Atelier 2B's "Soft in the Middle" Rethinks Modernism for An Age of Collaboration and Sharing

09:30 - 18 November, 2015
Atelier 2B's "Soft in the Middle" Rethinks Modernism for An Age of Collaboration and Sharing, Courtesy of Atelier 2B
Courtesy of Atelier 2B

In his book We Have Never Been Modern, philosopher Bruno Latour concludes that an inability to make humanity and nature inherently separate is one of Modernism’s most misguided tropes. Thus, contemporary designers that hope to riff on or have continuity with modernism must understand that architecture, even at its most aestheticized, is not hermetically sealed off from the outside world - and that therefore modernism is not a plateau of design, but another base camp on the road to further refinement.

In Chicago, the city where Modernism reached both its metaphoric and physical peak, Atelier 2B, a team of Yewon Ji, Nicolas Lee, Ryan Otterson, recently shared the top-five prize of the Chicago Architecture Foundation's ChiDesign Competition (part of the Chicago Architecture Biennial) for their project Soft in the Middle: The Collaborative Core. Indebted to the legacy of Mies and the International Style, Atelier 2B proposed a Modernist-tower-redux that (externally at least) is composed of three stacked rectangular volumes bisected with terraces, set back from the street by a large public plaza. The project brief called for “a new center for architecture, design and education,” in a competition judged by critics including Stanley Tigerman, David Adjaye, Ned Cramer, Monica Ponce de Leon, and Billie Tsien.

Courtesy of Atelier 2B Courtesy of Atelier 2B Design and Allied Arts High School. Image Courtesy of Atelier 2B Out-of-School-Time Youth Program. Image Courtesy of Atelier 2B +8

mcdowellespinosa’s "Layered Intelligence" Challenges the Typology of Mixed Use Buildings

13:00 - 31 October, 2015
mcdowellespinosa’s "Layered Intelligence" Challenges the Typology of Mixed Use Buildings, Exterior Rendered View. Image Courtesy of mcdowellespinosa
Exterior Rendered View. Image Courtesy of mcdowellespinosa

The Chicago Architecture Foundation (CAF) has announced the three winners of its ChiDesign ideas competition to design the Chicago Centre for Architecture, Design and Education (CADE). The competition was in conjunction with the first ever Chicago Architecture Biennial, following the spirit of Robert McCormick’s international competition for the Chicago Tribune Tower in 1922 which opened discourse on the importance of design to the public. Similar to McCormick’s competition, but tackling a more modern, mixed-use typology, the Chicago CADE is envisioned as a facility to house the Chicago Architecture Foundation; the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat; a design and allied arts high school; and learning spaces for an extra-curricular youth program. Read about one of the winners, "Layered Intelligence" after the break, and see another winner, "Unveiled" here.

Interior Rendered View. Image Courtesy of mcdowellespinosa Interior Rendered View. Image Courtesy of mcdowellespinosa Interior Rendered View. Image Courtesy of mcdowellespinosa Exterior Rendered View. Image Courtesy of mcdowellespinosa +12

Subversive Methods Make A Skyscraper in Michael Ryan Charters and Ranjit John Korah's "Unveiled"

09:30 - 17 October, 2015
Night View. Image Courtesy of Michael Ryan Charters and Ranjit John Korah
Night View. Image Courtesy of Michael Ryan Charters and Ranjit John Korah

In a Los Angeles Times article last December, “The future is in the past: Architecture trends in 2014,” acting critic Christopher Hawthorne sought to make sense of a year that included Koolhaas’s Venice Biennale, Smiljan Radic’s Serpentine Pavilion, and periodicals like Log 31: New Ancients and San Rocco 8: What’s Wrong with the Primitive Hut? Through these examples and others, Hawthorne concluded that it was a year of overdue self-reflection, where in order to determine architecture’s future it was necessary to mine the past.

Building on these precedents, Hawthorne predicted that after years of baroque parametricism, in 2015 architects would use last year’s meditations on history as a practical foundation for new projects and proposals. An example of this can be found in the work of Michael Ryan Charters and Ranjit John Korah, a duo who recently shared the top-five prize for the CAF led ChiDesign Competition (part of the Chicago Architecture Biennial) for their project Unveiled. In a brief that called for “a new center for architecture, design and education,” and with lauded jurors including Stanley Tigerman, David Adjaye, Ned Cramer, Monica Ponce de Leon, and Billie Tsien, Charters and Korah proposed what could casually be summarized as a terracotta framework over a multi-story crystalline form of wooden vaults, but is actually something much more complex.

Lower Half of Vault "Aggregate". Image Courtesy of Michael Ryan Charters and Ranjit John Korah Maglev Elevator Bisecting the Vaults. Image Courtesy of Michael Ryan Charters and Ranjit John Korah Day View. Image Courtesy of Michael Ryan Charters and Ranjit John Korah Chicago City Model with Skyline Visible in the Surroundings. Image Courtesy of Michael Ryan Charters and Ranjit John Korah +8

CAF Launches Open Competition for New Chicago Headquarters

16:00 - 14 July, 2015
CAF Launches Open Competition for New Chicago Headquarters, Chicago skyline. Image © Flickr CC User Derek Key
Chicago skyline. Image © Flickr CC User Derek Key

The Chicago Architecture Foundation has launched an open international ideas competition for a facility that will include a new headquarters, visitor center and exhibition space for CAF; a new headquarters for the Council of Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat (CTBUH); a design and allied arts high school; and flexible learning spaces for out-of-school-time youth programs. The project, dubbed the Center for Architecture, Design and Education (CADE) will a new kind of learning campus aimed to "equip young people to be stewards for the built environment of the 21st Century."

The Chicago Prize Highlights Two Speculative Proposals for Obama's Presidential Library

00:00 - 11 February, 2015
The Chicago Prize Highlights Two Speculative Proposals for Obama's Presidential Library, Winner / Zhu Wenyi, Fu Junsheng, and Liang Yiang. Image Courtesy of Chicago Architectural Club
Winner / Zhu Wenyi, Fu Junsheng, and Liang Yiang. Image Courtesy of Chicago Architectural Club

The Chicago Architectural Club (CAC) has revealed the winners of its fourteenth annual Chicago Prize Competition - The Barack Obama Presidential Library - following Chicago's recent selection as one of three cities being considered to host the presidential library

Inspiring designs across the United States, the winning entries aimed to envision a library that could both recognize the President by displaying a collection of mementos from his life and provide the basis for community programs. Contestants were asked to consider the building's context within the city of Chicago to generate a speculative proposal that not only fosters learning and exploration, but also inspires public discussion. To further encourage creativity, the library's program was unspecified, allowing participants to decide how to incorporate these civic and educational elements in their designs. 

Ultimately, a distinguished panel selected two winners and three honorable mentions emerged from the competition. The winning proposals and honorable mentions are as follows:

Call for Entries: Design the Barack Obama Presidential Library

01:00 - 18 November, 2014
Call for Entries: Design the Barack Obama Presidential Library, Courtesy of CAC
Courtesy of CAC

Calling all architects and students, the Chicago Architectural Club (CAC) wants to see your ideas for The Barack Obama Presidential Library. The recent media coverage surrounding the announced library, drawing bids from New York, Honolulu, and Chicago, once again initiates the desire for speculations and projections. As the fourteenth of its kind, this civic institution will not only function to house a collection of artifacts and documents relating to the president’s life but will also provide an educational infrastructure and framework for outreach and community programs. Thus, in partnership with the Chicago Architecture Foundation (CAF), this year’s Chicago Prize Competition is calling for speculative proposals for the Barack Obama Presidential Library to initiate a debate in order to rethink and redefine this particular building typology.