2017 Ragdale Ring Winners Announced
Mar28

2017 Ragdale Ring Winners Announced

For more than a century, Chicago architects have had a love affair with the North Shore’s idyllic bedroom communities.  For renowned arts and crafts architect Howard Van Doren Shaw, his private Idaho was Lake Forest, and the estate he built there named Ragdale. These days the estate operates as a retreat for 150 creative types selected yearly to spend time away from their regular lives to get their creative juices flowing.  In...

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bKL’s Exhibit On Superior Gets its First Art
Dec15

bKL’s Exhibit On Superior Gets its First Art

When you call a skyscraper “Exhibit,” it’s natural to expect the building to come with some nice art.  And that’s exactly what happened at bKL’s Exhibit on Superior (165 West Superior Street) this snowy week. When plans for Exhibit (then called 720 LaSalle) were unveiled by Magellan Development, neighbors were excited about the public parklet on the north side of the property.  That space now has a focal...

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More Green Sought To Light Up More Wabash
Nov30

More Green Sought To Light Up More Wabash

So, did you get to see the demo installation of The Wabash Lights yet? If not, here’s a refresher course: The Wabash Lights is an interactive art display hanging below the L tracks that run down Wabash Avenue in downtown Chicago.  The idea is that 600  programmable colored light tubes will illuminate the area darkened by the trains, serve as public art, and also a bit of entertainment.  It’s envisioned that the lights will...

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Chicago Artist Does an Architecture and Video Game Mashup
Aug31

Chicago Artist Does an Architecture and Video Game Mashup

We don’t play a lot of video games here at the Chicago Architecture Blog, and when we do it’s generally on a funky-smelling Atari 2600 hooked up to a 65-inch display just to prove we can still kick ass at Asteroids. But a new game soon to come from Chicago artist William Chyr might make us actually plonk for a PlayBox 9 or whatever the kids are mashing buttons on these days. It’s called Manifold Garden, and throws...

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A Tour of Theaster Gates’ One-Man Urban Renewal
May05

A Tour of Theaster Gates’ One-Man Urban Renewal

Over the years we’ve occasionally covered Theaster Gates, the Chicago change agent and international art star who is persistently turning abandoned South Side buildings into community assets like libraries and low-income housing.  The PBS television show Newshour recently interviewed Mr. Gates, and toured some of the buildings he’s injected with new life. It’s a wonderful piece that gives you hope for the future of...

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A Tour of Glencoe’s New Writers Theatre
Feb16

A Tour of Glencoe’s New Writers Theatre

This past Friday, the Writers Theatre up in Glencoe opened its new $28 million theater building.  The Studio Gang-designed building is a modern marvel that somehow fits in OK with the staid and skeptical landscape of this suburban Chicagoland town.  At 36,000 square feet, it has enough room for two performance spaces, a public gathering space, a gallery, and rehearsal rooms. The building is designed to have an inner glow at night to...

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They Say The Neon Lights Are Bright, On Waaaaabash
Feb04

They Say The Neon Lights Are Bright, On Waaaaabash

It was a big night for Jack Newell and Seth Unger, the driving forces behind The Wabash Lights, a public art installation that made its beta-test debut beneath the Wabash L tracks Thursday evening. And looking at them gave us anything but the blues. Though, they *are* blue. Sometimes. The Wabash Lights project gained notoriety in June of last year, when Newell and Unger launched a Kickstarter campaign to procure the funding needed to...

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Chicago’s Least Loved Buildings Get Their Own Art Show
Nov16

Chicago’s Least Loved Buildings Get Their Own Art Show

The shiny, new, spectacular bits of Chicago’s urban landscape have long held esteemed places in museums and art galleries around the world.  Now Chicago’s least-loved buildings are getting some attention. An exhibit called Shuttered opened over the weekend featuring the work of local artist Jennifer Cronin.  It focuses on Chicago’s neglected, abandoned, and foreclosed homes.  If we were art critics, we’d...

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Chicago Buildings Need Help Getting to London
Nov09

Chicago Buildings Need Help Getting to London

Remember five months ago we told you about Rocco Buttliere, the full-time IIT student and part-time brick jockey who is recreating downtown Chicago’s buildings brick-by-brick out of little plastic LEGO blocks? Since then, Mr. Buttliere has exhibited his brickwork at a local LEGO convention and caught the attention of the organizers of the global BRICK event being held in London next month.  They invited him to exhibit at their...

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Artist Nick Fury Focuses Latest Effort On Buildings That Survived The Great Fire
Oct22

Artist Nick Fury Focuses Latest Effort On Buildings That Survived The Great Fire

When we last caught up with local artist Nick Fury, he was displaying his work in a most unlikely venue — the CTA’s Ashland elevated train platform. Or maybe it was exactly the perfect spot for his art, since transit buses and trains have long been his favorite subject. Now, Fury has taken on a new subject: buildings. Specifically, those structures that survived the Great Fire 144 years ago. Fury’s artwork is on display on the...

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