Chicago Neverbuilt — Episode 10: Try, Try Again
Apr30

Chicago Neverbuilt — Episode 10: Try, Try Again

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. It was the 19th-century writer William Edward Hickson who popularized the proverb, “If at first you don’t succeed / Try, try, try again.”  It was the über-creepy Mr. Wint and Mr. Kidd from the film Diamonds Are Forever who ruined the phrase as...

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How Don Draper And “Mad Men” Drew More Attention To Endangered Illinois Buildings
Apr30

How Don Draper And “Mad Men” Drew More Attention To Endangered Illinois Buildings

When a new season of “Mad Men” begins, it often generates popularity of classic cocktails–Old Fashioneds, Manhattans, Tom Collinses. The show also has helped call attention to an endangered but important Chicago architectural style. Mid-century modern buildings are on the 2015 Most Endangered Historic Places in Illinois list, and Landmarks Illinois president Bonnie McDonald credits the AMC hit “Mad Men” for its celebration of style in...

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Theaster Gates to Open Free Public Sculpture Garden in Grand Crossing
Apr27

Theaster Gates to Open Free Public Sculpture Garden in Grand Crossing

Chicago artist, professor, and social activist Theaster Gates is going to open a new sculpture garden on the south side of Chicago. The artist has entered into an agreement with the city of Chicago to lease a piece of city-owned land at 1245 East 72nd Place for the garden, which will be his to use for $1 in perpetuity. As part of the deal, the park must be open to the public free of charge, and it cannot host any political or...

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Capping the Kennedy: An Award-Winning Way to Do It
Apr24

Capping the Kennedy: An Award-Winning Way to Do It

Earlier this month we told you about a competition where architecture students were asked to come up with innovations for the Cap the Kennedy project — a proposal from real estate developer Fifield Companies to deck over the noisy expressway between Jackson Boulevard and Lake Street, replacing its exposed side with parks, restaurants, and developable space. The winning team was from Roosevelt University, which put together a plan...

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Status Update: LondonHouse Spreading Down Wacker
Apr23

Status Update: LondonHouse Spreading Down Wacker

The transformation of the London Guarantee and Accident Building at 360 North Michigan Avenue into the LondonHouse Hotel is well underway.  For months we’ve been teased by scaffolding on its exterior, hinting at the magical demolition going on inside.  Now we can see the new glass tower addition rising to the building’s west. The glass tower, designed by friends-of-the-blog Goettsch Partners, fills the space between the...

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Office to Apartment Conversion Coming to Uptown – For Realsies This Time
Apr23

Office to Apartment Conversion Coming to Uptown – For Realsies This Time

Stop me if you’ve heard this one before.  A real estate development company has bought the former Combined Insurance Company building at 5050 North Broadway  and plans to turn the office building into apartments.  Sound familiar?  That was what we expected back in 2011 when Imperial Realty bought the building.  Now Crain’s Chicago Business reports that Cedar Street has bought the building and plans to revive its...

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CHA Removes Shroud from Cabrini-Green Redevelopment Plans
Apr23

CHA Removes Shroud from Cabrini-Green Redevelopment Plans

For the second time in less than a week, the Chicago Housing Authority held a public meeting to introduce Chicago’s citizenry to its plan to redevelop roughly 65 acres of the area that was formerly the Cabrini-Green housing projects. Though short on specifics,  the meeting drew enough interest to to fill a gym at the Seward Park Fieldhouse, and spark discussion about what is sure to become a passionate topic in the Cabrini Green...

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At Long Last, Logan Square Will Get its Towers After All
Apr22

At Long Last, Logan Square Will Get its Towers After All

The protracted and angry ballet over the Logan Square Dual Towers is finally over, with the Chicago Plan Commission giving its stamp of approval to the project at 2255 North Milwaukee Avenue. As it stands now, the development by Rob Buono, designed by Wheeler Kearns Architects, will consist of two “towers,” one 11 stories tall and one 12 stories tall,  with a maximum of 220 residences.  They are joined at the base by a...

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Coming Soon to Cabrini Green: Bees on the Roof!  Bees on the Roof!
Apr22

Coming Soon to Cabrini Green: Bees on the Roof! Bees on the Roof!

  The whole “green building” movement has become something of an ecological arms race over the last decade.  Your building has a green roof?  Well, my building harvests rainwater for the toilets.  Your building channels natural light to cut down on electricity use?  Well, my building cries unicorn tears to wash the windows!  It’s all become farcical, especially since architects and engineers are usually the...

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“Ambicioso” Plan Unveiled for Landmark Downtown Museum Complex
Apr21

“Ambicioso” Plan Unveiled for Landmark Downtown Museum Complex

  It seems like every architecture firm in Chicago has invoked Daniel Burnham’s signature words at one time or another: Make no little plans; they have no magic to stir men’s blood At this point it’s become cliché, because the quote is always trotted out when a design differs from the accepted norm to justify the architect’s imagination, saying by proxy, “I know it looks wacky, but Uncle Dan says...

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