Three Chicago Architects Reflect on The Thompson Center
Jun02

Three Chicago Architects Reflect on The Thompson Center

When architects get together in their buttery leather chairs and tweed jackets, sitting in front of a roaring fireplace, stuffing pipes, drinking cognac, and doing other fictional things, one of the common topics of conversation is the James R. Thompson Center.  It’s become something of a parlor game to try to come up with ways — practical and impractical — of dealing with the former state office building that seems all but...

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Deconstructionist Thompson Center A Step Closer to Being Deconstructed
Jun01

Deconstructionist Thompson Center A Step Closer to Being Deconstructed

Inside the Thompson Center rotunda. (File) Chicago City Council has approved an ordinance that will help whomever buys the James R. Thompson Center to turn it into rubble. The ordinance is short.  Just three sentences.  But it will have a massive impact on downtown Chicago.  If you’d like to read it, here it is: BE IT ORDAINED BY THE CITY COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF CHICAGO: SECTION 1. Title 17 of the Municipal Code....

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After a Pandemic Pause, Chicago Architecture Center Fully Reopens
Jun01

After a Pandemic Pause, Chicago Architecture Center Fully Reopens

The start of Chicago’s summer tourist season was a far cry from the way it was back in the Before Times.  What passed for “bustling” this year would have been considered “ghost town” in years past.  But with only half of Illinoisans properly jabbed, perhaps it’s good that we’re not all breathing each other’s air just yet.  Those who did go out and do the tourist thing...

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You Are Now Free to Fly Over Navy Pier
May19

You Are Now Free to Fly Over Navy Pier

The days of old people being bodychecked into traffic by yoga moms with double-wide strollers are in the past. At least on North Lake Shore Drive. The Navy Pier Flyover is officially open for all of your walking, jogging, running, biking, and general sweating needs. The Navy Pier Flyover in May, 2020. (Via the Office of Alderman Brendan Reilly.) Until now, getting from Ohio Street Beach to DuSable Harbor involved navigating a dark,...

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Loop Skyscraper Stalled, Blames COVID
May02

Loop Skyscraper Stalled, Blames COVID

If you’re a theoretical physicist, you’re probably familiar with the phrase “nature abhors a vacuum.” Chicago real estate developers have a similar adage: “City Hall abhors a vacant Loop lot.” That’s why when a real estate developer gets approval to put up a skyscraper in Chicago, it generally has six years to start moving dirt, or the city will force it back to square one. August, 2015...

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Four Loop High-Rise Proposals Debut This Week
May02

Four Loop High-Rise Proposals Debut This Week

Four concepts for a new high rise building across the street from the Harold Washington Library will be presented to the public this week. Fourth Ward Alderman Sophia King is hosting an online community meeting to get to know the plans and get input from people just like you. The location of this high-rise will be the current city-owned parking garage at 331 South Plymouth Court. Four groups have entered a competition to design a...

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Loop Skyscraper Design Tweaked
Mar14

Loop Skyscraper Design Tweaked

You know the old saw about the artist who kept sneaking into the museum at night to keep working on his painting years after it had been on display to the public?  Architecture can be like that, too. March 2019 rendering of 300 North Michigan Avenue The people behind the new residential skyscraper at 300 North Michigan Avenue have received approval from the City of Chicago to tweak the design of the 47-story building, already...

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Pinstripes Prevail on Lakeshore East Skyscrapers
Mar10

Pinstripes Prevail on Lakeshore East Skyscrapers

We’re happy to admit when we’re wrong. Or as our seventh-grade teacher used to say, “You pulled a boner.” She must have really been something in the 1940’s. Earlier this week we stated that pinstripes are out of fashion, both in clothing and in Loop skyscrapers. Today, we get around to reading the Sunday New York Times, and in its smudgy pages are full-page ads for both Armani and Ralph Lauren pinstripe...

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New Chicago Skyscrapers Look Good in Pinstripes
Mar08

New Chicago Skyscrapers Look Good in Pinstripes

There was a time when people got dressed up to go into The Loop.  But ever since it somehow became OK to wear sweatpants in The Walnut Room, the only place you’ll see a fedora is on a Metra train headed to the north suburbs. Cirrus and Cascade under construction in March, 2021. (Courtesy of Loop Spy C.) That’s why it’s so delightful to see Cirrus and Cascade, the newest skyscrapers going up at Lakeshore East,...

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As Completion Approaches, Loop Residential Skyscraper Starts Leasing
Feb20

As Completion Approaches, Loop Residential Skyscraper Starts Leasing

The Loop’s newest residential tower is now leasing apartments.  Parkline Chicago sits at the corner of Randolph and Wabash, so close to public transit that you can see the sparks fly from the Brown Line trains. February, 2021 image of Parkline (Courtesy of Moceri + Roszak) Although construction isn’t due to wrap up until this spring, leasing has already begun for its 190 apartments.  The building will also have 24...

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