It’s Chicago Architects Versus Kids in a Battle of LEGOs
Jul18

It’s Chicago Architects Versus Kids in a Battle of LEGOs

There’s a 15-year-old kid in Iowa City named Rasmus who’s better equipped to design buildings than I am. It’s slightly unnerving, but I’m OK with it. As Dirty Harry said, “A man’s got to know his limitations.” Designing a building, evidently, is not my forte. Last night, I joined a handful of architects and some lay folks to try our hand designing stuff at the Chicago Architecture Foundation’s ArcelorMittal Design Studio (224 South...

Read More
Balthazar Korab Architecture Photography Now on Display in Chicago
Jul14

Balthazar Korab Architecture Photography Now on Display in Chicago

Stunning black and white photographs of 20th-century cityscapes comprise the new photography exhibit Inflected Modernism: The Architecture Photography of Balthazar Korab running now through the end of this week at the Cliff Dwellers Club high above Michigan Avenue. Korab (1926-2013) was one of the most prolific and celebrated photographers of architecture practicing during the second half of the last century. Chicago architect Trish...

Read More
Great Neighborhood Walks: Motor Row, Where Anything Can Happen
Jul09

Great Neighborhood Walks: Motor Row, Where Anything Can Happen

The plan was to photograph some grand old buildings. Then things got a little weird. I was in the company of a dozen fellow members of the Chicago Street Photography Group. Our route was one of the city’s great neighborhood walks—Motor Row. We spotted the old Hudson showroom down at 2222 South Michigan Avenue. It was frozen in time, the checkerboard-tiled floor untouched for decades. One by one, we crouched on the grungy sidewalk to...

Read More
200 North Michigan: The Incredible Shrinking Skyscraper
Jul02

200 North Michigan: The Incredible Shrinking Skyscraper

If you’ve been saving your pennies so that you can live on the 44th floor of the shiny new residential tower going up at 200 North Michigan Avenue… It may be time to re-think that plan. That’s because the 44th floor no longer exists.  Nor does the 43rd or the 42nd.  In fact, the entire skyscraper has been downsized about 9% from 537 feet tall to 488 feet tall. According to papers filed with the city by the developer,...

Read More
A Nod to Train Stations Past and Bocce Courts of the Future
Jun18

A Nod to Train Stations Past and Bocce Courts of the Future

  Construction continues on the new Grant Park Skate Park, just south of the 11th Street pedestrian bridge over the Metra Electric District railroad tracks. For the last 11 months, we’ve covered the plans for transforming this three-acre plot of land from an unused grassy embankment into a recreational space. The skating portion is actually 20 feet below the Michigan Avenue grade, with paths and ramps leading down to the grinding...

Read More
200 North Michigan Now A Negative Building
Jun05

200 North Michigan Now A Negative Building

As we eagerly await the construction of downtown Chicago’s newest residential skyscraper, we patiently watch as 200 North Michigan disappears into the ground. Loop Spy Daniel sent in an updated photograph of the demolition progress, and he says workers have gotten below street level. Of course, in this part of Chicago what is “street level” is subject to interpretation.  Many of the streets in this area are two, and...

Read More
South Loop May Get Another New Hotel Tower, With or Without McPier
May30

South Loop May Get Another New Hotel Tower, With or Without McPier

Real estate development is a rather messy business. Not on par with sausage making, but certainly up there with cleaning out the cat’s litter box. Add in a bunch of politicians, some NIMBY groups, a shadowy quango, and the next thing you know, you’re where we are now: The McCormick Place Expansion Plan. We’ve followed this project for the last year or so. The Metropolitan Pier and Convention Authority, which runs...

Read More
Deconstructing Chicago: 200 North Michigan Makes Way For 200 North Michigan
May21

Deconstructing Chicago: 200 North Michigan Makes Way For 200 North Michigan

The six-story office and retail building at 200 North Michigan Avenue continues to lose stature as demolition crews tear it apart, brick from slab. This photo from Loop Spy Daniel shows the building down to about two floors now. You may remember it as home to a Starbucks, a luggage store, a jewelry store, and various ticky-tacky tourist shops. Next up for the space is a 42-story residential tower designed by friends-of-the-blog, bKL...

Read More
Frank Gehry to Design Chicago Symphony Orchestra Stage
May18

Frank Gehry to Design Chicago Symphony Orchestra Stage

World-renowned architect Frank Gehry will create the stage design for two Chicago Symphony Orchestra concerts focusing on the life and music of Pierre Boulez. The performances, titled “Boulez at 90: Provisionally Definitive,” will take place on November 14th and 16th as part of the CSO’s “Beyond the Score” series, according to a report by Classicalite. The series bridges live and multimedia elements to showcase the origin and history...

Read More
Grant Park Skate Park Grinding Ahead [updated]
May16

Grant Park Skate Park Grinding Ahead [updated]

The Chicago Plan Commission has approved the construction of a new skate park complex at the south end of Grant Park (using the address 300 East 11th Street). The project initially included features such as a small amphitheater and other unusual features.  But as the plan evolved, it was scaled back and is now a more traditional skate park. Bob O’Neil of the Grant Park Conservancy sent us these thoughts on the project: This has...

Read More