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New Views into an Unheralded Element of Mies

Architectural Record Ι June 25, 2018  A new exhibit at the Elmhurst Art Museum in Illinois explores a little-studied corner of Mies van der Rohe’s career: his brief fascination with pre-fabrication.  The show, curated by Columbia University’s Barry Bergdoll, is physically and thematically anchored by Mies’ McCormick House, which was built in 1952 as a prototype for mass-produced modular homes. Located on the museum’s
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The Brilliant Artist That Chicago, and the World, Nearly Forgot

The Atlantic’s CityLab Ι June 18, 2018  Edgar Miller was a virtuoso in any medium he chose: painting, sculpture, stained glass, architecture, interior design, printmaking, metalwork, cutlery, graphic design. He put those prodigious skills toward building a creative community on Chicago’s near-north side in the 1920s and beyond. Miller’s handful of architecture projects (a series of live-work lofts) stretched th
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Chicago Exhibit Spotlights Charlotte Perriand’s Alpine Ski Resort

Metropolis Magazine Ι May 23, 2018  The most impressive item depicted at Matthew Rachman’s exhibit of Charlotte Perriand–designed furniture is conspicuously absent from his Chicago gallery—it was too big to fit. The object in question, a gleaming red and white prefab bathroom produced for the designer’s Les Arcs ski resort in the French Alps, was an inch too big to slide inside the Ukrainian Village space, even with
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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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Architect Georgia Louise Harris Brown Pioneered Modernism Across Two Continents

Autodesk’s Redshift Ι February 6, 2018  Pioneering African-American architect Georgia Louise Harris Brown had a knack for seeking out the most fertile architecture scenes in the world during her long career. She practiced in Chicago during Mies van der Rohe’s prime and, from there, moved to Brazil, where a singular modernist language was being created for Brasilia, the most ambitious planned capital of the 20th
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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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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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