Power, violence, and the Chicago Architecture Biennial

Architecture biennials are created to take the pulse of the profession, to display what architects are making, thinking about, and valuing. If a pulse is what we were looking for, I would have put the Chicago Architecture Biennial in an ambulance years ago. Past editions were missing the critical, complicated histories of segregation and redlining; the grand, hopeful construction and spectacular destruction of large-scale public housing were glossed over; the seemingly unfixable disrepair that b

Chicago Botanic Garden's New Way for Kids to Engage With Nature

At the new Chicago Botanic Garden (CBG) Regenstein Learning Campus, the landscape encourages children’s sensory discovery of the natural world—minus the gaudiness of plastic playgrounds or an overprescription of experiences. In lieu of sandboxes and jungle gyms, Mikyoung Kim Design elegantly weaves a narrative of outdoor exploration that entices kids to encounter nature through imaginative free play, instilling body confidence. The space, executed by local landscape architects Jacobs/Ryan Associ

The Beach is the interactive exhibit Navy Pier deserves

What even is Navy Pier? For many Chicagoans it's the epitome of tourist hell; like San Francisco's Pier 39 but with fewer bread bowls and more mold issues, the carnivalesque combo children's museum-Shakespeare Theater-fun house-yacht dock-pirate ship confusion has always been more a "something else that's not for us." Navy Pier saw this as a problem and, starting in 2016, undertook a $278 million dollar renovation of the lakeshore attraction, looking to improve its repellant reputation among Chi

7 small projects that had a big impact in 2018

Chicago was full of megadevelopments this year. It’s true that Lincoln Yards, The 78, and even Amazon got a huge chunk of the spotlight in 2018. However, there are plenty of small projects leaving a meaningful impact for neighborhoods and their residents. We thought it would be nice to honor the smaller-scale projects. So after reaching out to Chicago notables and experts, here are seven favorites in that category. “What the city needs are more public spaces. And I’m not talking about the priva

A Modern Riverside Build Serves As A Serene Oasis

uilding a home in an urban area rarely offers opportunities for seclusion. But for one couple looking for an escape from the bustle of Fort Lauderdale, Florida’s F.A.T. Village arts neighborhood, architect Max Strang was able to design just that: a modern and comfortable sanctuary that celebrates its private site. Homeowners Elliot and Ileen Gross sought solitude and natural beauty when they purchased the original 100-year-old house on the property located at the end of a quiet street on the Ne

Textures And Ample Light Define A Refined North Shore Home

fter many years in Lincoln Park, Illinois, a family of four decided it was time for more space in a move to the North Shore. Upon finding the perfect property to start anew, they sought the expertise of designer Jenna Wedemeyer, architect Mandy Brown, builder John Dragic and landscape architect Dave Heller. When the clients first approached Wedemeyer, they knew exactly what they didn’t want. “I showed her decor of our Chicago home and pointed out what I didn’t like,” the wife recalls. The discus

These Were Chicago’s Best New Buildings/Developments of 2017

In a city known for its contributions to architecture and design, 2017 was no exception. And, if the dozens of tower cranes still seen throughout the city’s skyline this winter are a sign of anything, there’s plenty more to come—including a number of high-rise projects from star architects. But which of this year’s new buildings were the very best? We enlisted local experts to make their picks. Panelists include AIA Chicago Communications Director and editor of Chicago Architect magazine (and

Q&A: Yesomi Umolu, Artistic Director of the 2019 Chicago Architecture Biennial

Yesomi Umolu, exhibitions curator at the Logan Center for the Arts at the University of Chicago, was recently named artistic director of the 2019 Chicago Architecture Biennial. Her own history is as global at the biennial itself: born in Lagos, Nigeria, raised in London, with a deep resume that incorporates curatorial and educational experiences at museums and galleries all over the United States and Great Britain. She’s hit the ground running on the CAB, planning for the third CAB that promises

The Key to Virgil Abloh’s Cool? Architecture.

At times, it seems like everything fashion designer Virgil Abloh touches turns to cool. Not just contemporarily en vogue, but a cool that channels decades of historic cools. Take the Rockford native’s 2017 collaboration with Nike, “Ten Icons Reconstructed”: a line of vintage sneaker designs in clean white, embellished with red zip-ties and self-referential lettering—"shoelaces,” “air," "vulcanized,” “foam.”
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