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The Story of the Great Lakes in 8 Maps

December 11, 2017 Ι CityLab  Stretching across eight states and two Canadian provinces, the Great Lakes region contains the world’s largest freshwater system and is likely the greatest single surface aggregation of rare resources on the planet. If it was a standalone country, its economy would be the fourth largest in the world. Yet its natural resources and vibrant urbanity are seldom studied as a unified zone, and
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Does Apple’s New Chicago Store Have Something to Say About the Future of Cities?

Nov. 17, 2017 Ι Metropolis  The steel and carbon fiber roof of Chicago’s new Apple store is a few feet thick at its center, tapering down to inches at its edge. Starship metallic gray and rectangular, it resembles a closed MacBook laptop, which you can buy inside. The glass corners of the building, splendidly curved, call to mind the contours of an iPhone. In the parlance of Robert Venturi, it’s a “duck,” that is, a
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Marshall Brown is Putting the Pieces Together

November 2017 Ι Architect Magazine  The studio of Marshall Brown is located on the South Side of Chicago in the Overton Hygienic Building, built in 1922. One of Chicago’s many early-20th-century brick and terra-cotta modest masterpieces, it has survived the tides of development and disinvestment that have washed over this part of the city. It was a hub for African-American businesses in one of the pre–Civil Rights er
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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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From Filth to Fun: Big Designs for the Chicago River

CityLab Ι Sept. 29. 2017 Until its direction was reversed in 1900, the Chicago River was such a receptacle for effluent and filth that it poisoned Chicagoans’ beloved Lake Michigan (from which they drew their drinking water). Then it was channelized and entombed in concrete. The river has long been the city’s forgotten waterfront. But that’s steadily changing, as the last decade has seen sections of the Chicago River
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Office Visit: Craighton Berman

Doggerel Ι June 29, 2017  For Microsoft, illustrator and industrial designer Craighton Berman created a primer on artificial intelligence. Over a few dozen pages, his breezy little booklet used talking dogs and clunky retro-robots to explain the basics of a technology that’s fueled sci-fi dystopias and utopian TED talks alike. It was a zine in the humble indie bookstore tradition, but it premiered at the World Econom
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The Final Hill

Landscape Architecture Magazine Ι October 2017  The first thing you notice is all the cars. The are a strange landscape divided by Jersey barriers and concrete retaining walls that carve up the site’s topography. Endless rows of cars are parked along its curving streets and in front of 62 three- and four-story barracks-style buildings that plod down the steep hill. It’s the first indication that this isolated, often
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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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Chicago Works: Amanda Williams at the Museum of Contemporary Art

Architectural Record Ι July 21, 2017  Color(ed) Theory, a series of photographs of abandoned houses on Chicago’s South Side painted bright colors, was one of the Chicago Architecture Biennial’s most persistent viral images. Chicago Works: Amanda Williams—its sequel of sorts—constitutes a passing of the torch. The show, which opened this week at the Museum of Contemporary Art (MCA) in Chicago, represents architect and
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