Smoking Hot Model: 645 West Madison
Dec31

Smoking Hot Model: 645 West Madison

It’s been a while since we’ve featured a Smoking Hot Model on the blog, so here’s one that’s so hot it’s red. This is bKL Architecture’s model for 645 West Madison Street, the 20-story, 268-foot-tall office building proposed to slide in between Presidential Towers and the Kennedy Expressway.  Above you can see the building in detail.  Below you can see it in its West Loop context.   Unfortunately,...

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Catching up with bKL: 2014 Edition
Dec30

Catching up with bKL: 2014 Edition

  It’s hard to believe another year has passed, and it’s time once again to sit down with friends-of-the-blog bKL Architecture to find out how the firm is doing and what makes it tick these days. bKL burst onto the scene a few years ago with its Coast tower at Lakeshore East, and has quickly followed that skyscraper up with a number of others in downtown Chicago.  We asked bKL Principal Thomas Kerwin how things are...

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A Look Back at 2014 With SCB
Dec29

A Look Back at 2014 With SCB

  It’s traditional for media outlets to spend the week between Christmas and New Year’s Eve looking back at the year not-quite-passed to lament society’s failures and trumpet our triumphs.  Obituary roundups, Best Ofs, and Year in Reviews fill the airwaves as newsroom middle managers take a week off and turn the news machine over to the interns, the under-appreciated, and those who don’t yet know...

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Lagunitas Chicago TapRoom Celebrates The Holiday With Four Shiny New Tanks
Dec29

Lagunitas Chicago TapRoom Celebrates The Holiday With Four Shiny New Tanks

Santa Claus might just be a craft beer aficionado. That could explain the arrival last week of four shiny new stainless steel tanks at Lagunitas Chicago TapRoom. The massive Pilsen brewery at 1843 South Washtenaw welcomed the German-made tanks with open arms. It’s part of the brewery’s master plan to ramp up production and take advantage of the growing popularity of craft beer. Current production capacity for Lagunitas Chicago is...

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Chicago Neverbuilt: Episode 3 — There Goes the Sun
Dec23

Chicago Neverbuilt: Episode 3 — There Goes the Sun

Our Chicago Neverbuilt series continues to celebrate the work of great architects that, for one reason or another, failed to make the transition from imagination to reality. The Sunbelt Tower (460 North Columbus Drive) comes from friends-of-the-blog Goettsch Partners, and is featured in their monograph.  It was slated to go in the slot just north of the NBC Tower (454 North Columbus Drive).  Sadly, today it remains a surface parking...

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New Elementary School Coming to West Lawn
Dec23

New Elementary School Coming to West Lawn

Chicago’s West Lawn neighborhood is going to get a new elementary school.  The as-yet-unnamed school is going by the moniker “Southwest Area School” for now. Chicago Architecture Blog managing editor Mary Chmielewicz was there when the city’s Plan Commission approved the proposal from the city’s Public Building Commission. The school will go up on the northern half of a block bounded by West 61st...

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AIA Chicago’s Young Architect Of The Year Focuses Her Efforts On Building Communities
Dec22

AIA Chicago’s Young Architect Of The Year Focuses Her Efforts On Building Communities

Nootan Bharani quite possibly found her first spark of creativity growing up in Downer’s Grove. She made things out of a nontraditional building material: pompom balls. “I cut them all off of my mother’s and sister’s socks,” she said. She then used the pompoms to add flare to dollhouse furniture. Fast forward to 2014 and Bharani’s career as an architect has taken an equally nontraditional course. She spent the first dozen years of her...

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Another Residential Tower Flowing Into River North
Dec22

Another Residential Tower Flowing Into River North

River North is going to get another new residential building. The Chicago Plan Commission greenlit 400 West Huron Street late last week.  Chicago Architecture Blog managing editor Mary Chmielewicz was there when the vote was taken, and if you follow our Twitter or Facebook feeds, then you got the alert instantly. 400 West Huron will be a 15-story building with 46 residences, designed by Berkelhamer Architects for developer Smithfield...

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Reader Question: What’s the Deal With the Stranded Buildings on North Clark?
Dec22

Reader Question: What’s the Deal With the Stranded Buildings on North Clark?

Several times a week we get e-mail from readers asking questions about Chicago’s built environment.  A lot of it is elementary school children who want us to do their homework for them. (Hint: 99% of the world’s knowledge is not on the internet. Go find a freaking library!) And most of the rest of it is pretty easy to look up in our archives or current project database. But a question came in a couple of weeks ago from...

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Virgin Hotel Chicago Officially a Thing
Dec22

Virgin Hotel Chicago Officially a Thing

Congratulations to the Virgin Hotel Chicago, for actually starting to exist. For more than two years now, we’ve chronicled the transformation of the former Dearborn Bank Building at 203 North Wabash Avenue into the world’s first Virgin Hotel.  The first reservations are being taken for January 15th, 2015, though we’ve been told that the hotel will be open in December, so perhaps it’s already welcoming visitors?...

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