WBEZ | jeanne gang http://www.wbez.org/tags/jeanne-gang Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Lucas Museum team unveils new design with more park space http://www.wbez.org/news/lucas-museum-team-unveils-new-design-more-park-space-112973 <p><div>The team behind George Lucas&#39; art and movie museum released revised renderings showing more green space at the Chicago site but no radical changes to the undulating, futuristic building stoking passions in a city that guards its Lake Michigan shoreline with religious-like devotion.</div><div><div class="image-insert-image " style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/AP_179440988171.jpg" style="margin-top: 5px; margin-bottom: 5px;" title="This artist rendering released by the Lucas Museum of Narrative Art shows the museum in Chicago. The team behind George Lucas’ art and movie museum released revised renderings Thursday, Sept. 17, 2015, showing more green space at the Chicago site. (Lucas Museum of Narrative Art via AP)" /></div></div><div>Images that will be presented to City Council next week show designers have significantly shrunk the lakefront building while preserving a smooth, tapering, dune-like form topped with an observation deck resembling a floating disc &mdash; a shape that critics have compared to Jabba the Hutt. Defenders of what will be known as the Lucas Museum of Narrative Art, including Mayor Rahm Emanuel, have said the design is loyal to Chicago&#39;s history of making bold architectural statements and its devotion to keeping the lakefront open, accessible and green.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>&quot;Currently, it&#39;s a vast asphalt parking lot that is not welcoming; it&#39;s not very green,&quot; museum President Don Bacigalupi said of the site to the south of Soldier Field, home of the Chicago Bears. &quot;And so replacing that with both a museum that&#39;s an amenity, that&#39;s an attraction and an educational inspiration, plus this very new green space park ... that&#39;s really our goal.&quot;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>The 17-acre site will erase the parking lot and add 4.5 acres of new parkland.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>A group committed to preserving open space, especially along the Lake Michigan shoreline, has fought the museum&#39;s location out of concern it opens the way for more construction on the valuable ribbon of public, open land. In a lawsuit currently in federal court, it says the city has no authority to hand over the land, citing a legal principle known as the public trust doctrine, which requires the state to ensure open spaces are preserved and accessible to the public.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>The design revisions unveiled Thursday were not an attempt to appease critics. Rather, as more planning went into the interior space, the exterior changed, Bacigalupi said. The original building was scaled back from 400,000 to 300,000 square feet, allowing for more park space.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>That space will include an &quot;event prairie&quot; and expanses of trees and native plantings to attract birds and other wildlife, as well as layers of pools designed to filter storm runoff.</div><div><div class="image-insert-image " style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/AP_212440099910.jpg" style="margin-top: 5px; margin-bottom: 5px;" title="A birds-eye view of the revised museum renderings of the Lucas Museum of Narrative Art. (Lucas Museum of Narrative Art via AP)" /></div></div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Its designers, architects Jeanne Gang and Kate Orff, said they wanted the space to function as educational &quot;green infrastructure,&quot; while providing an inspiring gateway to the museum rising in the distance.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>The design is essentially final, although there could be minor adjustments. Construction is expected to begin in March and last until 2018.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>It features an open-air observation deck on the rooftop, accessible for free by a ramp winding up the building&#39;s interior cone shape.</div><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/AP_377903710269.jpg" style="float: right; height: 172px; width: 310px; margin-left: 10px; margin-right: 10px;" title="This artist rendering released by the Lucas Museum of Narrative Art shows the museum in Chicago. The team behind George Lucas’ art and movie museum released revised renderings Thursday, Sept. 17, 2015, showing more green space at the Chicago site but no radical changes to the undulating, futuristic building stoking passions in a city that guards its Lake Michigan shoreline. (Lucas Museum of Narrative Art via AP)" /></p><div>An outdoor plaza in front gently rolls upward into the sloping face of the building.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>&quot;It reminds you of the sand dune landscape that had been there on the lakefront a long time ago,&quot; said architect Ma Yansong. &quot;So it&#39;s very organic architecture.&quot;</div><div>The museum will showcase popular art Lucas has collected since college, including illustrations by Norman Rockwell, Maxfield Parrish and N.C. Wyeth, as well as works by Lucas&#39;s visual effects company, Industrial Light and Magic.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>It also will feature digital media arts and film industry art, including props, costumes, set pieces and story boards. Three auditoriums will host films, lectures and workshops. And there&#39;s an educational library.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>The vision is to highlight art that tells a story. The collection will have &quot;Star Wars&quot; and &quot;Indiana Jones&quot; fans mingling with art connoisseurs, Bacigalupi said.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>&mdash; <em>The Associated Press</em></div></p> Fri, 18 Sep 2015 09:12:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/lucas-museum-team-unveils-new-design-more-park-space-112973 Architect Jeanne Gang tapped to design U of C dormitories http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/architect-jeanne-gang-tapped-design-u-c-dormitories-108164 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/uofc.png" alt="" /><p><p><span style="line-height: 1.15;">Chicago architect Jeanne Gang has been chosen to design a new residence hall and dining commons complex for the University of Chicago.</span></p><p>Gang, a winner of the MacArthur &lsquo;Genius Grant,&rsquo; is known for functional buildings that boldly respond to their physical and ecological environments. She&rsquo;s designed three curving dormitories marked by vertical glass and open space both inside and out.</p><p>&ldquo;This view of campus life can be seen from the street and is no longer hidden away and so there&rsquo;s really a direct connection between student life and city life,&rdquo; Gang said.</p><p>The three new buildings will have a dining hall for the entire campus, two student lounge areas called community commons and what Gang is calling &ldquo;house hubs,&rdquo; which she described as taking a three-story house and intersecting it into a modern building. There&rsquo;s also a top-floor reading room that overlooks the city&rsquo;s lake and skyline. The tallest building will be 15 floors.</p><p>Gang said it was important for her team and the university to design a space that keeps the existing, vibrant community culture there alive. Another source of inspiration came from U of C&rsquo;s neo-Gothic architecture: She wanted to include those elements in her design.</p><p>But she also had to make sure she met the university&rsquo;s architecture guidelines, which include making sure new buildings enhance the existing architecture.&nbsp;</p><p>&ldquo;As a contemporary architect it&rsquo;s always a challenge. How do you do that with a series of Gothic-style architecture?&rdquo; Gang asked.</p><p>The Gang buildings will replace a dorm by Chicago architect Harry Weese, which university officials said has run its course, and house nearly four times the number of students.</p><p>Total construction cost is estimated at $148 million, said Associate Vice President and University Architect Steve Wiesenthal. Funding will come from a variety of sources, including philanthropy and room and board fees.</p><p>The project should be complete by fall 2016. In the meantime, students will be relocated to two other residence halls.</p><p><em>Katie Kather is an arts &amp; culture reporting intern at WBEZ. Follow her on Twitter @ktkather.&nbsp;</em></p></p> Wed, 24 Jul 2013 10:43:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/architect-jeanne-gang-tapped-design-u-c-dormitories-108164 Critic's vision to preserve Prentice is shaky -- but could have another merit altogether http://www.wbez.org/blogs/lee-bey/2012-10/critics-vision-preserve-prentice-shaky-could-have-another-merit-altogether <p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/18PRENTICE1-popup.jpg" style="float: right; " title="Architect Jeanne Gang's rendering of a possible solution for Prentice. (Courtesy of Studio Gang)" /></div><p>You&#39;ve seen this week&#39;s idea by the <em>New York Times</em>&#39; architecture critic to save the former Prentice Women&#39;s Hospital <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2012/10/18/arts/design/adapting-prentice-womens-hospital-for-new-use-in-chicago.html?pagewanted=all&amp;_r=0">by building a research tower on top</a> of the iconic cloverleaf shaped structure?</p><p>The notion has been the subject of chatter in architecture and preservation circles, particularly since critic Michael Kimmelman got Chicago architect Jeanne Gang to flesh out his idea and to create pretty snazzy renderings of the proposed complex.&nbsp;</p><p>On first blush, the plan shows above-the-box thinking worthy of some applause. Bertrand Goldberg&#39;s iconic modernist structure would seem to escape the bulldozer, which is what Prentice supporters want. And Northwestern University would get the new research building it wants, without having to demolish Prentice to do it.</p><p>But as a real solution for Prentice the idea falls flat. Under this idea, Goldberg&#39;s building would be visually overpowered by its taller addition. And what would the cloverleaf towers &mdash; now downgraded to being just the midsection of a new complex &mdash; do? What is truly being preserved? I would fear the quatrefoils would become an empty concrete Atlas, with much of its original space taken up by structural and mechanical systems needed to support the new world above it.</p><p>In addition, to elegantly build a 31-story tower on top of a building that wasn&#39;t originally designed to carry the extra load would be frightfully expensive. Yeah, they recently added 25 floors to the city&#39;s Blue Cross/Blue Shield Building, as Kimmelman states, but that skyscraper was designed to be added on &mdash; and the finished result is building that looks and functions as it did before. It&#39;s just taller.</p><p>Plus, does Northwestern even want this as a solution? In his piece, Kimmelman said a spokesman &quot;would not say whether the university would entertain such a notion.&quot; Which says volumes. Particularly since the Save Prentice Coalition, led by preservation group Landmarks Illinois, presented the university with <a href="http://www.landmarks.org/preservation_news_prentice_reuse_study.htm">a reuse study</a> for Prentice a while back, but Northwestern dismissed it as expensive and unworkable. In a<a href="http://www.chicagobusiness.com/article/20121018/BLOGS08/121019745/jeanne-gang-goes-for-the-win-win-in-prentice-design"> <em>Crain&#39;s</em> story</a> Thursday, the university made their point a little finer:</p><p>&ldquo;It certainly is a very interesting drawing and an interesting concept, but like I said, it doesn&#39;t address the university&#39;s need to have new building connect to the existing building on a floor-by-floor basis and ultimately have a building that&#39;s 1.2 million square feet,&rdquo; a Northwestern spokesman said.</p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/untitled%20shoot-030_1.jpg" style="float: left; " title="" /></div><p>This is not intended as a take-down of Kimmelman and Gang&#39;s idea, though. In fact, their vision has a significant, if unintended merit: It undesrcores the mass public interest in Prentice&#39;s fate and demonstrates there is a wider circle of experts who are thinking of ways to preserve the old hospital. And the Commission on Chicago Landmarks should weigh in now and grant preliminary landmark status to Prentice in order to allow time &mdash; and a process &mdash; to bring those people and ideas to the table.</p><p>The preliminary landmark designation would temporarily spare Prentice from demolition for a year. It would give City Hall the ability to examine whether a permanent designation and reuse plan are possible by working with the university, preservationists and experts such as Gang. That process might very well bring the &quot;<a href="http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2012-10-15/business/chi-ald-reilly-said-he-supports-nu-plan-to-tear-down-prentice-building-20121015_1_prentice-site-nu-plan-lurie-medical-research-center">eureka moment</a>&quot; that saves Prentice, as Ald. Brendan Reilly (42nd) spoke of when he seemingly reluctantly came out in favor of demolition last earlier this week. Or it could reveal the building has no future use at all &mdash; which I doubt is true.</p><p>But at least a deliberative and public process would have been followed.</p></p> Fri, 19 Oct 2012 09:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/lee-bey/2012-10/critics-vision-preserve-prentice-shaky-could-have-another-merit-altogether Famous architects step in to save the Prentice building http://www.wbez.org/sections/culture/famous-architects-step-save-prentice-building-101229 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/RS2508_Prentice Women&#039;s Hospital_Flickr_TheeErin.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>More than 60 architects, educators and historic preservationists are betting their famous names might help prevent demolition of the old Prentice Women&rsquo;s Hospital.</p><p>Northwestern University owns the building and plans to tear it down for a research facility. Prominent architects, like Jeanne Gang and Frank Gehry, intervened on Wednesday and submitted a letter to Mayor Rahm Emanuel.</p><p>The architects called the clover-shaped building by Bertrand Goldberg a &ldquo;breakthrough in structural engineering&rdquo; and asked for landmark status.</p><p>Goldberg is a Chicago native who spent much of his career here and is best known for his Marina City towers. He studied under Mies van der Rohe at the Bauhaus in Berlin.</p><p>&ldquo;The legacy of Bertrand Goldberg&rsquo;s Prentice Women&rsquo;s Hospital is unmistakable,&rdquo; the letter says. &ldquo;Chicago&rsquo;s reputation as a nurturer of bold innovation and architecture will wither if the city cannot preserve its most important achievements.&rdquo;</p><p>But on Thursday, Northwestern said it has not changed its plans to demolish the building. A spokesperson said that it&rsquo;s &ldquo;unsuitable for the kind of modern biomedical research building the University needs to build on the site.&rdquo;</p><p>The university says a feasibility study showed the Prentice wouldn&rsquo;t be adequate as research space and would cost too much to convert.</p><p><strong><em>Listen to an extended excerpt from the interview with architect Dirk Lohan:</em></strong></p><p>&nbsp;</p><div class="mediaelement-audio"><audio class="mediaelement-formatter-identified-1343432055-1" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/DirkLohan%20MP3_0.mp3">&nbsp;</audio></div><p>&nbsp;</p><p>One of the well-known architects who signed the letter asking for landmark status, Dirk Lohan, doesn&rsquo;t buy that argument.</p><p>He&rsquo;s the grandson of Mies van der Rohe. &nbsp;Lohan&rsquo;s legacy in Chicago involves the restructuring of classic old buildings like Adler Planetarium, Shedd Aquarium and his controversial addition to Soldier Field. &nbsp;He&rsquo;s a fan of Goldberg&rsquo;s building.</p><p>&ldquo;These are the kinds of things that I think our city needs to think about, to rejuvenate older buildings that may not meet their original functions exactly the way they were meant to be,&rdquo; Lohan said. &ldquo;And I have a hard time believing that another use cannot be found to work within that structure.&rdquo;</p><p>&nbsp;&ldquo;Goldberg&rsquo;s work was singular and idiosyncratic,&rdquo; Lohan said. &ldquo;He was a creative talent that worked in a way in contrast to the predominant modern direction that was popular at that time.&rdquo;</p><p>Lohan said Goldberg&rsquo;s distinctive use of cement helped him stand out during this period when many modernist architects, like van der Rohe, were working primarily with glass and steel.</p><p>The Prentice building&rsquo;s concrete shell has been likened to a cloverleaf or flower petals.</p><p>&ldquo;You could read all kinds of things in it,&rdquo; Lohan said. &ldquo;I think the building also has a very sinuous quality, and it was a women&rsquo;s hospital. So to me, it expresses something about women&rsquo;s bodies that I find attractive.&rdquo;</p><p>The National Trust for Historic Preservation has joined the fight. It added the Prentice to its list of most endangered buildings last year.</p><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Thu, 26 Jul 2012 18:22:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/sections/culture/famous-architects-step-save-prentice-building-101229 Can cultural resources help spur a different future for the Chicago River? http://www.wbez.org/blog/alison-cuddy/2012-03-21/can-cultural-resources-help-spur-different-future-chicago-river-97515 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//blog/photo/2012-March/2012-03-21/Lost Panoramas Big Boats.jpg" alt="" /><p><p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" class="caption" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2012-March/2012-03-21/Lost Panoramas Big Boats.jpg" style="width: 500px; height: 324px;" title="Big Boats (Rich Cahan/Lost Panoramas)"></p><p>A couple of days ago, I was inspired by a string of sultry summery days to do one of my favorite things: take a water taxi along the Chicago River.</p><p>My trip was a short jaunt to the DuSable Bridge – at this stage they’re only running full routes on weekends. And it's no surprise why – at 2 p.m. on a weekday, I was the only passenger, along with the captain and one deck hand, who extolled the many virtues of his summer job. Otherwise, all was quiet along the water, which still carried a slight hint of its annual turn to green.</p><p>Back on dry land we’ve seen a big flurry of activity around our waterways. Just shy of a year ago, <a href="http://yosemite.epa.gov/opa/admpress.nsf/0/d25839bbae91c1388525788e0036da49?OpenDocument">the Federal Environmental Protection Agency made it official</a>: We need to make the Chicago River clean enough to recreate on and <em>in</em>, activities still considered hazardous to our health.</p><p>This month the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District, which after years of costly balking <a href="http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2011-06-07/news/ct-met-chicago-river-vote-20110607_1_cleaner-river-chicago-river-water-district-backs">finally agreed to the new regime</a> last June, <a href="http://news.medill.northwestern.edu/chicago/news.aspx?id=203321">laid out a plan to disinfect wastewater going into the river</a>, which they claim will make it safe for swimming by 2016.</p><p>That’s quite the sea change for the river – from Chicago’s backyard outhouse to its backyard pool in just a few short years – ah, the miracles of chlorine! And while change is driven by a concern for the overall habitat of the river, it also reflects our continuing people-centric view of how to make use of this (once) natural resource.</p><p>Our evolving relationship with the river isn’t just a matter of legislative and policy shifts. There’s been a spate of cultural interest as well. In <a href="http://press.uchicago.edu/ucp/books/book/distributed/M/bo13291307.html"><em>MidStream: The Chicago River, 1999-2010</em></a>, native Chicagoan and photographer Richard Wasserman explores the entire length of the Chicago River and documents our changing perception of the water, from place for poop to site of pleasure.</p><p>Most of his photographs are devoid of actual humans, but he finds our leavings all over the place, from the crumbling remnants of once active factories, to graffiti on bridge braces, to that remarkable man-made endeavor known as the <a href="http://www.chicagobarproject.com/Memoriam/SlowDown/SlowDown.htm"><em>Slow Down Life’s Too Short </em>bar</a> (an all-too-ironic title now that it’s closed). By getting up close and personal with the Chicago River, Wasserman has managed to open up an imaginative space, one that captures both the industrial age of the river and its emerging recreational future.</p><p><img alt="" class="caption" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2012-March/2012-03-21/reverse-effect-jeanne-gang-537x342.jpg" style="width: 300px; height: 191px; float: left; margin: 10px;" title="Bubbly Creek, Reverse Effect (Studio Gang)">That future is also the subject of Jeanne Gang’s utopian <a href="http://www.studiogang.net/news/updates/2011/10/reverseeffect"><em>Reverse Effect: Renewing Chicago's Waterways</em></a>, a project inspired by the Natural Resources Defense Council’s (NRDC) move to <em>re-reverse</em> the river by installing a dam (proper name: hydrological barrier) at the notorious Bubbly Creek (speaking of cultural resources check out local Andrew Malo’s ode to the notorious stew, the<a href="http://andrewmalo.bandcamp.com/"> 2012 EP </a><em><a href="http://andrewmalo.bandcamp.com/">Songs from Bubbly Creek</a>).</em></p><p>The dam would literally de-couple the Great Lakes and Mississippi River basins. But Gang takes the NRDC’s vision, combines it with the river’s “continually reinvented” history and runs wild. She imagines a river freed from its natural and artificial constraints, spilling into the cityscape via a series of freshwater inland lagoons. In these public watery spaces, we could loll about watching movies or listening to music while wetland habitats clean up our … mess.</p><p>Gang also led a group of Harvard students to design creative community-based uses of the barrier. One I particularly like imagines an art space that would combine the character of two Chicago neighborhoods: Pilsen (art, muralists) and Bridgeport (politics, speechifying). The low-lying structure's (think futuristic Frank Lloyd Wright) spine is a giant mural wall, that both bisects the space and leads to an outdoor performance theater. With one elegant journey, two communities historically separated by a variety of barriers, from cultural to geographic, might come together.</p><p>How Gang’s truly 21<sup>st</sup> century river will come to pass remains to be seen. But she's not alone in rethinking our water ecosystem. I've long been a fan of <a href="http://www.urbanlab.com/h2o/">Growing Water</a>, a project by the local architect/urban design firm Urban Lab. And hey, if Chicago can take a dirty, seemingly intractable train yard and turn it into a <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Millennium_Park">gorgeous park full of music, dance and public art</a>, then anything is&nbsp; possible, right?</p><p>Ok, the money for projects like these doesn't grow on trees. But a great way to figure out how to get to the future is by exploring how we arrived at our own current moment. Thanks to Richard Cahan and Michael Williams, we can do a little river time traveling. <a href="http://www.amazon.com/Lost-Panoramas-Chicago-Changed-Beyond/dp/0978545001"><em>The Lost Panoramas: When Chicago Changed its River and the Land Beyond </em></a>is a collection of long-lost photographs documenting the original reversal of the river – the digging of a 28-mile canal between the Chicago and DesPlaines Rivers, and the impact of this feat (folly?) of engineering.</p><p><img alt="" class="caption" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2012-March/2012-03-21/Lost Panoramas State Street.jpg" style="width: 300px; height: 192px; margin: 10px; float: left;" title="State Street (Rich Cahan/Lost Panoramas)">The glass negatives span the years 1894-1928 and were taken for the Sanitary District of Chicago. Like Wasserman’s photos, the images capture the energy of man (the emerging industrial behemoth Chicago) and the energy of nature (the gorgeous flow of a river with its own agenda and logic). And to learn more about Isham Randolph, the man whose energy was instrumental in reversing the flow of the river, check out Chris McAvoy's <a href="http://weblog.lonelylion.com/2011/07/14/isham-has-a-wikipedia-entry/">wonderful work on the subject.</a></p><p>Cahan (and maybe Williams) will talk about this history Thursday night, at the <a href="http://www.unitytemple.org/">Unity Temple</a> in Oak Park. Admission is 10 bucks, and their event is part of the Break the Box series presented by the Unity Temple Restoration Foundation. The Temple could use your support as well – <a href="http://triblocal.com/oak-park-river-forest/2011/10/11/stolen-unity-letters-expected-to-be-replaced-by-spring/">they’re still working to restore the bronze letters stolen from the façade a few years ago.</a></p><p><em>The Lost Panoramas, </em><em>March 22, 7:30 p.m., </em><em>Unity Temple, 875 Lake Street, Oak Park. </em></p></p> Wed, 21 Mar 2012 20:31:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blog/alison-cuddy/2012-03-21/can-cultural-resources-help-spur-different-future-chicago-river-97515 Video: Jeanne Gang talks about her first skyscraper http://www.wbez.org/blog/mark-bazer/2011-09-20/video-jeanne-gang-talks-about-her-first-skyscraper-92209 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//blog/photo/2011-September/2011-09-20/jeanne gang.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Jeanne Gang, who just won a MacArthur Genius Grant, talked the Aqua Tower, mushrooms and more when she appeared on <em>The Interview Show</em> last year. Proof that the quickest way to get a Genius Grant is to appear on the show!</p><p><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/8cHU38BBLSg" width="560"></iframe></p><p><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/EuJH7qhGlH8" width="560"></iframe></p></p> Tue, 20 Sep 2011 14:20:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blog/mark-bazer/2011-09-20/video-jeanne-gang-talks-about-her-first-skyscraper-92209 Chicago architect Jeanne Gang wins MacArthur 'genius grant' http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-09-20/chicago-architect-jeanne-gang-wins-macarthur-genius-grant-92206 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//segment/photo/2011-September/2011-09-20/Jeanne Gang.jpg" alt="" /><p><p><a href="http://www.studiogang.net/people/jeannegang" target="_blank">Jeanne Gang</a> is known for challenging the aesthetics and technical limits of ordinary building materials; her imagination can be seen at work on North Columbus Drive – in the oscillating concrete of the high-rise <a href="http://www.studiogang.net/work/2004/aqua" target="_blank">Aqua</a>. The Chicago architect was named a <a href="http://www.macfound.org/site/c.lkLXJ8MQKrH/b.7730959/k.848E/Jeanne_Gang.htm" target="_blank">2011 MacArthur Fellow</a>. The grant comes with $500,000 no-strings-attached. Gang, the principal and founder of Chicago’s <a href="http://www.studiogang.net/" target="_blank">Studio Gang</a> and newly-minted "genius," joined <em>Eight Forty-Eight</em> to discuss her new status.</p><p><em>Music Button: Brad Goode, "Climbing Out", from the CD Tight Like This, (Delmark) </em></p><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Tue, 20 Sep 2011 14:07:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-09-20/chicago-architect-jeanne-gang-wins-macarthur-genius-grant-92206 Scaling Aqua http://www.wbez.org/story/scaling-aqua-85846 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//story/photo/2011-April/2011-04-29/roof top photo 2.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>It was not so long ago that three young explorers embarked on a clandestine adventure to the summit of one of Chicago’s newest landmarks.</p><p>In December of 2009 Aqua was still under construction. When completed a few months later the 82-story residential and commercial tower on East Waterside Drive would become a fresh and breathtaking addition to the Chicago skyline. With its undulating concrete balconies rippling out in swells and waves, the building’s man-made topography pays homage to the natural world, with its peaks and valleys, tidal pools and rolling hills, in a way that few other structures do. &nbsp;</p><p>But when these anonymous urban explorers ventured out, there was still construction scaffolding on the outside of the building, Aqua was only partially occupied, and the interiors of the upper floors were as yet unfinished. The three snuck into the building by foot, took the elevators up to the 54th floor, and then walked up another 28 stories. They explain what happened next on their blog, <a href="http://www.nopromiseofsafety.com/">No Promise of Safety</a>:</p><p style="margin-left: 40px;"><em>Several hard breathing minutes later we were at the penthouse level and searching for an easy way to the roof. Alas, the door was a thickly built, plywood temp-job, complete with heavy-duty chains and high end padlocks. ‘I guess it’s the hard way, then,’ I muttered to myself.</em></p><p>The hard way turned out to be scaling the steel lattice of a construction hoist attached to the outside of the building:</p><p style="margin-left: 40px;"><em>We lowered ourselves down onto the nearby connection posts that held the mast to the building…Once our feet were placed on two of these round tubes, we slowly nudged our legs to the half-way point and pushed off from the building, hovered for a moment in balance, and leaned over and caught the mast in our hands. From building to mast was about seven feet. Then of course it was up the mast about 20 feet to roof level and back over a similar set of supports. All of this maneuvering having been done a little over 800 feet above street level, with no fall protection…This kind of thing is what we like to call a near life experience.</em></p><p>To document their trek, the three explorers photographed themselves perched on the ledge of Aqua’s roof, Chicago’s glittering skyline visible behind them.</p><p>One might reasonably think the folks responsible for the building would be upset by this unsanctioned trip. But Jeanne Gang, Aqua’s lead architect and the head of <a href="http://www.studiogang.net/">Studio Gang Architects</a>, recognized the impulse to explore. Gang, who has been honored for her work by the American Institute of Architects and profiled in <em>The New Yorker Magazine</em>, says that while she was in graduate school she wandered into Chicago’s iconic Marina Towers, and took the elevator up as high as it would go. “I said, I wonder if I can get higher,” Gang recalls. “And low and behold I was able to get onto the spot where the central core goes through the roof.”</p><p>These kinds of adventures fit perfectly into the urban theory and world view espoused by Gang and her collaborators, and the mindset they had when conceiving Aqua’s natural forms. “The building aims to inspire exploration,” they write in their new book <a href="http://www.studiogang.net/publication/2011/reveal">Reveal</a>, which traces the construction, theory and ephemera of Aqua and other projects. “For many, the built environment has become so immense and mysterious that exploring it offers a physical, spiritual, and psychological reward equal to traversing the remote, craggy rock formations of natural terrains.”</p><p>Gang celebrated the release of the book with a talk at <a href="http://www.stopsmilingonline.com/index.php">StopSmiling</a> in early April, moderated by J.C. Gabel. In it she goes into greater detail about why she thinks cities have replaced natural topography, especially in a place as flat as Chicago. You can hear an excerpt from her talk in the audio above.</p><p><a href="../../series/dynamic-range">Dynamic Range</a> showcases hidden gems unearthed from <em>Chicago Amplified’s</em> vast archive of public events and appears on weekends. Jeanne Gang was interviewed at an event presented by <a href="http://www.stopsmilingonline.com/index.php" target="_blank">StopSmiling</a> in April. Click <a href="../../story/culture/architecture/book-release-party-jeanne-gang-85299">here</a> to hear the event in its entirety, and click <a href="http://itunes.apple.com/us/artist/wbez/id364380278" target="_blank">here</a> to subscribe to the <em>Dynamic Range</em> podcast.</p><p><em>Correction: An earlier version of this article misstated the number of urban explorers and their respective genders. </em></p></p> Fri, 29 Apr 2011 15:50:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/scaling-aqua-85846 Composer creates musical piece inspired by Aqua Tower http://www.wbez.org/blog/lee-bey/2011-04-18/composer-creates-musical-piece-inspired-aqua-tower-85338 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//blog/photo/2011-April/2011-04-18/aqua1.jpg" alt="" /><p><p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" class="caption" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2011-April/2011-04-18/aqua2.jpg" title="" height="640" width="313"></p><p>Aqua Tower, the tall beauty with the undulating balconies has become an instant architectural celebrity since its completion in 2009; the subject of accolades, the winner of honors--and now the inspiration for<em> Aqua</em>, a string quartet musical piece written by New York composer Harold Meltzer who will oversee the composition's Chicago premiere next week.</p><p>Meltzer got the idea for the piece after seeing photographs of Aqua last year in <em>The New Yorker.</em></p><p>"I was instantly mesmerized," Meltzer said. "I kept looking at the pictures." He then downloaded more images from the internet, some showing the whole building; others showing details of the balconies. The photographs--and the order in which he downloaded them--inform the piece, he said.</p><p>Meltzer has never seen Aqua in person, but will likely get his chance when he visits the city April 27. That's when the Avalon String Quartet will perform Meltzer's <em>Aqua</em> as part of the ensemble's <em>American Voices</em> concert at the Merit School of Music at 38 South Peoria. It will be the first time <em>Aqua</em> has been performed in Chicago.</p><p>Architect Jeanne Gang, whose firm, Studio/Gang designed Aqua said she recently heard about <em>Aqua.</em> "I am so excited to listen to the piece" and wants to attend the concert to hear firsthand, she said.</p><p>So what does the piece sound like? Meltzer said the composition takes its cues from the building's design and the "amazing way the line of the building is mediated by all those undulations." He said "there is a series of 'curves' in the first part of the piece. The second piece is one big curve--like seeing one of those [balconies] up close."</p><p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" class="caption" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2011-April/2011-04-18/aqua1.jpg" style="width: 496px; height: 372px;" title=""></p><p>The 44-year-old composer has been previously inspired by architecture. He wrote <em>Brion</em> after seeing architect Carlos Scarpa's modernist Brion Cemetery in San Vito d'Altivole, Italy. The piece was a finalist for the 2009 Pulitzer Prize. Here are <a href="http://www.amazon.com/Meltzer-Brion-Sindbad-Exiles-Sequitur/dp/B0040AT66A">samples of it</a> on Amazon.</p></p> Mon, 18 Apr 2011 15:13:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blog/lee-bey/2011-04-18/composer-creates-musical-piece-inspired-aqua-tower-85338 New plans for Northerly Island http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/new-plans-northerly-island <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//northerly island prarie.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>It&rsquo;s been almost eight years since Chicago Mayor Richard Daley took matters into his own hands and closed down the lakefront airport Miegs Field. <br />But the 91-acre space known as Northerly Island has remained active, with an open-air concert venue and prairie. <br />&nbsp;</p><p>The area might get a bit busier: Park District officials Thursday unveiled plans to redevelop the land as a public park, complete with a harbor, wetlands, a reef and a lagoon with a sunken ship.<br />&nbsp;</p><p>One of the plan&rsquo;s designer&rsquo;s, architect <a target="_blank" href="http://www.studiogang.net/">Jeanne Gang</a>, says it&rsquo;s almost like a Millennium Park of nature.</p><p>To learn more &quot;Eight Forty-Eight&quot; spoke to an expert, Chicago Tribune architecture critic <a target="_blank" href="http://www.chicagotribune.com/chi-skylineblog-bio,0,5519775.htmlstory">Blair Kamin</a>. <br />&nbsp;</p></p> Fri, 03 Dec 2010 15:04:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/new-plans-northerly-island