When Renovating in Chicago It Isn’t Always Easy Being Green
Apr08

When Renovating in Chicago It Isn’t Always Easy Being Green

Jay Tennant and his wife Chris own a 1890’s-vintage three-flat in Little Italy in need of massive renovation. They also want to be sensitive to the environment with their project. That’s what brought the Tennants to the American Institute of Architect’s “Working With A Green Architect” session over the weekend at the Chicago Center For Green Technology. “We wanted to learn what makes the most sense in terms of...

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Radioactive Dirt Halts Construction on Residential Tower and Hotel
Nov06

Radioactive Dirt Halts Construction on Residential Tower and Hotel

Construction has stopped on the residential skyscraper and hotel being built at 435 North Park Drive in the Streeterville neighborhood.  It’s another victim of the radioactive legacy of the Lindsay Light Company. Just weeks ago we took pictures of heavy machinery getting the site ready for construction.  But like many construction projects in the Streeterville, Gold Coast, and Loop neighborhoods, extra caution must be taken...

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The Germans Set Up Haus In Daley Plaza
Oct07

The Germans Set Up Haus In Daley Plaza

Editor’s note: Sorry this is late.  It was scheduled to auto-publish two weeks ago, but something went wrong with the system and it didn’t happen.  Das Haus left Chicago on September 30th.  It will be on display in Denver next week, if you happen to be out there.  A passive house has been erected in the center of one of Chicago’s most active plazas.  Das Haus is an energy-efficient structure designed to demonstrate...

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Up On The Housetop – Raising Corn
Sep14

Up On The Housetop – Raising Corn

There’s been a lot of chatter about urban farming in Chicago lately.  From turning brownfields into veg patches to fish farms inside abandoned factories to Mayor Daley’s private garden on the roof of city hall (121 North LaSalle Street).  Now the biggest thing in urban farming to hit Chicago is landing in the little-known North Central neighborhood. Across the street from Lane Tech High School (2501 West Addison Street),...

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Slice of Life: Chicago’s River Scrubbing Boat
Sep12

Slice of Life: Chicago’s River Scrubbing Boat

We’ve seen a lot of different boats plying the Chicago River over the years.  Massive party boats that require the drawbridges to be raised, kayaks, cabin cruisers, sailboats, tugboats aplenty, police boats, fire boats, water department boats, heavily armed Coast Guard zodiacs, the occasional houseboat, and one absolutely immense barge that crawled through at 2am and was so big it could barely fit through the channel beneath the...

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Made in Chicago: Sustainable Furniture from Environmental Disaster
Sep05

Made in Chicago: Sustainable Furniture from Environmental Disaster

It’s been decades since Chicago was considered a global manufacturing hub.  The city’s steel mills are almost gone.  Products invented by Chicago minds actually get built in Asia and Africa.  And it seems the only thing that actually gets “made in Chicago” these days are cupcakes. That trend is changing.  In places like the West Loop, Bridgeport, and Ravenswood there is a quiet renaissance going on: a renaissance in small-scale...

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Work On Chicago’s Newest Lakefront Attraction Could Start Soon
Aug22

Work On Chicago’s Newest Lakefront Attraction Could Start Soon

The spit of land east of Lake Shore Drive, North of the Chicago River, and south of Ogden Slip could be ready to be turned into DuSable Park (401 North Lake Shore Drive) any day now. It’s been a long time since the Chicago Dock and Canal Trust donated that  particular sore thumb of land to the City of Chicago for use as a public park.  So far, there’s little to show for it.  The reason is simple — thorium. The land...

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Video: Turning Marina City Green
Apr25

Video: Turning Marina City Green

The quickest way to turn a marina green is to let the water stagnate.  But it’s not stagnation, it’s progress that has one proposal turning Chicago’s Marina City (300 North State Street) green. Marina City Online tipped us off to the International Algae Competition — a global contest to come up with ways of using the living slime to make our lives better, through things like landscaping and food production....

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Chicago’s Greenest Alley?

A while ago we posted a photo from suburban Lake Forest of an alley between buildings that is converted into a farmer’s market each Summer.  It seems like a great civic and commercial use of an urban space, and an environmentally friendly one, too. Here in the city, the block of Couch Place between North State and North Dearborn Streets may be Chicago’s greenest alley.   It was renovated in 2007, shortly after the...

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Streeterville Skyscraper Stalled by Green Screen
May19

Streeterville Skyscraper Stalled by Green Screen

The residential tower proposed for one of the last open plots of land along Lake Shore Drive in Streeterville has been delayed. 42nd Ward alderman Brendan Reilly had the 45-story project called 500 Lake Shore Drive (actually at 516 North Lake Shore Drive) pulled from the agenda of today’s Chicago Plan Commission meeting because of concerns over how the building’s lower facade looks. The building is a bog standard rectangle...

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