Prescient Offices / Perkins+Will

13:00 - 30 January, 2016
© Hedrich Blessing Photographers
© Hedrich Blessing Photographers

© Hedrich Blessing Photographers © Hedrich Blessing Photographers © Hedrich Blessing Photographers © Hedrich Blessing Photographers +16

Explore the Chicago Skyline With This Interactive Graphic

08:00 - 26 January, 2016
© Joseph Sohm / shutterstock.com
© Joseph Sohm / shutterstock.com

Chicago is one of the most architecturally rich cities in the world with the history of modernism embedded in its skyline. From the Willis Tower to the Aqua Tower, the skyscrapers of Chicago have led the development of tall buildings, the city becoming a breeding ground for innovations in structure and design. The Windy City has solidified itself among other metropolitan giants like New York and London as having one of the most recognizable skylines in the world.

This new infographic by Chicago Line Cruises offers a look at some of the most visible figures in Chicago’s skyline, with embedded information on each of the buildings. View the infographic after the break.

Exhibition at Chicago's Graham Foundation to Examine African Modernism

07:00 - 21 January, 2016
 Rinaldo Olivieri, La Pyramide, 1973, Abidjan (Côte d’Ivoire). Image © Iwan Baan
Rinaldo Olivieri, La Pyramide, 1973, Abidjan (Côte d’Ivoire). Image © Iwan Baan

new exhibition opening later this month at Chicago's Graham Foundation seeks to explore the complex history and legacy of modernist architecture in sub-Saharan Africa during the 1960s and 1970s. Architecture of Independence: African Modernism will feature nearly eighty buildings in commissioned photographs by Iwan Baan, Alexia Webster, and Manuel Herz. Alongside archival material, the exhibition "imparts a new perspective on the intersection of architecture and nation-building in Ghana, Senegal, Côte d’Ivoire, Kenya, and Zambia and investigates some of the most compelling yet under-studied examples of 1960s and 1970s architecture worldwide."

Inaugural Chicago Architecture Biennial Closes with Over Half a Million Visitors

08:00 - 20 January, 2016
Installation view of the Chicago Architecture Biennial. Photo by Steve Hall, © Hedrich Blessing. Image Courtesy of Chicago Architecture Biennial
Installation view of the Chicago Architecture Biennial. Photo by Steve Hall, © Hedrich Blessing. Image Courtesy of Chicago Architecture Biennial

The first ever Chicago Architecture Biennial closed January 3, with over half a million visitors having attended the event. An architecture exhibition of unprecedented size on the continent, the Biennial gathered 93 projects from 120 offices from over 30 countries to discuss the “State of the Art of Architecture.” We take a look at some of the Biennial's highlights after the break.

By The Hand Club For Kids / TEAM A

13:00 - 19 January, 2016
© Tom Harris / Hedrich Blessing
© Tom Harris / Hedrich Blessing

© Tom Harris / Hedrich Blessing © Tom Harris / Hedrich Blessing © Tom Harris / Hedrich Blessing © Tom Harris / Hedrich Blessing +8

Chicago Riverwalk / Chicago Department of Transportation

13:00 - 14 January, 2016
© Kate Joyce Studios
© Kate Joyce Studios

© Kate Joyce Studios © Kate Joyce Studios © Kate Joyce Studios © Kate Joyce Studios +28

These Are the Best Architecture Images from the NYPL’s New Public Domain Collection

09:30 - 14 January, 2016
Woolworth Building construction. Image via The New York Public Library
Woolworth Building construction. Image via The New York Public Library

Last week the New York Public Library made over 180,000 images from their digital archives available in the public domain, and free for high-resolution download. Not only are the images available for download, but since they are in the public domain and free of any copyright restrictions, users have the freedom to get creative and alter, modify, and reuse the images in any manner they see fit. Featuring a wide variety of images including drawings, engravings, photographs, maps, postcards, and in some cases, digitized copies of entire books, the collection has been noted for fascinating historical artifacts such as a set of color drawings of Egyptian gods and goddesses, and a digitized book from the 18th century containing over 400 color plates depicting various current and historical fashion trends.

Of course, the archive also includes a significant assortment of captivating architectural images that range from everyday scenes to historic treasures. We've trawled the database to find some of the most unusual and insightful examples - read on to see a selection of the most interesting architectural images from NYPL’s digital archives.

Design Development of the Chrysler Building. Image via The New York Public Library The Bund, Shanghai in the early 1900s. Image via The New York Public Library World's Columbian Exposition, Chicago, 1893. Image via The New York Public Library via The New York Public Library +36

Cape Horn Illustration Creates Detailed Ink Drawings of Chicago Residences

06:00 - 12 January, 2016
© Cape Horn Illustration
© Cape Horn Illustration

For the past two years, artist Phil Thompson of Cape Horn Illustration has been creating pen and ink drawings of Chicago's homes and residential buildings.

Inspired by the patterns and themes of the streets and neighborhoods and a love for art and architecture, Thompson began drawing two-flat styled homes, which are "long and narrow to fit on standard city lots, able to accommodate two-generation immigrant families, and have distinctive large bay windows, elements of Arts and Crafts style, exteriors heavy on masonry, and terracotta, but wood-framed interiors with built-ins," Thompson told us. "I love them." 

Judging Architecture by Altered Photos: Has Photoshop Gone Too Far?

12:00 - 12 December, 2015
An image of El Centro showing a portion of the rooftop mechanical equipment. Image © flickr user jkz, licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0
An image of El Centro showing a portion of the rooftop mechanical equipment. Image © flickr user jkz, licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

How much editing is acceptable in architectural photographs? And what if those edited photographs are the basis of judging a design competition? Chicago Tribune architecture critic Blair Kamin explored these questions in a recent column after an altered photo led to a Design Excellence Award from the Chicago chapter of the AIA. The building in question, the El Centro campus of Northeastern Illinois University designed by Juan Moreno, was one of five recipients of the chapter's honor award, the highest level of recognition. But one of photos submitted to the award jury had been digitally altered by the photographer to remove a prominent row of large air handling units on the roof that marred one of the best views of the building.

This SOM Archive Video Offers a Look Back at the Early Days of 3D Visualization

09:30 - 10 December, 2015

Until recently, the only options for providing clients and the public with visualizations of what a prospective building would look like were almost exclusively hand drawn renderings, or scale models built by hand. Both of these practices are still in use today, but now there is a much wider range of options with 3D modeling software providing the bulk of renderings, the growing presence of 3D printing, and even video fly-throughs with special effects that rival the latest Hollywood action movie. This 16mm film created by architecture firm Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM) in 1984, and digitized by illustrator Peter Little, reminded us of what the early days of digital 3D modeling looked like.

Lakefront Kiosk / Ultramoderne

13:00 - 6 December, 2015
© Tom Harris
© Tom Harris

© Tom Harris © Tom Harris © Tom Harris © Tom Harris +13

Chinatown Branch Library / SOM

13:00 - 4 December, 2015
© Jon Miller _ Hedrich Blessing
© Jon Miller _ Hedrich Blessing

© Jon Miller _ Hedrich Blessing © Jon Miller _ Hedrich Blessing © Jon Miller _ Hedrich Blessing © Jon Miller _ Hedrich Blessing +22

Chicago's Overlooked Postmodern Architecture

16:00 - 28 November, 2015
Harold Washington Library Center by Hammond, Beeby & Babka. Image © flickr user juggernautco, licensed under CC BY 2.0
Harold Washington Library Center by Hammond, Beeby & Babka. Image © flickr user juggernautco, licensed under CC BY 2.0

Postmodern architecture has largely been overlooked in recent years, left behind by current fashion, but not quite old enough to gain the attention of preservationists. Even in the architectural hot spot of Chicago, postmodern buildings tend to go unnoticed in favor of the Miesian towers and Prairie Style houses. ArchDaily’s own feature of notable Chicago buildings was noticeably lacking a postmodern example. To correct this oversight Metropolis Magazine has compiled a collection of Chicago’s most noteworthy examples of Postmodernism.

Chicago's New Apple Store Is Inspired by Frank Lloyd Wright's Prairie Homes

16:00 - 24 November, 2015
via MacRumors
via MacRumors

Apple's new Foster + Partners-designed flagship store in Chicago is said to have been inspired by Frank Lloyd Wright's Prairie Style Homes outside the city. Unveiled first by the Chicago Tribune, the store will feature a 14-foot entry pavilion that will usher visitors from Michigan Avenue down into the sales floor backdropped with views of the Chicago River. A "grand flight of stairs" will offer pedestrians an alternative route to the riverside walkway that flanks the bank. 

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

09:30 - 18 November, 2015
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

Exploring Chicago's Architectural Legacy Through 5 Exceptional Projects

08:00 - 16 November, 2015
The Chicago Skyline. © Joseph Sohm / shutterstock.com
The Chicago Skyline. © Joseph Sohm / shutterstock.com

Chicago has long been known for distinctive architecture, and this year’s inaugural Chicago Architecture Biennial has only furthered that reputation. Although it is nearly impossible to narrow down the countless iconic structures, in celebration of the Biennial, we have compiled five Chicago buildings that highlight the many phases of the city’s architectural history.

5 Projects at the Chicago Biennial that Demonstrate the State of the Art of Sustainability

09:30 - 13 November, 2015

At the Chicago Architecture Biennial, the theme selected by directors Joseph Grima and Sarah Herda was deliberately wide in scope, with the expectation that more than one hundred exhibitors would each bring their own perspective on what is “The State of the Art of Architecture.” But where does that leave one of architecture's most widely adopted missions of the 21st century: sustainability? In this article, originally published on her blog Architectstasy as “Chicago Architecture Biennial: The State of the Art of Sustainability,” Jessica A S Letaw delves into five projects that take on sustainability in the context of Chicago's biennial.

At North America's inaugural Architecture Biennial in Chicago, “The State of the Art of Architecture,” architectural firms and practices from all six inhabited continents have been invited to display their work. Spanning all sizes and kinds of projects, the Biennial is showcasing solutions to design problems from spiderwebs to social housing.

US buildings use around 40% of all the country’s energy consumption. It is a disconcerting truth that even if every new building starting construction tomorrow were to be net-zero energy and net-zero water, we’d still be on a crash course, draining more naturally-available resources than our one planet can permanently sustain. In this environment, architectural designers have a special responsibility to educate themselves about innovative sustainable design techniques, from those that have worked for thousands of years to those that, as the Biennial’s title hopefully suggests, are state of the art.

So what does the Biennial have to say about sustainability? Five projects on display demonstrate different approaches at five different scales: materials, buildings, resources, cities, and the globe.

Watch the Official Performance of “We Know How to Order” at the Chicago Architecture Biennial

08:00 - 8 November, 2015

The city of Chicago is an intersection of multiple systems – the organizational orders of its modernist buildings; the presence of the federal government; the negotiations and orders of the lives of its marginalized communities. “We Know How to Order”, conceived by Bryony Roberts, choreographed by Asher Waldron and performed by the South Shore Drill Team, brings these intersections to life in a vibrant street performance for the first ever Chicago Architecture Biennial. A series of drill routines with influences from street choreography, the project explicitly "super-imposes" its system of movement onto the organization of Mies van der Rohe’s Federal Center, calling "attention to the accessibility of public space in the US" and "how architectural systems alongside social expectations influence the occupation of common space," according to the Chicago Architecture Biennial guidebook.