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Official Trailer of the Chicago Architecture Biennial Released

On October 3 the inaugural Chicago Architecture Biennial, The State of the Art of Architecture will commence. The “largest international survey of contemporary architecture in North America," the exhibition is designed to be a multiplatform event that will host an array of radical ideas, projects and spatial experiments from more than 100 international architects that "demonstrate how creativity and innovation can radically transform our lived experience."

Chicago Tribune Says 11 "High Caliber" Architects Asked to Submit Qualifications for Obama Library

The University of Chicago's two proposed sites. Image © OPLSouthSide.org
The University of Chicago's two proposed sites. Image © OPLSouthSide.org

Last week, it was reported that the Barack Obama Foundation was searching globally for an architect to design Obama's Presidential Library and Museum (officially known as the Barack Obama Presidential Center). With the list of invited candidates for Obama's Presidential Center still a closely-guarded secret, though, the Chicago Tribune's architecture critic Blair Kamin has turned investigator, uncovering a list of 11 firms among the "fifty or more" which are believed to have been invited. Kamin states that the 11 firms he has confirmed to be in the running are "A) Of high caliber; B) Represent a broad geographic and aesthetic spectrum; and C) Include the established firms one would expect to be invited."

Read on for the full list uncovered by Kamin.

Cermak McCormick Place Station / Ross Barney Architects

  • Architects: Ross Barney Architects
  • Location: Cermak-McCormick Place, Chicago, IL 60616, USA
  • Design Team: Carol Ross Barney, FAIA; Eric Martin, AIA; Ryan Giblin, AIA, LEED AP; Andrew Vesselinovitch, AICP Mordecai Scheckter, LEED AP; Sung-Joon Kim, LEED AP; Anna Ninoyu; Huili Feng; Monica Chadha; Nicolas Sanchez, LEED AP; Sallie Schwartzkopf, AIA; Amy Chun; Corrine Knight
  • Project Year: 2015
  • Photographs: Kate Joyce Studios

© Kate Joyce Studios © Kate Joyce Studios © Kate Joyce Studios © Kate Joyce Studios

Obama to Cast Global Search for Chicago Presidential Center Architect

In May, the University of Chicago was selected to host the Barack Obama Presidential Library and Museum. Now referred to as the Barack Obama Presidential Center, the building's task force is expected to cast a global call in search of an architect. As the Chicago Tribune reports, officials sent a request for qualifications to a select group of architects yesterday, although others are welcome to submit. All those interested must send their credentials by September 16. 

"The foundation and its advisers wanted to present the president and first lady with a strong and broad list of options," a foundation spokeswoman told the Chicago Tribune. "We are looking at architects who represent a broad range of approaches and styles, but who all have a position of eminence within the architecture profession and have achieved some degree of public recognition."

Inaugural Chicago Architecture Biennial Reveals Official List of 2015 Participants

A 40-strong list of international studios has named the official participants of the first-ever Chicago Architecture Biennial - the “largest international survey of contemporary architecture in North America.” Chosen by Biennial Co-Artistic Directors Joseph Grima and Sarah Herda - who are supported by an advisory council comprising David Adjaye, Elizabeth Diller, Jeanne Gang, Frank Gehry, Sylvia Lavin, Hans Ulrich Obrist, Peter Palumbo, and Stanley Tigerman - each participating practice will convene in Chicago to discuss "The State of the Art of Architecture" and showcase their work from October 3 to January 3, 2016.

“The city of Chicago has left an indelible mark on the field of architecture, from the world’s first modern skyscraper to revolutionary urban designs,” said Mayor Rahm Emanuel. “That’s why there’s no better host city than Chicago for this rare global event. The Chicago Architecture Biennial offers an unprecedented chance to celebrate the architectural, cultural, and design advancements that have collectively shaped our world.”

A complete list of participants, after the break. 

Chicago Architecture Biennial Announces Lakefront Kiosk Winners

The Chicago Architecture Biennial, in partnership with the Chicago Park District and BP, has announced the winner of its Lakefront Kiosk Competition, which sought out designs for an innovative lakefront kiosk to be inaugurated on October 3 for the opening of the Biennial.

In addition to the winner of the competition, the Biennial is also partnering with local schools—the Illinois Institute of Technology, the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and the University of Illinois at Chicago—in order to build three more kiosks to be featured at the Biennial. View the grand prize design, as well as three competition finalists, honorable mentions, and the three architecture school designs after the break.

CAF Launches Open Competition for New Chicago Headquarters

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."

Design With Company + Arup Create “Shaw Town” Theatre in Chicago

Chicago based architecture studio Design With Company, in collaboration with Arup, have constructed their winning proposal for the Ragdale Ring design competition, which asked entrants to redesign Howard Van Doren Shaw’s 1912 performance venue for a Chicago artists’ community. Their design lightheartedly references features of Shaw’s architecture, while creating a venue for acoustically unamplified performances.

Courtesy of Robert Becker/Design With Company Courtesy of Allison Derr/Design With Company Courtesy of Robert Becker/Design With Company Courtesy of Allison Derr/Design With Company

Chicago Architecture Club Announces 2015 Burnham Prize Competition: Currencies of Architecture

Affiliated with this year’s Chicago Architecture Biennial, the Chicago Architectural Club has announced the 2015 Burnham Prize Competition: Currencies of Architecture. This year’s Burnham Prize was inspired by the Chicago Architecture Biennial’s title, “The State of the Art of Architecture,” and explores the question: what is the state of the art of architecture today? Entrants are challenged to create a single image that exemplifies a point of view on the current state of architecture – whether it is a celebration, a challenge, a statement or anything else.

The Top 10 Most Impactful Skylines

Emporis, a German company that collects and distributes information on construction and the built environment, has released a ranking of the world’s 100 most visually impactful skylines, using statistical analysis to address a topic often made frustratingly subjective by civic pride. 

To create the rankings, Emporis used data from its archives to determine the number of high-rise buildings in the cities it studied, and applied a points system that gave each building a numerical value determined by the number of floors it has. To standardize their ranking process, the points system ignores spires and other ornament, and does not include television or antenna towers, masts, bridges, or similar architecture. 

Of the top 10 most impactful skylines, seven are in Asia, while North and South America combined have the other three. Notably, cities filled with rich architectural history fail to make the list, or fall surprisingly low in the rankings; London is number 44, Paris is ranked 66, and Rome does not make the cut. 

To see the top ten skylines, read on after the break, and click here to see Emporis' complete list.

PORT Urbanism and R2 Companies Propose Plan to Revitalize Chicago’s Goose Island

Hoping to reverse the fortunes of this small but distinctive area of Chicago, real estate development firm R2 Companies and urban planning group PORT Urbanism have teamed up to devise a plan to renew Goose Island. A man-made island with a long history of manufacturing, Goose Island lacks the revenue stream of many other Chicago regions, but the development team hopes to improve conditions by 2025 by enabling it to develop into a sustainable, high-tech neighborhood connected to Chicago’s urban grid.

Diagram of existing conditions on Goose Island. Image Courtesy of PORT Diagram of proposed transportation improvements for Goose Island. Image Courtesy of PORT Rendered plan of the Goose Island proposal. Image Courtesy of PORT Diagram of the Goose Island proposal. Image Courtesy of PORT

Studio Gang to Design Net Positive Energy Campus for Chicago Children's Academy

Studio Gang has been selected to design a 60,000 square-foot campus for the Academy for Global Citizenship (AGC) in Chicago. Aimed to be the city's greenest campus, the net positive energy scheme will be designed as a space for learning that will "break down barriers between kids." The campus will include classrooms, an international learning laboratory, a teacher professional development center, an early childhood center, and an urban food production center. 

Poll: Who Will Design Obama's Presidential Library and Museum?

On Tuesday, the Barack Obama Foundation is expected to officially announce its decision to build Obama's presidential library and museum in Chicago. With two sites under consideration - Washington Park or Jackson Park - speculation has now shifted towards the architect. Who will design the  Presidential Library and Museum?

Will it be David Adjaye, the London-based, Tanzanian-born architect who designed the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of African American History and Culture (which will complete next year)? Or how about one of the city's leading architects: Jeanne Gang, Helmut Jahn, Ralph Johnson or John Ronan? Perhaps it will be Philip Freelon; as the Chicago Tribune's Blair Kamin points out, Obama made a recent visit to a library he designed in Washington DC. Some are even considering Renzo Piano; Michelle Obama seemed to have a deep appreciation for his newly constructed Whitney Museum when she spoke at its dedication ceremony a few weeks back.

With all this to bear in mind, who do you think will design the  Presidential Library and Museum? Answer a poll after the break. 

University of Chicago Selected to Host Barack Obama Presidential Library

According to Forbes, the University of Chicago has been selected to be the official home of the Barack Obama Presidential Library and Museum. The proposal, selected over sites at Columbia University, the University of Hawaii, and the University of Illinois at Chicago, will be built in the city's South Side Hyde Park, near a home owned by the Obamas. 

"Lina Bo Bardi: Together" Opens at The Graham Foundation

From April 25 through July 25, 2015, the Graham Foundation will host an exhibition at its Madlener House showcasing the vision of Italian-Brazilian architect Lina Bo Bardi. Known for her emphasis on social modernism and expressive use of materials, Lina Bo Bardi: Together explores her legacy through her collected works, as well as that of other artists paying homage to the architect and striving to generate new conversations about her designs. Curated by Noemi Blager, the exhibition features photographs, films, and artistic objects reflecting Bo Bardi's diverse work and immersion in Brazilian culture.

Studio Gang Goes Public with Chicago's Newest Tower: Wanda Vista

Studio Gang Architects has gone public with what will be Chicago's third tallest tower, Wanda Vista. The massive mixed-use development, planned to open adjacent to the Chicago River in the city's Lake Shore East community by 2019, will reach 1100 feet (335 meters) and encompass more than 1.8 million-square-feet of residential and hotel space. 

Defined by three vertical elements, the tower is shaped to maximize resident views of the city and river below. 

6 Ways to Repurpose the Chicago Spire "Hole"

With Santiago Calatrava’s unfulfilled Chicago Spire amounting to just a (costly) depression along the Chicago River, what was to be the second-tallest building in the world certainly has not established the legacy it intended. However, following the site’s relinquishment to local developers Related Midwest, it may yet have a meaningful impact on its community. Six Chicago-based firms of various disciplines have developed designs to make use of the "hole" by injecting a public program into the abandoned site.

Check out the inventive proposals, with ideas from firms including UrbanLab and Solomon Cordwell Buenz, after the break.

Urban Island / VOA. Image Courtesy of Chicago magazine Birds in Horto / Hoerr Schaudt. Image Courtesy of Chicago magazine Swimming Hole / UrbanLab. Image Courtesy of Chicago magazine Underground Amphitheater / SPACE Architects + Planners. Image Courtesy of Chicago magazine