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Imagining the Future of Suburbia, From “Freedomland” to “McMansion Hell”

04:00 - 22 June, 2017
Imagining the Future of Suburbia, From “Freedomland” to “McMansion Hell”, Courtesy of Chicago Architecture Biennial
Courtesy of Chicago Architecture Biennial

This article was originally published on the blog of the Chicago Architecture Biennial, the largest platform for contemporary architecture in North America. The blog invites designers, writers and other contributors to independently express their perspectives on the Biennial across a range of formats. The 2017 Biennial, entitled Make New History, will be free and open to the public between September 16, 2017 and January 6, 2018.

Some works of architectural writing can be taken at face value as stark manifestos for a new aesthetic. Keith Krumwiede’s Atlas of Another America is, instead, a constantly unfurling satire that offers layers upon layers of artfully imagined social commentary. Like McMansion Hell, my own long-form satirical project, Krumwiede’s “architectural fiction" sends up American ideas about economics, politics, and culture by picking apart our outrageous suburban housing types. The project will be on display at the Chicago Architecture Biennial this fall, delivering a sardonic vision of American architecture that comes out of academic theory, but has a potent message for anyone who has spent time in suburbia. 

Helmut Jahn-Designed Skyscraper to Rise on Chicago's Historic Michigan Avenue

16:30 - 16 June, 2017
Helmut Jahn-Designed Skyscraper to Rise on Chicago's Historic Michigan Avenue, Courtesy of 1000M
Courtesy of 1000M

Renderings have been revealed for a new 832-foot-tall skyscraper that will rise from a current vacant lot on Chicago’s historic Michigan Avenue. Known as 1000M, the tower has been designed by JAHN, the practice helmed by one of Chicago’s most prolific architects, Helmut Jahn. The 74-story building will feature a blue-green glass curtain wall subdivided with metal horizontal spandrel panels, and a metallic mesh crown hovering over a rooftop terrace.

AD Classics: World's Columbian Exposition / Daniel Burnham and Frederick Law Olmsted

04:30 - 14 June, 2017
AD Classics: World's Columbian Exposition / Daniel Burnham and Frederick Law Olmsted, Viewed from the far end of the Great Basin, the Administration Building looms over the court of honor and the surrounding great buildings of the fair. ImageCourtesy of Wikimedia user RillkeBot (Public Domain)
Viewed from the far end of the Great Basin, the Administration Building looms over the court of honor and the surrounding great buildings of the fair. ImageCourtesy of Wikimedia user RillkeBot (Public Domain)

The United States had made an admirable showing for itself at the very first World’s Fair, the Crystal Palace Exhibition, held in the United Kingdom in 1851. British newspapers were unreserved in their praise, declaring America’s displayed inventions to be more ingenious and useful than any others at the Fair; the Liverpool Times asserted “no longer to be ridiculed, much less despised.” Unlike various European governments, which spent lavishly on their national displays in the exhibitions that followed, the US Congress was hesitant to contribute funds, forcing exhibitors to rely on individuals for support. Interest in international exhibitions fell during the nation’s bloody Civil War; things recovered quickly enough in the wake of the conflict, however, that the country could host the Philadelphia Centennial Exhibition in 1876. Celebrating both American patriotism and technological progress, the Centennial Exhibition was a resounding success which set the stage for another great American fair: the World’s Columbian Exposition of 1893.[1]

Courtesy of Wikimedia user RillkeBot (Public Domain) Although the building itself was handsome, the exhibits of the United States Government Building failed to entice many of the fair’s visitors. In the foreground stands the Ho-O-Den, a replica medieval Japanese palace. ImageCourtesy of Wikimedia user RillkeBot (Public Domain) Courtesy of Wikimedia user scewing (Public Domain A map of the 1893 Exposition shows how much of the fair’s buildings were laid out on axis with the court of honor. ImageCourtesy of Wikimedia user scewing (Public Domain) +16

Cut Triplex Townhouse / SPACECUTTER

13:00 - 5 June, 2017
Cut Triplex Townhouse  / SPACECUTTER, © Michael Vahrenwald / ESTO
© Michael Vahrenwald / ESTO

© Michael Vahrenwald / ESTO © Michael Vahrenwald / ESTO © Michael Vahrenwald / ESTO © Michael Vahrenwald / ESTO +41

Diller Scofidio + Renfro Releases New Design for University of Chicago's Rubenstein Forum

12:00 - 15 May, 2017
Diller Scofidio + Renfro Releases New Design for University of Chicago's Rubenstein Forum, Courtesy of Diller Scofidio + Renfro
Courtesy of Diller Scofidio + Renfro

The University of Chicago has unveiled new renderings of its planned David M. Rubenstein Forum that show major changes to the buildings’ form and relationship to the site. Designed by Diller Scofidio + Renfro, the new scheme shows a more homogeneous structure featuring a uniform zinc and glass facade that will help to better signify the distinct “neighborhoods” located within the 8-story tower.

Call for Papers Chicago Schools: Authors, Audiences and History

19:30 - 6 May, 2017
Call for Papers Chicago Schools: Authors, Audiences and History, Symposium poster, please feel free to share.
Symposium poster, please feel free to share.

“Chicago Schools” is an international peer-reviewed graduate student symposium that explores the interplay between the individual and collective in the process of making history. The symposium, hosted by the IIT College of Architecture PhD Program in partnership with the Chicago Architecture Biennial, will engage with and enhance the dialogue around the Biennial theme, “Make New History,” by highlighting graduate student contributions in architecture, design, humanities, and architectural and urban history. Papers may revisit past and present Chicago Schools - from Henry van Brunt’s "School" and William James’ "Chicago School of Thought" to Sigfried Giedion’s "Chicago School of Architecture,” and beyond - as well as the emergence of new historiographic and architectural traditions within a global context.

150 North Riverside / Goettsch Partners

13:00 - 4 May, 2017
150 North Riverside / Goettsch Partners, Courtesy of Goettsch Partners
Courtesy of Goettsch Partners

Courtesy of Goettsch Partners Courtesy of Goettsch Partners Courtesy of Goettsch Partners Courtesy of Goettsch Partners +12

  • Architects

  • Location

    150 N Riverside Plaza, Chicago, IL 60606, United States
  • Architects in Charge

    Jim Goettsch, Joachim Schuessler, Erik Harris
  • Area

    136.0 m2
  • Project Year

    2017

Behind The Scenes at Studio Gang

06:00 - 4 May, 2017
Behind The Scenes at Studio Gang, Aqua Tower. Image © Victor Delaqua
Aqua Tower. Image © Victor Delaqua

Chicago Zoo Park. Image © Victor Delaqua Studio Gang HQ - Chicago. Image © Victor Delaqua WMS Boathouse in Clark Park. Image © Victor Delaqua Studio Gang HQ - Chicago. Image © Victor Delaqua +7

Last year I had the opportunity to visit Studio Gang, one of the most prestigious and inspiring firms around led by architect Jeanne Gang. I was able to talk with her team about the workspace, some of her projects, about the future of architecture, the role of women in the profession and even about the inspirations behind the United States Embassy in Brasilia.

Obama Foundation Unveils TWBTA-Designed Obama Presidential Center

13:50 - 3 May, 2017
Obama Foundation Unveils TWBTA-Designed Obama Presidential Center, View of the Obama Presidential Center plaza. Image Courtesy of Obama Foundation
View of the Obama Presidential Center plaza. Image Courtesy of Obama Foundation

The Obama Foundation today unveiled the design of former President Barack Obama’s Presidential Center, reports The Chicago Tribune. Designed by Todd Williams Billie Tsien Architects, the center’s design comprises three buildings. At the north of the site, the tallest building will contain the center’s museum, while buildings to the south will house a library, auditorium, and restaurant, arranged around a public garden.

Conceptual Site Model. Image Courtesy of Obama Foundation Conceptual Site Plan. Image Courtesy of Obama Foundation Contextual Site Plan. Image Courtesy of Obama Foundation Aerial Shot of the Existing Site. Image Courtesy of Obama Foundation +5

Which Cities Have the Most Skyscrapers?

09:30 - 27 April, 2017
Which Cities Have the Most Skyscrapers?

There’s a lot that the presence of skyscrapers can say about a city. They can be indicators of anything from wealth to modernization to density, or a combination of all three, depending on where you look. This potential to observe trends in a city through the height of its buildings makes data on those buildings valuable to a multitude of industries, so companies like Emporis conduct and distribute research on topics like the newest, tallest, and most expensive buildings in the world. Keep reading to find out about the ten tall cities that are home to the largest number of skyscrapers—as defined by Emporis' definition of a building that is 100 meters or more.

Willis Tower To Receive $20 Million of New SkyDeck Attractions

14:15 - 24 March, 2017
Willis Tower To Receive $20 Million of New SkyDeck Attractions, Courtesy of Morningstar. Via Crain's
Courtesy of Morningstar. Via Crain's

Adrenaline junkies rejoice: the Willis Tower has announced plans for $20 million dollars of improvements to their popular glass-bottom SkyDeck observation attractions. Among the additions will be a series of new all-glass protrusions from the building, as well as a chance to rappel down a glass shaft suspended from the building’s 103rd floor.

3 Top Architects Selected to Design Community-Oriented Housing Library Developments in Chicago

12:20 - 24 March, 2017
3 Top Architects Selected to Design Community-Oriented Housing Library Developments in Chicago, Initial renderings for the Roosevelt Branch, designed by SOM. Image Courtesy of The Chicago Housing Authority
Initial renderings for the Roosevelt Branch, designed by SOM. Image Courtesy of The Chicago Housing Authority

The City of Chicago and the Chicago Housing Authority have announced the selection of Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM), Perkins + Will and John Ronan Architects to lead in the design of three new “co-located” affordable housing and library developments in the Chicago neighborhoods of Little Italy, West Ridge, and Irving Park.

Selected from a shortlist of nine firms, the three Chicago-based teams were chosen for their “innovative ideas that will ensure that each community will have a design that best reflects its needs.” The practices will work intimately with their respective communities to develop their designs.

Initial renderings for the Roosevelt Branch, designed by SOM. Image Courtesy of The Chicago Housing Authority The Northtown Branch at Western and Pratt avenues in West Ridge will be designed by Perkins + Will. Image Courtesy of The Chicago Housing Authority The design of the Independence Branch at 4022 N. Elston in Irving Park will be lead be John Ronan Architects. Image Courtesy of The Chicago Housing Authority SOM will design the Roosevelt Branch at Taylor and Ada streets on the Near West Side (Little Italy). Image Courtesy of The Chicago Housing Authority +4

Chicago Architecture Biennial to Exhibit 16 Tribune Tower Redesigns

16:30 - 7 March, 2017
Chicago Architecture Biennial to Exhibit 16 Tribune Tower Redesigns, Designs for the Chicago Tribune Tower by (left to right) Walter Gropius and Adolf Meyer; Max Taut; Adolf Loos; and Bruno Taut, Walter Gunther, and Kurz Schutz. Image via skyscraper.org
Designs for the Chicago Tribune Tower by (left to right) Walter Gropius and Adolf Meyer; Max Taut; Adolf Loos; and Bruno Taut, Walter Gunther, and Kurz Schutz. Image via skyscraper.org

The Chicago Architecture Biennial has announced the first exhibit that will on display during the event’s second edition from September 16 to January 7, 2018 – a contemporary reboot of one of architecture’s most well-known competitions, the Chicago Tribune tower design contest. Sixteen young architects from around the world will contribute new versions of the iconic skyscraper that will be displayed as a series of 16-foot-tall architectural models in the Chicago Cultural Center, the Biennial’s main venue.

3 Success Stories Show How to Apply Road Safety Through Public Health Plans

06:00 - 1 March, 2017
3 Success Stories Show How to Apply Road Safety Through Public Health Plans, © Flickr User: NYCDOT. Licence CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
© Flickr User: NYCDOT. Licence CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Vision Zero is an initiative that started in Sweden in 1997 when the country began implementing a series of road safety measures to reach their goal of zero deaths from traffic accidents. As a result, the country managed to reduce the number of deaths to 3 people per 100 thousand inhabitants.

Since then the plan has been adopted by different cities and has inspired the creation of various organizations that are looking to make our streets a safer places. One of them being the Vision Zero Network that brings together traffic engineers, health professionals, local leaders, and policy makers.

Willis Tower to Receive $500 Million Renovation

16:20 - 7 February, 2017
Willis Tower to Receive $500 Million Renovation, Courtesy of Blackstone and Equity Office
Courtesy of Blackstone and Equity Office

One of the United States’ most recognizable skyscrapers, the Willis Tower (formerly the Sears Tower), is set to receive a $500 million renovation designed by the Chicago office of Gensler. Announced by Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel with real estate holders Blackstone and Equity Office, the project will transform and reinvigorate the 43-year-old building, which held the title of world’s tallest building for nearly a quarter century. 

Courtesy of Blackstone and Equity Office Courtesy of Blackstone and Equity Office Courtesy of Blackstone and Equity Office Courtesy of Blackstone and Equity Office +14

Chicago Announces Controversial Plans to Replace Helmut Jahn’s Thompson Center with 115-Story Skyscraper

14:00 - 26 January, 2017
Chicago Announces Controversial Plans to Replace Helmut Jahn’s Thompson Center with 115-Story Skyscraper , 115 story skyscraper that could replace the Thompson Center. Image © Adrian Smith Gordon Gill Architecture. Via Crain's
115 story skyscraper that could replace the Thompson Center. Image © Adrian Smith Gordon Gill Architecture. Via Crain's

Chicago may be about to receive a new supertall skyscraper in the heart of the Loop – but it would require the demolition of one of the city’s most polarizing buildings, the James R. Thompson Center, designed by Chicago architect Helmut Jahn.

Owned by the state, the postmodernist Thompson Center and its colorful glass atrium have been the subject of both criticism and adoration since its opening in 1985. But wear on the building throughout the years has led to an estimated maintenance bill of $326 million, prompting the state government to find ways to rid itself of the potentially crippling costs.

Helmut Jahn's Alternative Proposal. Image © JAHN. Via Crain's 115 story skyscraper that could replace the Thompson Center. Image © Adrian Smith Gordon Gill Architecture. Via Crain's Thompson Center interior. Image © wikimedia user Tripp. Licensed under CC BY 2.0 Thompson Center from the street. Image © wikimedia user Primeromundo. Image released to public domain +5

TED Talk: Jeanne Gang on Buildings That Create Community

16:00 - 25 January, 2017

I’m a relationship builder

In this TED Talk, Jeanne Gang makes a case for the architect as community builder, and how design choices should begin with creating connections between people. In the 12 minute video, Gang walks through some of her firm’s more recent and successful projects, including the Arcus Center for Social Justice Leadership, Chicago’s Aqua Tower and a proposal for a completely reimagined police station, outlining the architectural decisions that helped to foster a sense of community.

"Through architecture, we can do much more than create buildings," says Gang. "We can help steady this planet we all share."

Theaster Gates Wins 2017 Edmund N. Bacon Award

16:00 - 13 January, 2017
Theaster Gates Wins 2017 Edmund N. Bacon Award, The Rebuild Foundation's Dorchester Art + Housing Collaborative (DA+HC); Chicago / Landon Bone Baker Architects. Image © Barry Rustin
The Rebuild Foundation's Dorchester Art + Housing Collaborative (DA+HC); Chicago / Landon Bone Baker Architects. Image © Barry Rustin

The Center for Architecture and Design has announced Theaster Gates as the 2017 recipient of its Edmund N. Bacon Award, which honors one individual who has advocated for excellence in urban development, planning, thought, and design.

A Chicago-based artist and community developer, Gates is the founder of the Rebuild Foundation, which focuses on improving the quality of urban life by planning and designing active and engaged communities. “Under Gates’ leadership, the Rebuild Foundation currently manages projects in the Greater Grand Crossing neighborhood of Chicago. Program sites include the Stony Island Arts Bank, the Black Cinema House, the Dorchester Art + Housing Collaborative, Archive House, and Listening House.”