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Architecture

Blue Light Special: The Chicago-Area High School in an Old Kmart

CityLab Ι May 8, 2017 Belvidere Road is an unremarkable stretch of suburbia in Waukegan, Ill., north of Chicago, lined with highway-sign staples: gas stations, car washes, fast-food joints, and a low-rent motel. It was only after a previous deal to move his private high school into a converted office building fell through that Preston Kendall came up with the idea to slide into the abandoned Kmart here. Kendall saw t
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The Invasive Species Exhibit Wriggles Into the Art World Using Augmented Reality

Redshift Ι April 12, 2018 Site-specific and speculating on a possible future, surreally biomorphic and also digital, artist Felice Grodin’s Terrafish installation is proudly in-betwixt and in-between. This digital model, part of the Invasive Species exhibit at the Pérez Art Museum Miami (PAMM), doesn’t exist in real space: It uses augmented reality (AR) as a new medium at the fore of art and architecture. The show of
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Interview with Yesomi Umolu

Architectural Record Ι March 19, 2018 Yesomi Umolu is interested in applying her multi-disciplinary expertise (with stops in architecture school, practice, and the elite contemporary art curatorial class) and globe-trotting personal and professional background to a biennial that speaks to an equally wide range of public audiences. “The biennial is for and of the city of Chicago, as well as being a big international p
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Carol Ross Barney is Chicago’s New Daniel Burnham

Metropolis Magazine Ι January 2018 As a lifelong Chicagoan, Carol Ross Barney has seen the Chicago River transition from an effluent-filled cargo highway to a vibrant recreational spot, one where her grandsons go fishing. “They can throw their line in and pull out two- to three-inch fish immediately,” she says. It has even become a habitat for otters. As for people, the river has become an alternative commuting path:
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At this Montreal school, big sounds come in small packages

Doggerel Ι November 14, 2017  The design for La Musique Aux Enfants began with one key question: “How can we make a basement sound more like a concert hall?” said Willem Boning, an acoustic consultant with Arup. The brainchild of Orchestre Symphonique de Montréal director Kent Nagano, the Musique Aux Enfants program is a collaborative initiative by the orchestra, the Université de Montréal, and the Commission scolair
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Photo by Lee Bey.

Architecture Beyond the A-List

October 12, 2017 Ι CityLab Away from the main exhibit of the Chicago Architecture Biennial—the country’s biggest architecture festival, on show through January—there are a half-dozen smaller “anchor” shows, hosted by neighborhood arts organizations far from downtown. These reveal a different side to Chicago’s architectural legacy, famed for the White City of 1893, Frank Lloyd Wright, and the rational Modernism of Mie
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Frank Lloyd Wright Was a Proto-Algorithmic Architect

Metropolis Ι Oct. 12, 2017 Frank Lloyd Wright’s field of influence is so wide, it’s hard to tell where it starts and ends. As America’s foremost architect, he helped popularize design concepts that are held up as evidence of progressive values and progressive architecture. His notion of building with natural landscapes takes on new meaning in the era of low-carbon energy efficiency. His penchant for incorporating loc
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Is Beige the New Black in Architecture?

CityLab Ι Sept. 22, 2017 One of the most emotionally resonant exhibits in the 2017 Chicago Architecture Biennial is a quiet one: a set of tan-glazed tile arches in a hallway. The arches form a colonnade of sorts, which better defines a space that’s too wide for a hallway but too narrow for a gallery. For its designers Paul Andersen and Paul Preissner, and for me, it’s a powerful callback to childhood. The smooth tile
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UIC’s Instagrammable Moment

Architect Magazine Ι Aug. 31, 2017  The piñatas that hang over a wide, terraced stairwell are distinctly biomorphic but don’t resemble any earthly species of fauna. There are bulbous limbs and neon colors, but these David Cronenbergian monstrosities are rendered in papier-maché. Antonio Torres, the architecture professor whose studio created them, says the project was about “articulating bellies and using appendages
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Here Comes Chicago’s Architecture Bonanza

CityLab Ι June 29, 2017 In 2015, Chicago launched the largest contemporary architecture event in North America—the Chicago Architecture Biennial. Staged at multiple sites around the city (including the lakefront) and drawing more than half a million visitors over three months, it was a wide shotgun blast in terms of content, with techno-psychedelic body-horror sketches, demonstrations of material fabrication, and soc
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