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Illinois

Second Chicago Architecture Biennial Closes with Over 500,000 Attendees

14:30 - 17 January, 2018
Second Chicago Architecture Biennial Closes with Over 500,000 Attendees, © Tom Harris
© Tom Harris

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel has announced the figures for the 2017 Chicago Architecture Biennial, which closed its four month run on Sunday, January 7th.

The second edition of the event, helmed by Artistic Director Sharon Johnston and Mark Lee, was able to match the success of the inaugural edition, seeing 554,866 visitors from around the world.

Apple’s New Foster+Partners-Designed Chicago Flagship Store Battered by Winter Weather

14:30 - 2 January, 2018
Apple’s New Foster+Partners-Designed Chicago Flagship Store Battered by Winter Weather, Photo by Matt Maldre. Via the Verge.
Photo by Matt Maldre. Via the Verge.

Just a few months after the opening of Apple’s first town square concept retail store, the Foster + Partners-designed glass-box structure is facing the wrath of its first Chicago winter – and it doesn’t appear to be handling it so smoothly.

As reported by the Verge and 9to5Mac, nearly all of the store’s riverfront outdoor space has been roped off due to the presence of large and potentially dangerous icicles that have formed on the edge of the building’s MacBook-shaped roof. Signs reading “watch for falling snow and ice” now surround the store and at the entrance on Pioneer Court.

At the Chicago Architecture Biennial, Chinese Firms Look to Tradition to Write a New Chapter in Their Nation's Architectural History

08:00 - 20 December, 2017
At the Chicago Architecture Biennial, Chinese Firms Look to Tradition to Write a New Chapter in Their Nation's Architectural History, Five Dragons Temple in Shanxi Province, designed by URBANUS. Image by Yang Chaoying
Five Dragons Temple in Shanxi Province, designed by URBANUS. Image by Yang Chaoying

This article was originally published on the blog of the Chicago Architecture Biennial, the largest platform for contemporary architecture in North America. The 2017 Biennial, entitled Make New History, will be free and open to the public between September 16, 2017 and January 6, 2018.

When we think of contemporary architecture in China, we often refer to the megaprojects by international architecture studios that tend to get covered most in the design media. From OMA’s CCTV Headquarters and Shenzhen Stock Exchange to the recently completed Tianjin Binhai Library by MVRDV and Poly International Plaza by SOM, these projects dominate urban skylines at a singular scale that suggests they were built to impress.

Beyond individual buildings, China’s mega-architecture boom is rapidly developing entirely new cities, a process designed to relieve the country’s principal metropolitan areas of their high density, while offering new prototypes for urban life. These highly branded environments are prompting displacement – as a form of rural exodus – and social stress throughout the country, while also ignoring the legacy of traditional Chinese architecture in urban centers.

Micro Yuan’er Children’s Library and Art Centre in the Dashilar neighborhood of Beijing, designed by ZAO/standardarchitecture. Image by Shengliang Su Installation view of Archi-Union projects at the 2017 Chicago Architecture Biennial. Image by Steve Hall © Hall Merrick Photographers Five Dragons Temple by URBANUS. Image by Yang Chaoying Fab-Union in Shanghai’s West Bund neighborhood, designed by Archi-Union. Images by Hao Chen (left) and Shengliang Su (right) + 8

Apple's First Town Square Retail Concept Opens in Chicago

14:45 - 20 October, 2017

The first in a new generation of Apple stores has opened in the heart of Chicago. Designed by Foster + Partners, Apple Michigan Avenue employs the tech giant’s “Town Square” concept, which subverts the typical retail experience in favor of a community-inclusive approach.

© Patrick Lynch Courtesy of Apple © Patrick Lynch © Patrick Lynch + 14

New Chicago Architecture Center to Open in 2018

16:15 - 7 September, 2017
Courtesy of Chicago Architecture Foundation
Courtesy of Chicago Architecture Foundation

The Chicago Architecture Foundation (CAF) has announced the creation of the Chicago Architecture Center, a new headquarters and experience center that will invite visitors to discover “Chicago’s architectural legacy and its role in shaping cities everywhere.”

Located within the Mies van der Rohe-designed 111 East Wacker Drive along the Chicago River, the 20,000-square-foot center will provide space for a variety of exhibitions and educational initiatives, including direct access to the Chicago Architecture Foundation River Cruise. The new interiors will be designed by Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture.

This Map Shows The Evolution of Frank Lloyd Wright's Oak Park Designs

16:00 - 17 August, 2017
This Map Shows The Evolution of Frank Lloyd Wright's Oak Park Designs, © Phil Thompson
© Phil Thompson

Home to Frank Lloyd Wright for many years, Oak Park, Illinois is also the site of the greatest concentration of Frank Lloyd Wright-designed homes and buildings than anywhere else in the world. Having designed structures for the neighborhood for nearly four decades, Wright used Oak Park as a place to try out new techniques and evolve his personal style.

Picking up on this, Illustrator Phil Thompson of Cape Horn Illustration has created a new map of Wright’s Oak Park designs. Organized both chronologically and by location, the map allows viewers to make connections between the structures, as their lines evolved from gabled to flat roofs and expanded in scale and in ambition.

Little-Known Floating Concert Hall Designed by Louis Kahn Faces Demolition

16:00 - 19 July, 2017
Little-Known Floating Concert Hall Designed by Louis Kahn Faces Demolition, © <a href='http://https://www.flickr.com/photos/spablab/3789270610/in/photolist-6LR18U-6fVSsc-6HZDsy-6LLR7H-6HZrQ7/'>Flickr user spablab</a>. Licensed under CC BY-ND 2.0
© Flickr user spablab. Licensed under CC BY-ND 2.0

One of Louis Kahn’s most unique and lesser-known projects, the floating concert hall known as Point Counterpoint II, is at risk of demolition, reports the Pittsburgh Post Gazette.

Built from 1964 to ’67  as part of celebrations for the American Bicentennial, the 195-foot-long vessel has since been used as the waterborne home of the American Wind Symphony Orchestra (AWSO), allowing the group to take their own venue places as far away as Paris, France and St. Petersburg, Russia. Along with circular doorways and portholes, the structure features a 75-foot-wide stage that can be opened and closed using a hydraulic lift system.

Mies van der Rohe's Other Illinois Home, the McCormick House, to Undergo Restoration

16:05 - 3 July, 2017
Mies van der Rohe's Other Illinois Home, the McCormick House, to Undergo Restoration, © Heritage Architecture Studio, LLC and LP Studio Inc. Via Curbed
© Heritage Architecture Studio, LLC and LP Studio Inc. Via Curbed

As Mies van der Rohe’s adopted city, Chicago and its surrounding area are home to more of the Modernist architect’s projects than anywhere else in the world, from Crown Hall to Federal Center to the Farnsworth House. Perhaps for that very reason, the McCormick House, located in the Chicago suburb of Elmhurst, is one of the lesser known projects in the architect's’ oeuvre – despite being one of just three single-family homes in the United States completed by Mies.

Built in 1952 for Robert McCormick Jr. – the owner of the land where Mies' 860-880 N. Lake Shore Drive was constructed – the house was moved down the street in 1994, where it was attached to the newly built Elmhurst Museum of Art via a 15-foot-long corridor. While its relocation allowed the building to remain in good care over the next 23 years, it also obscured the home’s front facade, “camouflaging one of the most prized objects in the museum's collection.”

But that’s all about to change, thanks to an upcoming restoration that will remove the offending corridor, allowing the original architecture to shine once again.

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.

"See You in Court!": 9 of Architecture’s Nastiest Lawsuits

09:30 - 8 May, 2017
© <a href=‘https://www.flickr.com/photos/diversey/16868722144/'>Flickr user diversey</a> licensed under <a href='https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/deed.en'>CC BY-2.0</a>
© Flickr user diversey licensed under CC BY-2.0

What did Pritzker Prize winner Frank Gehry get when he designed the Stata Center, an exuberantly whimsical academic complex for MIT? A very large check, plus a major lawsuit, alleging negligence and breach of contract due to rampant leaks, mold, cracks, drainage problems and sliding ice. Sometimes the most inspired designs can go awry. And when they do, some clients lawyer up. Here are 9 fascinating examples.

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.

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 Riverwalk Opens to the Public, Returning the City to the River

16:25 - 1 November, 2016
Chicago Riverwalk Opens to the Public, Returning the City to the River, © Kate Joyce Studios
© Kate Joyce Studios

The third and final phase of the Chicago Riverwalk is officially open to the public. Designed by Sasaki and Ross Barney Architects, the 1.5 mile long promenade revitalizes an underutilized industrial area into an active public space featuring restaurants, cultural activities and amenities while reconnecting the Chicago River to the urban fabric of the city.

© Iwan Baan © Kate Joyce Studios © Kate Joyce Studios © Kate Joyce Studios + 37

Perkins Eastman Update SOM-Designed Laboratory at the University of Chicago

16:05 - 22 July, 2016
Perkins Eastman Update SOM-Designed Laboratory at the University of Chicago, Southwest Facade After. Image Courtesy of Perkins Eastman
Southwest Facade After. Image Courtesy of Perkins Eastman

Perkins Eastman has released plans for a two-story expansion and redesign of the SOM-designed Laboratory for Astrophysics and Space Research at the University of Chicago campus in Chicago, Illinois. Construction on the 63,500 square foot building has just begun, and once completed, will serve as the renewed home of the University’s Department of Physics. The addition and renovation will create a new physics hub on campus that will allow students of different sub-disciplines to collaborate under the same roof for the first time.

Soutwest Facade Before. Image Courtesy of Perkins Eastman Northwest Facade After. Image Courtesy of Perkins Eastman Northwest Facade Before. Image Courtesy of Perkins Eastman Aerial Perspective After. Image Courtesy of Perkins Eastman + 6

Rafael Viñoly Proposes Twin Residential Towers for Chicago's South Loop

14:15 - 29 September, 2015
© Rafael Viñoly Architects
© Rafael Viñoly Architects

Rafael Viñoly Architects has presented plans for a two-tower residential project in Chicago's South Loop neighborhood. The phased Crescent Heights development hopes to be home to Chicago's 6th tallest building, rising 829-feet on the south end of Grant Park. If approved, the project would be completed in three phases; the first realizing a 76-story, 792-unit apartment building on the eastern portion of the site. 

Frank Lloyd Wright's Unity Temple Undergoes Massive Restoration

14:42 - 30 July, 2015
Frank Lloyd Wright's Unity Temple Undergoes Massive Restoration , © Flickr CC User matt72
© Flickr CC User matt72

Frank Lloyd Wrights's Unity Temple is undergoing a much needed $23 million restoration. As the Chicago Tribune reports, the Oak Park temple's integrity was first called into question when a large piece of the ceiling fell above the pulpit in 2008 (thankfully no one was hurt).

The comprehensive overhaul is going beyond restoring the building's to its original beauty; a geothermal heating system and air conditioning will be integrated into the building and site for the first time, allowing the uninterrupted services year-round.

The refurbished temple will reopen in late 2016.