Call for Projects: Spontaneous Interventions: Design Actions for the Common Good

Installation at the Venice Biennale 2012 / © Nico Saieh

Spontaneous Interventions: Design Actions for the Common Good, the official U.S. representation at the 13th International Architecture Exhibition at the Venice Biennale (2012), will travel to in May 2013, and is seeking new projects—urban interventions realized in U.S. cities in the past two years—with an emphasis on those based in Chicago and the Midwest region. The exhibition will be on view through Summer 2013. The exhibition in Chicago will feature a site-specific adaptation of the original exhibition design and will include many of the projects featured in Venice alongside dozens of new projects selected as a result of this open call for submissions. Submissions are due no later than March 6th. For more information, please visit here.

Preservationists Surrender to Hopeless Battle for Prentice

© C. William Brubaker via Flickr user UIC Digital Collections

In response to the Commission on Landmarks’ decision to reject landmark status to Prentice Woman’s Hospital for the second time in three months, the two preservationist groups challenging the City of have withdrawn their lawsuits. This eliminates the last barrier standing in Northwestern University’s way to demolish the historic, Bertrand Goldberg structure for a new biomedical research facility.

“We felt that we had done as much as we possibly could to demonstrate the significance of the building and ways to reuse,” stated Christina Morris, a senior field officer for the National Trust for Historic . “We just couldn’t see that we’d have any other outcome.”

For many, this news is disheartening as architects and preservationists from around the globe have fought in solidarity for much of the past year in an attempt to illustrate the importance of this one-of-a-kind structure.

More after the break…

Studio Gang Breaks Ground on Ecologically Diverse Urban Mecca

Courtesy of Studio Gang Architects

For the past several years the Park District and the City of have been working on appropriate uses for , a 91-acre man-made peninsula in , Illinois. The lakefront site branches off from Museum Campus, a section along Lake Michigan that is home to the Field Museum, Shedd Aquarium, and Adler Planetarium. Serving as an expansion to these cultural programs, Studio Gang Architects, in collaboration with SmithGroupJJR, have created an innovative design that integrates educational, cultural, social, and recreational activities into Northerly Island.

Read more about Northerly Island’s future after the break!

ACTIVATE! Public Space Design Competition

Courtesy of Architecture for Humanity

Architecture for Humanity Chicago recently announced the launch of their 4th annual ACTIVATE! Design Competition, which is free and open to the public. The competition challenges participants to redefine a public space on a temporary basis and on a budget of $1,000. The designs should aim to leverage community development through the implementation of small scale place making infrastructure. This will be a partnership with Chicago Department of Transportation as part of the ‘Make Way for the People’ initiative. It will focus on four sites in the city: Old Town, Pilsen, Woodlawn, and East Garfield Park. The deadline for entries is March 15. For more information, please visit here.

Wheels of Chicago Proposal / Hapsitus Architects

Courtesy of

Inspired by the Ferris wheel, ‘Wheels of ’ consists of seven revolving wheels proposed for Olive Park and its vicinity. Designed by Hapsitus Architects, five of them will be placed above the circular fountains, with the circumference of each wheel mirroring that of its fountain. More images and architects’ description after the break.

Chicago’s Cook County Aims to Eradicate Demolition Waste

Image via

Cook County, , recently brought the elimination of construction waste to a new level by creating the first demolition debris ordinance in the Midwest. This groundbreaking ordinance requires most of the debris created from demolition to be recycled and reused instead of being sent to the landfill. The ordinance helps contribute to Cook County’s zero waste goal, part of the Solid Waste Plan Update.

The new law states that at least 7 percent of suburban construction and demolition debris must be recycled, and an additional 5 percent must be reused on residential properties. This new legislation will have a great impact as it affects about 2.5 million suburban Cook County residents.

More after the break…

Northwestern University confirms the demise of Prentice Women’s Hospital

© C. William Brubaker via Flickr user UIC Digital Collections

The new year is off to a rough start for the preservation of modern architecture, as Bertrand Goldberg’s Prentice Woman’s Hospital appears to be joining Richard Neutra’s Cyclorama Center on the list for 2013. Northwestern University senior vice president for business and finance, Eugene S. Sunshine has confirmed that, despite strong opposition from architects and preservationists worldwide, the university will be replacing the historic, Chicago icon with a new biomedical research facility.

“The new building on the Prentice site will be connected on a floor-by-floor basis with the existing University research building just to the west of the site,” announced Sunshine in a press release. “Doing so will bring researchers together and thereby enhance the chances of finding breakthroughs in cardiovascular disease, cancer, diabetes and neurodegenerative disorders, among others. The site is the linchpin for what will be a major new medical research hub.”

More on this controversial decision after the break…

Book Presentation and Signing of Wiel Arets: Autobiographical References

Courtesy of Architects

The Graham Foundation of will host a book presentation and signing of Wiel Arets: Autobiographical References, a new book edited by Robert McCarter and designed by Irma Boom exploring the notion of ‘A Wonderful World’. The event will take place Friday, February 1st at 6:00pmCST. The evening will begin with a discussion and debate between Arets and McCarter, introducing the book’s origins as well as the work of Wiel Arets Architects, after which signed copies of the publication will be available for purchase. More information after the break.

Chicago Riverwalk Proposal / Sasaki Associates + Ross Barney Architects

Courtesy of

Sasaki Associates, along with Ross Barney Architects, Alfred Benesch Engineers, and a broader technical consultant team, were tasked this year with creating a vision for the six blocks between State Street and Lake Street in . Building off previous studies, the team’s Riverwalk Concept Plan, which is currently in progress to be completed, provides the last, critical link between the lake, the city’s circulation, and the river’s urban branches. Once a meandering marshy stream, the river became an engineered channel to support the industrial transformation of the city, making this riverwalk an instrumental design in the city. More images and architects’ description after the break.

Logan Center for the Arts, University of Chicago / Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects

© Tom Rossiter

Tod Williams and Billie Tsien Architects’ highly anticipated multidisciplinary arts center has opened at the in . Serving as a landmark on the south end of campus, the 184,000 square foot Reva and David Logan Center for the Arts is the new home to UChicago’s academic and extracurricular programs in cinema and media studies, creative writing, music, theater and performance studies, and the visual arts.

Inspired by the “flat prairies of the Midwest and the great towers of Chicago”, the new arts hub is comprised of a light-filled glass and stone tower and a three-story “podium” with a saw-tooth roof. The 170-foot tower houses a performance penthouse, screening room, rooftop deck, classrooms, rehearsal rooms, and performance labs, while the podium features studio space, music practice rooms, workshops, a café, a digital media center, production and editing labs, two theaters, and a 474-seat performance hall.

The University is pursuing LEED Silver Certification for the Logan Center, as the design features regionally sourced materials, a “green roof,” and solar panels.

More images and the architects’ description after the break…

Save the Prentice Wrecking Ball: The Monument to Bruce / Design With Company

Courtesy of

The Save the Prentice Wrecking Ball: The Monument to Bruce, designed by Design With Company, is a response to the situation of the Prentice Women’s Hospital in which aims at creating a new narrative for the building’s afterlife. By combining literary and architectural narrative strategies, their design tries to recapture the narrative and produce the universe we need to steer us toward the conversations we want to have. This story is not a means to an end, it is the ends. More images and architects’ description after the break.

Jeanne Gang and Michael Kimmelman’s proposal to save Prentice Women’s Hospital

Image courtesy of ; Illustration, Jay Hoffman

The preservation battle continues over the fate of Bertrand Goldberg’s 1970’s Prentice Woman’s Hospital. As we reported in July, an ever-growing community of prominent architects – such as Frank Gehry, , Tod Williams and Billie Tsien – have joined preservationists in the fight to save the late modernist structure that is at risk of being replaced by a new biomedical research facility for Northwestern University.

The seven-story concrete cloverleaf, cantilevered 45 feet from the supporting core and floating atop a glass and steel box, is an engineering feat ahead of it’s time as well as an important icon within the Chicago skyline. As architecture critic Michael Kimmelman argues, “Great late-Modernist buildings, innovative and ruggedly beautiful, deserve respect and, increasingly, careful custody. Prentice is a good example.” However, it is not suited for 21st-century research labs and many Chicagoans hate it. Currently, Northwestern University is leading the debate by arguing that a new building would “bring to the city millions of investment dollars, create jobs and save lives”.

Could there be a compromise? Solutions are rarely black-and-white. Kimmelman has consulted Chicago architect Jeanne Gang to envision a proposal that would satisfy both opposing sides. Continue reading to learn more.

‘Building: Inside Studio Gang Architects’ Exhibition

Photo by Steve Hall © Hedrich Blessing, courtesy of

Building: Inside Studio Gang Architects, is the first solo exhibition dedicated to the work of Studio Gang, which will be on view at the Art Institute of Chicago until February 24, 2013. The show immerses visitors in the energy of the studio’s creative process and the stream of ideas that connects its growing body of work. More images and information on the exhibition after the break.

2012 Chicago Prize Competition: Future Prentice

Courtesy of Architectural Club

The Chicago Architectural Club, along with its partner, the Chicago chapter of the American Institute of Architects, just announced the 2012 Chicago Prize Competition: Future Prentice. The competition is intended to act as a platform for public debate about the future of one of Chicago’s most architecturally significant Modern buildings, ’s Prentice Women’s Hospital. Located in the downtown Chicago neighborhood of Streeterville, this concrete, clover leaf-shaped structure is considered an iconic piece of architecture for the city by some and an eyesore by others. Today the building is in imminent danger of being torn down by its owner, Northwestern University, but it’s fate ultimately lies in the hands of the city’s administration. The submission deadline is October 15. To register and for more information, please visit here.

‘The Seed of Light’ Powerful Design Competition Proposal / Andrea Zuniga + Daniel Caven

Courtesy of Andrea Zuniga +

Designed by Illinois Intitute of Technology architecture students, Andrea Zuniga and Daniel Caven, the winning proposal in the Powerful Design Competition held this summer in will redefine ’s south side skyline, adding a new member to the series of local landmarks: a skyscraper made of light. Sponsored by ComEd, this will not only serve as the company’s icon, but also as a symbol for environmental awareness, heightening the aesthetics of the area. With the aim to design a new LEED certified training facility in the south side of the city, ‘The Seed of Light’ will travel along the River to spread the knowledge of smart grid technology and promote the company name as a responsible and environmental friendly entity. The estimated completion for the project is April 2014. More images and architects’ description after the break.

Dutch Architect Wiel Arets Named Dean of IIT’s College of Architecture

Courtesy of IIT

Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT) Provost Alan Cramb announced today the appointment of Wiel Arets as the new dean of the IIT College of Architecture. Born in the Netherlands, Arets, an internationally acclaimed architect, educator, industrial designer, theorist, and urbanist, is known for his academic progressive research and hybrid design solutions. He is currently the professor of building planning and design at the Berlin University of the Arts. His architecture and design practice, Wiel Arets Architects, has multiple studios throughout Europe and its work has been nominated for the European Union’s celebrated ‘Mies van der Rohe Award’ on numerous occasions.

Arets, who was dean of the Berlage Institute in Rotterdam from 1995-2002, will join IIT this fall and will lead an academic program originally shaped by the vision and work of Ludwig Mies van der Rohe. Considered by many to be one of the founders of modern architecture and design, Mies chaired the IIT architecture program from 1938-1958 and designed the IIT Main Campus, home to many of his iconic structures including S.R. Crown Hall.

Continue reading for more. 

Private Residence / Grunsfeld Shafer Architects

Steve Hall © Hedrich Blessing

Architects: Grunsfeld Shafer Architects
Location: Illinois,
Design Team: Thomas L. Shafer, Scott Crowe
Project Area: 6,500 sqm
Photographs: Steve Hall © Hedrich Blessing

Leading architects fight to save Chicago’s historic Prentice Women’s Hospital

© C. William Brubaker via Flickr user UIC Digital Collections

Over 60 prominent architects, including Frank Gehry and , signed a letter asking Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel to grant Bertrand Goldberg‘s Prentice Women’s Hospital landmark status and make it a permanent part of Chicago’s built environment.  ”A building this significant”, the letter read, it “should be preserved and reused.”  Goldberg’s architectural work has been iconic to Chicago’s city-scape.  Building such as Marina City, River City, Wright College and Astor Tower have all made a tremendous impact on the personality of the city.

More on the state of the building after the break.