information age,  AN found more information and views of the tower on a clear day.

Continue reading after the jump.

On View> Unseen City: Designs for a Future Chicago

Midwest, Newsletter
Tuesday, June 26, 2012
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Clean Tower by Kyle Bigart & Peter Binggeser.

Clean Tower by Kyle Bigart & Peter Binggeser.

There were about as many ideas for development on Chicago’s high-profile real estate at Wolf Point as there are Chicagoans. One you didn’t hear about during Alderman Brendan Reilly’s initial public meeting was The Clean Tower—a supertall that would return filtered wastewater to the Chicago River beneath its slanted profile.

The Clean Tower wasn’t actually on the table for Wolf Point, but it does occupy real estate on the Chicago Architecture Foundation’s model of downtown. That’s because it’s part of Unseen City: Designs for a Future Chicago, an exhibition of imaginative projects from Illinois Institute of Technology’s “Hi-Rise, Lo-Carb” studio.

Continue reading after the jump.

De Portzamparc Tops Out in Manhattan.  De Portzamparc Tops Out in Manhattan Curbed New York snapped some pictures of New York’s tallest residential tower, One57, designed by Christian de Portzamparc, which topped out today. At 1004 feet,  One57 surpassed New York by Gehry, but it won’t be alone at the top for long. There’s a whole new crop of super tall residential towers planned around Manhattan.

 

The World’s Best Tall Buildings Combine Curves and Sustainability

International, Newsletter
Wednesday, June 20, 2012
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Doha Tower façade (Jean Nouvel)

Doha Tower façade (Jean Nouvel)

On June 13th the Chicago-based Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat (CTBUH) announced their choices for this years best tall buildings in the world. The CTBUH, an international not-for-profit association, picked four regional winners, including the Absolute Towers in Mississuaga, Canada for the Americas; 1 Blight Street, Sydney for Asia and Australia; Palzzo Lombardia, Milan, representing Europe; and Doha Tower, Doha, Qatar for the Middle East and Africa. These four buildings were recognized for making “an extraordinary contribution to the advancement of tall buildings and the urban environment, and for achieving sustainably at the broadest level,” according to a statement from the CTBUH. Additionally, the Al Bahar tower in Abu Dhabi won the first ever Innovation Award for its high-tech computerized sunshade.

Continue reading after the jump.

On View> News Paper Spires at the Skyscraper Museum

East
Tuesday, March 13, 2012
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Newspaper Row

Newspaper Row. (courtesy The Skyscraper Museum)

News Paper Spires
The Skyscraper Museum
39 Battery Pl.
Through July 2012

Focusing on the years between 1870 and 1930, News Paper Spires at the Skyscraper Museum considers the buildings where the most important events of the day were committed to the public record with ever-increasing speed. Just after the Civil War, The New York Times, The New-York Tribune, and The New York Post all were headquartered on the so-called “Newspaper Row” to the east of City Hall Park (above), each headquartered in early skyscrapers, where writers and editors worked above, while below typesetters and steam-engine powered printing presses churned out morning, afternoon and evening editions. In this exhibition, the history of these vertical urban factories—including their migration from downtown to midtown—is considered through films, architectural renderings, photographs, typesetting equipment, and the archival newspapers themselves.

More images after the jump.

Pictorial> eVolo 2012 Skyscraper Competition Winners Announced

Dean's List, International
Wednesday, March 7, 2012
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Himalaya Water Tower: Zhi Zheng, Hongchuan Zhao, Dongbai Song

The winners of the eVolo 2012 Skyscraper Competition have been announced; get ready for an afternoon of browsing some pretty spectacular renderings. Entries offer innovative (and sometimes outlandish) solutions in an attempt to address the social, historical, urban, and environmental responsibilities of the 21st century mega-structure.

Continue reading after the jump.

Getting Boxy in Chicago’s South Loop.  Getting Boxy in Chicago's South Loop Chicago’s South Loop skyline may be getting a new bobble in the form of a boxy rental residential tower across from the Roosevelt University vertical campus. Designed by Lothan Van Hook DeStefano Architecture, the black boxes cantilever over the edge of the one below, creating a cubic counterpoint to Roosevelt’s zig zag. Many of these stacked box schemes—including a project in Jersey City by OMA and the dead Museum Plaza by REX in Louisville—have never made it off the drawing board, so it will be interesting to see if the locals can pull it off.

 

Unveiled> Geenland Tower in Suzhou by SOM Chicago

International, Midwest
Friday, January 20, 2012
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(Courtesy SOM)

SOM's Geenland Tower is proposed for a new city in China. (Courtesy SOM)

SOM Chicago has won a competition to design a mixed-use tower in the new Chinese city of Suzhou. Located along a lake front, the tower includes a distinctive void carved out the upper portion of the tower, splitting the floorplates in half to better serve hotel uses. Offices will fill the lower, larger floorplates. “We’ve been doing these kinds of mixed-use towers since Hancock,” said Ross Wimer, a partner at SOM Chicago. “Instead of tapering the tower, we’ve carved away a slot to bring fresh air and light into the building.”

Continue reading after the jump.

Unveiled> Angkasa Raya Tower in Kuala Lumpur

International, Newsletter
Wednesday, November 16, 2011
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The Angkasa Raya tower proposed for Kuala Lumpur. (Courtesy Buro OS)

The Angkasa Raya tower proposed for Kuala Lumpur. (Courtesy Buro OS)

Ole Scheeren, a former partner at Rem Koolhaas’ OMA who broke away to start his own firm (Buro OS) in March 2010, has unveiled his latest project in Kuala Lumpur: an 880-foot-tall mixed-use tower called the Angkasa Raya. Adjacent to Cesar Pelli’s Petronas Twin Towers, once the world’s tallest, Scheeren’s new 65-story project progresses a skyscraper typology of stacked volumes made popular at OMA.

Continue reading after the jump.

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