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Zach Mortice

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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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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Hurricane-Proof Construction Methods Can Prevent the Destruction of Communities

Redshift Ι Nov. 9, 2017 The four hurricanes that slammed into heavily populated areas from the Caribbean to Texas this summer are inching toward a half-trillion-dollar price tag in damages—to say nothing of the work and wages missed by shutting down entire cities. Buildings are the most visible marker of a place’s resilience after a disaster strikes. Surveying the catastrophic damage forces a difficult question: How
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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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Experimental City: The Sci-Fi Utopia That Never Was

Oct. 17, 2017 Ι CityLab To forestall the continuing growth of cities as “cancerous organisms,” the Minnesota Experimental City (MXC) was conceived in the mid-1960s by epochal technologist Athelstan Spilhaus. A modular settlement of 250,000 people or more, the city was to be powered by clean energy and run on public transit. Experimental City would be a tabula rasa—a place to begin anew, free from the constraints and
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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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Machine Learning Eases Construction Project Management—and Prevents Catastrophes

Redshift Ι Oct. 2, 2017  In the fragmented building industry, “every single building is a prototype,” says Dustin Hartsuiker, manager of Technology Solutions for the California-based Swinerton Builders. Devoid of standardization and often assembled from custom-made components, buildings are unforgiving and inefficient experiments in fabrication, given to levels of risk and uncertainty unheard of in the world of produ
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Could the Humble Heat Pump be a Decarbonization Hero?

Doggerel Ι Sept. 6. 2017 Buildings are responsible for a bit fewer than half of all greenhouse gas emissions in the US. Break this figure down further and you’ll find that building heating, in particular, accounts for about a fifth of all US greenhouse gas emissions. Building heating and hot water are a part of the climate change story people often miss, according to Jeffrey Schwane. An engineer in Arup’s New York of
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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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