Status Update: Loews and Behold
Jul29

Status Update: Loews and Behold

Streeterville’s newest skyscraper continues sprouting skyward. The Lowes Hotel tower (435 North Park Drive) has grown talk enough that its possible to get a sense of its visual impact on the area. The building’s main shaft is rising to the east of the tower crane installed a few months ago. The remainder of the building will be of lesser stature and contain ballrooms and meeting rooms and back-of-the-house functions for...

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Brooklyn Vintage Shop Pops Up in Chicago
Jul28

Brooklyn Vintage Shop Pops Up in Chicago

  Let’s say you’re designing an interior space and the client wants whimsy. “Get me a ceramic monkey eating grapes!” the client demands. “And a clown lamp! But classy — not cheesy.” Combining vintage and modern elements could be a tall order. You might scour the country, visiting flea markets, estate sales and auctions. It could take months. Or, you could simply contact John Loecke and Jason Oliver Nixon, the brains behind...

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Lake Shore Condo Tower’s Roof Deck Goes from Tragic to Epic
Jul24

Lake Shore Condo Tower’s Roof Deck Goes from Tragic to Epic

Middle age isn’t easy. It’s hard to keep the snow off the roof. The plumbing makes a lot of strange noises. And there are cracks and wrinkles where there never were before. It’s hell on buildings, too. A few years ago, the condominium tower at 3900 North Lake Shore Drive got to the point where it was time to replace the roof again. The roof doubled as a common area where people could gather and appreciate wonderful...

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Jeanne Gang to Pierce the U.C. Campus With a Residential Tower
Jul23

Jeanne Gang to Pierce the U.C. Campus With a Residential Tower

Today the University of Chicago unveiled its plans to build a new cafeteria and residential tower on the northern edge of its Hyde Park campus, replacing the existing Pierce Tower and Dining Commons building (5514 South University Avenue). Jeanne Gang, best known for her iconic Aqua tower in The Loop, designed the new buildings in partnership with Mortenson Construction, which seem to have a retro brutalist theme combined with modern...

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New Screen Lights Up Water Tower Place
Jul23

New Screen Lights Up Water Tower Place

  Let’s face it — the entrances to the Water Tower Place shopping mall (845 North Michigan Avenue) are awkward.  General Growth Properties has done what it can with them, but whether you’re coming in from Michigan Avenue or from the de facto smoking lounge by the theater, navigation is hard. Fortunately, great lengths have been gone to in order to make the experience at least visually stimulating.  And the...

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Separated at Birth: Chicago’s Newest Skyscraper Isn’t All That New
Jul23

Separated at Birth: Chicago’s Newest Skyscraper Isn’t All That New

  We knew there was something familiar about 150 North Riverside. When the design of the new skyscraper proposed to balance between the Amtrak tracks along the Chicago River just north of the Boeing Headquarters was unveiled last week, it seemed very familiar.  It reminded us of Qube… but not really. Or maybe the Rainier Tower… but not on top.  Nothing was quite a good enough match.  Until now. Call it...

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Pan Finds a New Home – Construction Underway on Greektown’s Newest Skyscraper
Jul22

Pan Finds a New Home – Construction Underway on Greektown’s Newest Skyscraper

  Three days ago, the City of Chicago issued building permits, and site prep is underway, for the latest residential tower to buffer Greektown from the Kennedy Expressway.  Arkadia will rise 33 stories at 765 West Adams Street. The building’s tower was originally oriented east-west in order to preserve views of downtown Chicago for people in Greektown and West Town, while the podium reflected noise from I-90/94 below.  But...

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Status Update: C is for Crane
Jul22

Status Update: C is for Crane

The Ballet of Improbable Engineering has wrapped up at the future site of GEMS Academy Lakeshore East Phase I (350 East South Water Street).  For the last month, an unlikely number of burly, yellow machines have pirouetted around the very tiny plot of land where this school will soon sprout, drilling holes, caging rebar, pouring concrete, and generally doing all of the things necessary to build enough underground caissons to support a...

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[Interactive] Old Post Office Plan Approved with 100-Story Tower, But 170-Story Skyscraper Will Wait
Jul21

[Interactive] Old Post Office Plan Approved with 100-Story Tower, But 170-Story Skyscraper Will Wait

Fantastic news for people tired of seeing that massive dead post office sulking over the Eisenhower Expressway in the West Loop: The plan to turn it into an enormous residential, retail, and office complex has cleared its final major hurdle. The building was abandoned in 1996, and every few years someone seems to come along with a plan for turning it into something or other, but to date none have worked out.  This latest one is the...

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A Look at a Landmark Skyscraper’s Leading-Edge Past, and Luxurious Future
Jul20

A Look at a Landmark Skyscraper’s Leading-Edge Past, and Luxurious Future

With the recent opening of the Langham, Chicago hotel inside 330 North Wabash Avenue, there’s been a lot of focus on Mies van der Rohe’s 1971 skyscraper. Usually mentioned only briefly on architecture tours, this elegant structure doesn’t always receive the attention it deserves. Perhaps because it is often overshadowed by the popular Marina City “corncobs,” and more recently by the assertive Trump Tower....

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