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VIDEO: Chicago's Three Tallest Buildings Simultaneously Struck by Lightning

Lightning doesn't strike twice in the same place - or so goes the saying. But if you've ever watched a skyscraper in a storm, you probably know that this saying isn't exactly true. What might be a little more rare is lightning striking three places at once, but thanks to this amazing timelapse video by Craig Shimala we now know that this too is possible, as the lightning rods on Chicago's Willis Tower, Trump Tower and John Hancock Center are all hit simultaneously (keep an eye out at the 36-second mark, and see the still image after the break). Perhaps the most amazing thing of all is that this is the second time Shimala has recorded this exact occurrence - you can also see his video from 2010 after the break.

Chicago Unveils Plans for Its Own Architecture Biennial

Today, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel will announce plans for a new international architecture exhibition in his city which hopes to rival the reach and influence of the Venice Architecture Biennale. The first Chicago Architecture Biennial is planned to be held in late 2015, and will be co-curated by Director of the Graham Foundation Sarah Herda, and Joseph Grima, former editor-in-chief of Domus Magazine and co-curator of the 2012 Istanbul Design Biennial.

They will develop the program with help from David Adjaye, Elizabeth Diller, Jeanne Gang, Frank GehryStanley Tigerman, Sylvia Lavin, Hans Ulrich Obrist, and Pritzker Prize Jury Chair Peter Palumbo. 

More on the plans for the Chicago Architecture Biennial after the break

How Safe Are Glass Skyscrapers Really?

Imagine standing on a glass platform with Chicago 1300 feet directly below. Suddenly, the glass holding you begins to crack. This actually happened to Alejandro Garibay at the Willis Tower (formerly the Sears Tower) just last week. Luckily, Garibay wasn't hurt, but the occurrence begs the question: how safe is glass - the most common material used in skyscrapers nowadays - really? Karrie Jacobs At Fast Company - Design, asked materials experts to find out "The Truth Behind Building With Glass."  

10 Fires That Changed Architecture Forever

With no casualties, last week's fire at the Glasgow School of Art, which caused significant damage to parts of the building and gutted Charles Rennie Mackintosh's canonical library room, will be remembered as a tragic event that robbed us of one of the best examples of Art Nouveau of its time. The intention of the Glasgow School of Art is to restore the building in the hope that in generations to come, the fire will be all but forgotten, a strategy which has been largely well received by the profession. 

However, in the case of other fires things have not gone so smoothly: for millennia, fire has played a big role in determining the course of architectural history - by destroying precious artifacts, but often also by allowing something new to rise from the ashes. Read on after the break as we count down the top 10 fires that changed the course of architectural history.

10 Fires That Changed Architecture Forever The Hagia Sophia. Image © Flickr CC User Collin Key The Reichstag. Image © Flickr CC User Sebastian Niedlich Chicago. Image © Flickr CC User Brad Wilke

Pezo Von Ellrichshausen's Poli House Wins Inaugural MCHAP for Emerging Architecture

Yesterday at the Illinois Institute of Technology's (IIT), Pezo Von Ellrichshausen was awarded the prestigious Mies Crown Hall Americas Prize (MCHAP) for Emerging Architecture. Selected for their finely crafted, concrete Poli House, which serves as both a summer residence and cultural center on the Coliumo Peninsula, the Chilean firm was the first practice ever to receive the prize. 

VIDEO: Jeanne Gang on Resurrecting a Chicago Landmark

Shoreland, once a prominent destination built for the stars in 1926, stood derelict for years at risk of being erased from Chicago’s built history. This all changed the moment Jeanne Gang of Studio Gang Architects seized an opportunity to restore the monumental building into a highly sought after residential tower.

Provided by our friends at Spirit of Space, the video above takes you through the meticulous process and unique transformation of this historic landmark, highlighting insight by Gang herself and David Gwinn of Silliman Group.

For more on Gang's design philosophy, watch our recent ArchDaily interview with her after the break...

Luftwerk Launches Kickstarter Campaign to Transform Mies’ Farnsworth House into Visual Spectacular

The creative minds behind Luftwerk have turned to Kickstarter to crowdfund a project that would transform Ludwig Mies van der Rohe’s Farnsworth House into an immersive light show. Similar to their installation at Frank Lloyd Wright’s Fallingwater residence in 2011, artistic duo Petra Bachmaier and Sean Gallero plan to illuminate the “structural minimalism and transparency” of the house in a way that would offer a new perspective of the modern masterpiece. 

Check out a video of the proposed light show and Luftwerk’s work at Fallingwater, after the break...

Four Architects Shortlisted for Mies Crown Hall Americas Prize for Emerging Architecture

Four projects have been shortlisted for the inaugural Mies Crown Hall Americas Prize (MCHAP) for Emerging Architecture. Announced by the College of Architecture at Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT) and its Dean Wiel Arets, the prestigious prize aims to recognize an emerging practice with the most outstanding built work in the Americas. The winner, which will be announced in May, will be awarded a $25,000 prize and an IIT research professorship that will focus on rethinking the metropolis.

Spanning the Americas from Chile to Canada, the shortlisted projects are... 

George Lucas Looks to Chicago

After being rejected, alongside two other shortlisted proposals, by San Francisco’s Presidio Trust to build a self-tiled cultural arts museum at Crissy Field, George Lucas has turned his attention to the windy city of Chicago. According to a report by the SunTimes, Mayor Rahm Emanuel has challenged civic leaders to find an “accessible” site for the proposed 95,000-square-foot Lucas Cultural Arts Museum by mid-May. 

Infographic: The Bauhaus, Where Form Follows Function

UPDATE: In honor of the 81st anniversary of the day the Bauhaus closed in 1933, we’re re-publishing this popular infographic, which was originally published April 16th, 2012.

From the “starchitect” to “architecture for the 99%,” we are witnessing a shift of focus in the field of architecture. However, it’s in the education system where these ideas really take root and grow. This sea change inspired us to explore past movements, influenced by economic shifts, war and the introduction of new technologies, and take a closer look at the bauhaus movement.

Often associated with being anti-industrial, the Arts and Crafts Movement had dominated the field before the start of the Bauhaus in 1919. The Bauhaus’ focus was to merge design with industry, providing well designed products for the many.

The Bauhaus not only impacted design and architecture on an international level, but also revolutionized the way design schools conceptualize education as a means of imparting an integrated design approach where form follows function.

Lecture: 'What Mammals Want', by Jeanne Gang

Jeanne Gang, founder of Studio Gang, will be hosting a public lecture at the Reva and David Logan Center for the Arts on Monday, April 28, 2014. The lecture, named 'What Mammals Want', will start at 5:15pm and seating is first-come, first-served.  

Flexhouse / Interface Studio Architects + Sullivan Goulette & Wilson

© Ranquist Development Group © Ranquist Development Group © Ranquist Development Group © Ranquist Development Group

Simplicity, Structural Clarity & Sustainability: How SOM Remains a Global Leader

Originally posted under the title "Well-Oiled Machine" on Metropolis Magazine, this fascinating article by Ian Volner profiles the international behemoth that is SOM, exploring how the practice has remained so prominent - and relevant - after 78 years, and what it is that stylistically unites a practice spread across five continents with more than 10,000 buildings to their name.

Frank Lloyd Wright called them the “Three Blind Mies.” Louis Skidmore, Nathaniel Owings, and John O. Merrill were the architectural troika whose namesake firm—founded in Chicago in the mid-1930s—became something like the Julia Child of postwar design, delivering European sophistication to middle America at midcentury. Through hundreds of buildings in cities all across the country (and, later, around the world) the office turned the stringent aesthetic of German master builder Ludwig Mies van der Rohe into an architectural metonym for big business. Whether you look at rows of sleek glass skyscrapers and see grace and economy, or only the “thousand blind windows” of Allen Ginsberg’s monstrous “Moloch,” it’s no stretch to say that you have Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM) to thank for them.

More on SOM's huge influence after the break

2014 Emerging Visions Winners Announced

The Chicago Architectural Club has named Christopher Marcinkoski and Andrew Moddrell of PORT Architecture + Urbanism and Grant Gibson of CAMES/gibson winners of this year’s Emerging Visions. Since its inauguration in 1998, the portfolio competition has sought to recognize significant endeavors by young architects, designers and new practices in Chicago. Works designed by the recipients will be on display at the 2014 AIA National Convention in Chicago. More information, here

William McDonough Designs Ultra "Clean" Manufacturing Facility for Method

William McDonough + Partners has been selected to design Method’s first U.S. manufacturing facility on a brownfield site in Chicago’s historic Pullman community. The company, known for producing environmentally conscious cleaning products, commissioned McDonough to design an ultra clean, LEED Platinum facility constructed from Cradle to Cradle Certified materials and powered entirely by renewable energy. 

Emerging Visions Portfolio Competition 2014

The Chicago Architectural Club, with the support of AIA Chicago and the Graham Foundation, today announced the launch of the 2014 Emerging Visions portfolio competition. This competition seeks to provide a forum for young designers to be recognized and to share their visions, inventions and ideas. The award promotes significant architectural endeavors by young architects, designers and new practices yet to be acknowledged. 

Ranquist Development Group Office / Vladimir Radutny Architects

© Mike Schwartz Photography © Mike Schwartz Photography © Mike Schwartz Photography © Mike Schwartz Photography

IIT’s College of Architecture Launches the Mies Crown Hall Americas Prize

The College of Architecture at Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT) and its Dean Wiel Arets has announced the creation of the Mies Crown Hall Americas Prize (MCHAP) and the MCHAP for Emerging Architecture. With an objective to “reward the daring contemplation of the intersection of the new metropolis and human ecology,” these two biennial prizes will “recognize the most distinguished built constructs of the North and South American continents” while fostering research toward rethinking the metropolis.

MCHAP is an extension of the larger curricular and research initiatives of IIT, as established by Dean Wiel Arets, who states: “This new prize will not be bestowed to an individual or organization based solely off inventive form, however clever its design, or based solely off a submitted image, no matter how captivating. The prize's jury will instead be holistic in their approach to selecting exceptional works. Architecture, as a discipline, will continue its pursuit of technology, so that it can further advance. And architecture is for people; it is strengthened by their presence.”