WBEZ | architecture http://www.wbez.org/tags/architecture Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Where to Begin When Designing a WW1 Memorial http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift/2016-02-08/where-begin-when-designing-ww1-memorial-114748 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/3042607153_294576699a_o.jpg" alt="" /><p><div>We often remember those who have passed away in a variety of ways. But when we remember those Americans who served and died in World War I where do you start?&nbsp;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>That&rsquo;s the challenge facing Chicago native Joe Weishaar. He&rsquo;s the 25-year-old architect who won the design competition for a new World War I memorial to be constructed in Washington DC.&nbsp;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>He joins us to shed some light on his design and to talk about the massive scope of the event he will memorialize.&nbsp;</div><div>&nbsp;</div></p> Fri, 05 Feb 2016 09:32:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift/2016-02-08/where-begin-when-designing-ww1-memorial-114748 Swinging Times: Why Chicago has so Many Revolving Doors http://www.wbez.org/series/curious-city/swinging-times-why-chicago-has-so-many-revolving-doors-114058 <p><p>Sometimes, it takes a visitor to notice something unusual and special about your city. That was the case for Flora Alderman, a lifelong Chicagoan who, in her retirement, leads walking tours in downtown Chicago. She turned several observations from her tour-goers into a question, and then sent it our way:</p><p style="text-align: center;"><em>Why does Chicago have so many revolving doors?</em></p><p>At first, Flora thought her tour-goers may have been from smaller towns, where revolving doors were less common; but she&rsquo;s even heard the same question from a tourist from New York City, which made Flora start noticing just how many revolving doors we have.</p><p>We quickly learn that she is on to something.</p><p>Angus MacMillan, the national sales manager for <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fcGV2_EgNUk" target="_blank">Crane Revolving Doors</a>, says Chicago and New York are the biggest markets for revolving doors, and that Chicago was the No. 1 market for decades. He thinks downtown Chicago may have more revolving doors per block than New York: &ldquo;I get my [sales] reps in from all around the country, and I&rsquo;ll take them to downtown Chicago, and they&rsquo;ll count more revolving doors in one block there than they have in their whole city.&rdquo;</p><p>But the <em>why </em>part of Flora&rsquo;s question &mdash; why the revolving door found such a hospitable home in Chicago &mdash; takes a bit more digging and is even more interesting.</p><p>The bottom line is that revolving doors have been solving several of the city&rsquo;s architectural challenges for about 115 years and, though the basic technology hasn&rsquo;t changed, the reasons people install them have actually expanded.</p><p>If you think these seemingly simple devices aren&rsquo;t worth considering, we have a question for you: Can you think of another century-old invention that works the same way as it did when it was created, but has only become increasingly relevant?</p><p><span style="font-size:24px;">When this invention took its first revolution</span></p><p>While there&rsquo;s evidence of revolving doors in Chicago just after the turn of the century, they were actually invented twelve years earlier. In 1888, Theophilus Van Kannel of Philadelphia filed a U.S. patent for his new invention, an improvement on an earlier German invention. In his patent description of what would soon come to be known as a revolving door (most commonly now with four leaves), Van Kannel touted the many benefits over a swing door. For one, crowds of people could easily move in and out of the building in a continuous flow, without anyone having to wait. Beyond that, snug weather stripping around the doors could stop air from directly passing from the outside to the inside. The doors also prevented dirt and noise from getting inside as well.</p><p>Despite the practical benefits, the new contraptions took some getting used to. Revolving doors debuted in New York City in 1899, and early accounts include stories of people (New Yorkers, no less!) afraid of using Van Kannel&rsquo;s invention. Tourists visiting from small towns were even mocked in the newspapers for their revolving door naïveté.</p><p>&ldquo;Laws a-me!,&rdquo; a New York Times essayist claimed to hear from a visiting woman. &ldquo;It&rsquo;s dreadful like a threshing machine. &hellip; These new-fangled things&rsquo;ll kill me yet!&rdquo;</p><p style="text-align: center;"><iframe frameborder="0" height="600" scrolling="no" src="http://archives.chicagotribune.com/1959/08/09/page/238/article/peoples-dizzy-doings-in-a-revolving-door" width="650"></iframe></p><p>Still, the &ldquo;revolving threshing machines&rdquo; caught wind in other cities, particularly Chicago. By 1901, they&rsquo;d become a bit of a local, pop culture curiosity. That year, the first mention of revolving doors in the Chicago Daily Tribune tells a fictional (perhaps?) tale entitled &ldquo;The Romance of the Revolving Door.&rdquo; In it, two young lovers have quarrelled and broken off their engagement, only to be reunited months later in a downtown department store. Of course, when they are suddenly trapped face to face in a stuck revolving door. (Spoiler alert from the young lady: &ldquo;There isn&rsquo;t any use of us trying to quarrel, John, when even these awful revolving doors conspire to keep us together in this way.&rdquo;)</p><p>While we don&rsquo;t know exactly how many revolving doors were installed in Chicago during the early 20th century, brochures from the period suggest the city was the major market in North America.</p><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/VAN%20KANNEL%20FOR%20WEB%202.png" style="height: 345px; width: 620px;" title="A Van Kannel revolving door installed at the Pittsfield Building at 55 East Washington. (WBEZ/Jennifer Masengarb)" /></div><p>You can still see some of the originals today. Just walk through the Loop or Streeterville: Plenty of the buildings date back to the early 20th century with <a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/rinses/6069531531/in/photolist-69pnFa-7wwk6b-yYsuV4-wBoaU-8DoMrg-RKMC2-tdz999-s9TPh7-3p1VBD-6rT7Na-n1k52L-ANge1-9a7ew6-7c7sex-4rRJPb-7pdY1J-4dyiS-afkWgn-qC18jU-kjj6uX-5HoksX-9rA9YC-4ayYSv-6cUhgi-9yfFa-JgKA5-vP8Vo-7bgT2r-7YCK22-fjVgM-9fevy4-cxNXrs-9KXbYT-iXHZ3n-brf1Vy-8cFhhD" target="_top">classic revolving doors</a>, including a few from the original Van Kannel Company. But the doors&rsquo; initial appeal and utility to keep coal dust and soot out of buildings soon gave way to other useful applications, particularly as Chicago&rsquo;s skyline grew taller.</p><p><span style="font-size:24px;">Chicago stacks up</span></p><p>Architect Patrick Loughran of <a href="http://www.gpchicago.com/profile/leadership/" target="_blank">Goettsch Partners</a> says Chicago&rsquo;s still got a lot of revolving doors because we have so many tall buildings.</p><p>&ldquo;Any high rise building is going to have to have elevator cores that take people from the bottom all the way up,&rdquo; he says. &ldquo;Those big open tubes create the stack effect where heat and air rise, and it creates this suction at the base of the building.&rdquo;</p><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/STACK%20EFFECT%20FOR%20WEB.png" style="height: 624px; width: 620px;" title="" /></div><p>The stack effect, or suction, comes from the air pressure differential between the inside and outside. On very cold days, that differential is extreme. Warm air collecting at the top of the elevator shafts is much lighter than the denser cold air at the base. The low pressure area pulls air into the first floor lobby and actually makes it difficult to pull swing doors open.</p><p>Revolving doors don&rsquo;t have this problem, because they block air that would otherwise rush in from the outside. As such, Loughran says tall buildings either need a revolving door or a vestibule with two sets of doors. The vestibule solution doesn&rsquo;t always effectively counter stack effect.</p><p>Loughran explains that while revolving doors are more common in cooler climates, warm climates have their own version of this problem. &ldquo;In Southern climates, you get the reverse effect, where doors are pushing out,&rdquo; he says. That can make it difficult to close outward swinging doors, allowing cooled air to escape.</p><p>Whether the effect is pushing inward or outwards, as the doors reach the closed position, the air rushing through can be audible.</p><p>&ldquo;It&rsquo;s almost like a flute,&rdquo; Loughran says. &nbsp;</p><p><span style="font-size:24px;">We hate cold air in the North</span></p><p>Concerns about the stack effect in highrise buildings only partially explain why the revolving door is so common in the Chicago landscape. Because, if you take a stroll around the Loop, you&rsquo;ll see contemporary low rise buildings with revolving doors as well: drug stores, restaurants, cafes, and clothing retailers. The likely reason doesn&rsquo;t have to do with countering the stack effect. According to MacMillan, it comes down to comfort and economics &mdash; the need to maximize floor space.</p><p>Consider a restaurant in the winter. If it&rsquo;s got tables right next to a regular swing door, MacMillan says no matter how great the food is &ldquo;those first tables are going to really cold. That&rsquo;s the last thing you want for a dining experience.&rdquo; &nbsp;</p><p>Restaurants could solve that problem with a vestibule and two sets of swing doors, but that option takes up valuable space. The revolving door&rsquo;s smaller footprint, on the other hand, keeps cold out while allowing space for two or even three extra tables. MacMillan says that bit of extra profit can help offset revolving doors&rsquo; higher initial costs. The same principle applies to retailers, who want to protect customers from winter chills and maximize floor space at the same time.</p><p style="text-align: center;"><iframe data-aspect-ratio="undefined" data-auto-height="false" frameborder="0" height="600" id="doc_4217" scrolling="no" src="https://www.scribd.com/embeds/292130274/content?start_page=1&amp;view_mode=scroll&amp;show_recommendations=true" width="100%"></iframe></p><p>Space isn&rsquo;t the only thing saved by revolving doors, according to MacMillan. He says in Chicago and other cold cities, the doors cut heating bills by keeping out so much cold air. He&rsquo;s convinced revolving doors could also save money for building owners in warmer climates, too. He says it&rsquo;s actually cheaper to heat a building during a cold Chicago winter than it is to cool a similar building in the midst of a hot summer in Atlanta or Houston. But, he says, Southern building owners typically don&rsquo;t follow through by installing revolving doors &mdash; mostly because building owners are driven by whether people feel comfortable: &ldquo;People in the South, they don&rsquo;t mind if their cold air is blowing out. Up in the North, we mind if the cold air is blowing in. That&rsquo;s what we hate.&rdquo; &nbsp;</p><p>MacMillan says if you&rsquo;re looking for one last reason to explain why some regions might not install revolving doors, consider that some people might still be a little afraid of them.</p><p>&ldquo;You look at California. They really look at revolving doors like a meat grinder,&rdquo; he says, echoing the woman in 1899 who likened New York&rsquo;s newfangled doors to a thresher.</p><p>MacMillan says builders in warm climates are finally catching on to revolving doors, and he says the industry is selling and installing more than ever. But Chicago remains a city with a very high, if not the highest, density of revolving doors in its downtown.</p><p>When you think about what factors make revolving doors attractive to developers and building owners, Chicago covers all the bases. A history of soot and smoke? Check. Supertall buildings and stack effect? Check. A high density of retail and restaurants? Yep. Temperature extremes? Got that one, too. Minneapolis might be colder and New York may have tall buildings, but Chicago uniquely combines all the important factors.</p><p><span style="font-size:24px;">Still revolving, still evolving</span></p><p>Today&rsquo;s revolving doors look sleek and modern, designed to complement transparent building entrances like the eye catching lobby at the UBS Building at <a href="http://www.conferencecenteratubstower.com/" target="_blank">One North Wacker</a> designed by Goettsch Partners. But if you compare those doors to the sketches in <a href="http://i2.wp.com/99percentinvisible.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/van-kannel-1-1.png" target="_top">Theophilus Van Kannel&rsquo;s 1888 patent</a>, you can see the basic principal is the same.</p><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/SLEEK%20DOOR%20FOR%20WEB.jpg" style="height: 465px; width: 620px;" title="Light passes through the revolving doors at UBS Building at One North Wacker. (WBEZ/Jennifer Masengarb)" /></div><p>One hundred thirty seven years later, and revolving doors keep on spinning (get it?). That long life cycle (groan) strikes us as neat. That same principle of creating an efficient air lock, first designed to keep out dust and soot, now helps buildings counteract the stack effect, keep customers comfy, and save on heating and cooling costs.</p><p>Angus MacMillan, revolving door salesman, says that&rsquo;s OK by him.</p><p>&ldquo;Every building should have a revolving door,&rdquo; he says.</p><p><span style="font-size:24px;">Our Questioner, Flora Alderman</span></p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/FLORA%20ALDERMAN%20FOR%20WEB.jpg" title="Flora Alderman turned over questions she received from Road Scholar tour-goers into a Curious City question. (Photo courtesy of Flora Alderman)" /></p><p>Flora Alderman lives in Chicago&rsquo;s Harbor Point, aka, New East Side. She&rsquo;s a retired Jewish Community Center Director and still leads trips for<a href="http://www.roadscholar.org/" target="_blank"> Road Scholar, a project of Elderhostel</a>. &nbsp;</p><p>She splits her time between Chicago, and Delray Beach, Florida. She&rsquo;s there now, and we asked her to be on the lookout for revolving doors, especially since they could save building owners and businesses in Florida on air conditioning costs.</p><p>She says she hasn&rsquo;t seen a single one.</p><p><em>Jesse Dukes is Curious City&rsquo;s Audio Producer. Jen Masengarb is Director of Interpretation and Research at the<a href="http://www.architecture.org/" target="_blank"> Chicago Architecture Foundation</a>. Follow her on Twitter at<a href="https://twitter.com/jmasengarb" target="_blank"> @jmasengarb</a>.</em></p></p> Fri, 04 Dec 2015 17:14:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/series/curious-city/swinging-times-why-chicago-has-so-many-revolving-doors-114058 Painting a brighter future for Chicago’s blighted neighborhoods http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/painting-brighter-future-chicago%E2%80%99s-blighted-neighborhoods-113170 <p><p>The Chicago Cultural Center was a hive of activity as designers and architects set up for the first-ever Chicago Architecture Biennial.</p><p>Amanda Williams exhibit features a series of photos, showing the abandoned houses she&rsquo;s painted in eye-catching colors - monochrome purples, blues, and yellows. She hopes the houses can revitalize a community fatigued by poverty and racism.</p><p>&ldquo;On a very simplistic level, I think it achieves that ability to really do more than lip service to this idea that architecture is not just skyscrapers or what I call architecture with a capital-A,&rdquo; Williams explained. &ldquo;It is questions of space, and race, and density--and all these things that we talk about in abstraction but are very real. And that people in these areas are experts in and don&rsquo;t realize it.&rdquo;</p><p>Williams is something of an expert herself. She grew up on the South Side, in Auburn Gresham - where her parents still live.</p><p>Away from the excited, is a very different scene at 56th and LaSalle, in Washington Park. It&rsquo;s full of empty lots - and one eye-catching feature.</p><p>&ldquo;Everybody always wants to know why that house is pink,&rdquo; Glenda Bush said.<br /><br />She&rsquo;s lived in the neighborhood for eight years.</p><p>&ldquo;I don&rsquo;t like it at all. Gangs and drug dealers. Killings. Racing up and down the street. There&rsquo;s nothing good over here but a few people,&rdquo; Bush said</p><p>On this block, more than half the lots are empty.</p><p>Bush talks about the block in terms of what&rsquo;s gone, rather than what remains.<br /><br />&ldquo;I think this house that was on the corner came down, if I&rsquo;m not mistaken, last year. That one burned,&rdquo; she said.</p><p>Each of these homes was abandoned, fell into disrepair and was demolished. So Williams&rsquo; paint jobs are quite the change.</p><p>And Bush thinks, Williams&rsquo; plan is working.<br /><br />&ldquo;We need to address tearing down abandoned houses, and if people make a statement with paint, just maybe, that&rsquo;ll happen. I don&rsquo;t know,&rdquo; Bush said.</p><p>Not everybody likes it - Williams said some neighbors have complained that the houses are an eyesore and draw too much attention.</p><p>But, she added, that&rsquo;s good: at least they&rsquo;re talking.</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/Paintedhouses2.jpg" title="(WBEZ/Sean Kennedy)" /></div></p> Mon, 05 Oct 2015 08:56:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/painting-brighter-future-chicago%E2%80%99s-blighted-neighborhoods-113170 Confronting community problems through architecture and design http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/confronting-community-problems-through-architecture-and-design-113169 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/JuanMoreno1.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Anyone who drives on the Kennedy has likely seen Juan Moreno&rsquo;s work. The Northeastern Illinois University El Centro building is mostly glass, with vertical dividers turning it from yellow to blue to yellow, depending on the direction on the expressway.</p><p>Moreno&rsquo;s office building on Wabash Avenue is a frenetic space under the &lsquo;L&rsquo; tracks, surrounded by the noise of nearby road repairs. The lively business district gets constant care and attention, unlike Gage Park on the city&rsquo;s Southwest Side.</p><p>&ldquo;In the corporate world, there isn&rsquo;t this kind of desire to go into our communities of need,&rdquo; said Moreno. &ldquo;And give our gifts as architects, our ideas, our vision &mdash; to try to uplift the community.&rdquo;</p><p>And an area like Gage Park could use the help. It has different kinds of infrastructure problems: Its streets are punctuated by potholes, bridges crumbled to where the rebar steel peeks out from the concrete. Weeds grow tall and wide through sidewalk cracks in front of a multitude of empty buildings.</p><p>Moreno noted the differences between the rapid repairs happening near his office that might inconvenience commuters downtown, and the visible neglect in this mostly working-class Latino community. He believes that lack of attention can affect a resident&rsquo;s psyche.</p><p>&ldquo;Because they walk by it and those buildings talk to them. And it makes them feel like people don&rsquo;t care about them,&rdquo; said Moreno. &ldquo;That they (problems from neglect) are in communities of color. And it&rsquo;s a constant reminder when they look at that.&rdquo;</p><p>Rows and rows of one and two-story brick, pre-war homes line the streets of Gage Park: Brick homes and vacant lots. But a gleaming structure pierces the horizon &mdash; a giant, modern, glass-and-metal building &mdash; and in its shadow, kids played at its feet on the artificial turf.</p><p>The UNO charter Soccer Academy Elementary School could easily be mistaken for a museum or airport terminal. Moreno said he&rsquo;s happy his design gets that kind of reaction.</p><p>&ldquo;They don&rsquo;t always have to be the same prototype. We can think about their role in the community, the way learning is approached,&rdquo; said Moreno. &ldquo;And I think this school does a great job in doing that.&rdquo;</p><p>Punctuating the past with designs for the future isn&rsquo;t for everyone. Just north, in Pilsen, there&rsquo;s been lots of talk about gentrification in recent years. The Mexican neighborhood is known for its European-styled buildings dating back to the 1800s.</p><p>Crystal Quintero was peering into a soon-to-opened Giordano&#39;s restaurant on 18th Street, across from a Subway restaurant. The new pizza place is going into an old building that once housed a youth art studio. Some residents might see the chain going in and think, &lsquo;there goes the neighborhood.&#39; But Quintero didn&rsquo;t see it that way.</p><p>&ldquo;I was going to fill out an application,&rdquo; said Quintero. &ldquo;I want to work here so I&rsquo;m going to fill out an application online.&rdquo;</p><p>And that&rsquo;s one of the fundamental challenges for today&rsquo;s architect &mdash; how to transform space for the future while preserving the integrity of its past.</p><p><em>Follow WBEZ reporter Yolanda Perdomo on Twitter </em><em><a href="https://twitter.com/yolandanews">@yolandanews</a></em></p></p> Mon, 05 Oct 2015 08:27:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/confronting-community-problems-through-architecture-and-design-113169 Preview of Chicago's Architecture Biennial http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift/2015-10-02/preview-chicagos-architecture-biennial-113155 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/architecture Flickr Bert Kaufmann.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>The names are repeated by Chicagoans in reverent tones the same way other cities tick off sports heroes: Burnham, Sullivan, Wright, Van Der Rohe, Goldberg, Tigerman. Architects &mdash; whose work not only defines our town, but continually invented and reinvented the relationship between structure and people and place.</p><p>Chicago is the <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/chicago-begins-inaugural-celebration-built-environments-weekend-113147">perfect city </a>to hold a festival showcasing work that&rsquo;s being done around the world by architects who are pushing the boundaries and helping us redefine how we live and interact with our buildings, our environment and each other.</p><p>Chicago&#39;s Architecture Biennial begins this weekend, and runs for the next three months. Here to guide us through it is <a href="https://twitter.com/zachmortice">Zach Mortice</a>, an architecture journalist based in Chicago who&rsquo;s <a href="http://archrecord.construction.com/news/2015/09/150921-Chicago-Architecture-Biennial-Preview.asp">covered the lead up to the biennial</a> for Architectural Record.&nbsp;</p></p> Fri, 02 Oct 2015 12:28:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift/2015-10-02/preview-chicagos-architecture-biennial-113155 Chicago begins inaugural celebration of built environments this weekend http://www.wbez.org/news/chicago-begins-inaugural-celebration-built-environments-weekend-113147 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/Biennial 151001.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>If Chicago&rsquo;s buildings could talk, they&rsquo;d probably speak in a variety of languages. &nbsp;</p><p>The city is well-known for its diverse architecture, making it an ideal spot for North America&rsquo;s largest architecture exhibition. Hundreds of architects, urban planners and designers are flocking to Chicago to share their work at the inaugural <a href="http://chicagoarchitecturebiennial.org/">Chicago Architecture Biennial</a>.</p><p>The three-month long exhibition is designed as a forum for creative-types to share new design ideas for cities through conversations, exhibits and tours around the city.</p><p>Joseph Grima is the event&rsquo;s co-artistic director.</p><p>&ldquo;It&rsquo;s really the opportunity to affect the lives of individuals, groups, but also of entire communities,&rdquo; Grima said. &ldquo;That&rsquo;s one of the things that exhibition explores, is the impact of good architecture on communities both in Chicago and other cities.&rdquo;</p><p>The Chicago Cultural Center is currently home to many of the exhibits, which includes full-scale houses from designers from places like Mexico and Vietnam.</p><p>Tatiana Bilbao is a participating architect from Mexico City. The house she designed is built from simple materials -- like wood and industrial pallets. Bilbao prioritized affordability so that the poorest families in Mexico aren&rsquo;t confined to one-room dwellings.</p><p>&ldquo;I think it&rsquo;s very important that people have a very comfortable place to live, and normally these people don&rsquo;t have the chance,&rdquo; Bilbao said. &ldquo;If you have a (better) place to live, you can be a better citizen.&rdquo;</p><p style="text-align: center;"><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/heOuwXh0mAQ?rel=0" width="560"></iframe></p><p>Many of the participating architects are working on Chicago-based projects too.</p><p>Thomas Jacobs, an architect from the firm Krueck + Sexton. His designs are meant to address the empty lots seen all over the city. One of his projects included a design that would alter the way buildings are oriented on a city block. The design allows more daylight to enter the home, while avoiding windows that look directly onto a next door neighbor.</p><p>Jacobs said architects are well-equipped to address the sometimes simple problems that arise in communities.</p><p>&ldquo;I think a lot of the work that you see at the biennial, deal with some of these fundamental questions,&rdquo; Jacobs said. &nbsp;&ldquo;How could you improve neighborhoods and communities? And some of the things are very simple. It doesn&rsquo;t necessarily take a lot of money or technology. It&rsquo;s just orienting the building in a smarter way could do a lot to create space that is more usable and better for people.&rdquo;</p><p>Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and other private sponsors were on hand Thursday to preview the exhibits. Emanuel said &ldquo;the study and discussion of architecture is engrained in the civic fabric of Chicago.&rdquo;</p><p>He also pointed to a favorite project of his, the Chicago Riverwalk, as an example of how changing a space can improve the mood of an environment.</p><p>&ldquo;As cities have a renaissance, how we think of sustainability, how we think or urban planning and creating a space of commonality, can make a difference in the livelihood of a city,&rdquo; Emanuel said.</p><p>The Chicago Architecture Biennial is free and open to the public. Designs are on display at the Chicago Cultural Center. There are a number of projects scattered around the city and along the lakefront. The exhibition opens Sunday and also includes free architecture tours.</p><p><em>Meredith Francis is a WBEZ news intern. Follow her<a href="https://twitter.com/MMLFrancis"> @MMLFrancis</a>.</em></p></p> Thu, 01 Oct 2015 15:50:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/chicago-begins-inaugural-celebration-built-environments-weekend-113147 New plan is released for Lucas Museum http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift/2015-09-18/new-plan-released-lucas-museum-112977 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/lucas museum ap.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>The group behind the <a href="http://www.lucasmuseum.org/">Lucas Museum of Narrative Art</a> has unveiled a new, more scaled-down design that it hopes will appeal to city officials who have to sign off on the plan. The proposed museum would house everything from Norman Rockwell paintings to Stars Wars memorabilia to digital art, all from the personal collection of director George Lucas. And it would become part of Chicago&rsquo;s museum campus on the lakefront.</p><p>The initial design released last year received a lot of backlash, so how does this fresh take compare? We&rsquo;re joined by <a href="https://twitter.com/BlairKamin?ref_src=twsrc%5Egoogle%7Ctwcamp%5Eserp%7Ctwgr%5Eauthor">Blair Kamin, Chicago Tribune</a> architecture critic, for his take.&nbsp;</p></p> Fri, 18 Sep 2015 11:34:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift/2015-09-18/new-plan-released-lucas-museum-112977 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 Nice pipes: The inner workings of Buckingham Fountain http://www.wbez.org/series/curious-city/nice-pipes-inner-workings-buckingham-fountain-112844 <p><p>San Francisco has the Golden Gate Bridge. For New York City, it&rsquo;s the Statue of Liberty. Chicago? It&rsquo;s got Buckingham Fountain, an icon that mingles water, multi-colored lights, and granite, as well as bronze and pink georgia marble. Not to mention a jet that sprays water to seemingly impossible heights.</p><p>The fountain&rsquo;s wow factor has entranced questioner Alan Ireland, an HVAC contractor and a self-described &ldquo;pump guy.&rdquo; While growing up in Chicago, he wondered how the fountain works and heard lore of a hidden engineer who kept the displays going. Combined, those led him to ask Curious City:</p><p dir="ltr" style="text-align: center;"><em>I hear that Buckingham Fountain is run off of one individual pump and that there is one employee whose responsibility it is to keep the fountain running. Is that true?</em></p><p>Well, we got enough special access to answer Alan&rsquo;s question about the fountain&rsquo;s inner-workings, but as we learned more about the history, we also encountered a fascinating backstory about how Chicago came to have this grand landmark in the first place. Here&rsquo;s a hint: The fountain was a compromise &mdash; a way to establish a public lakefront without creating too much clutter.</p><p>But first ...</p><p><span style="font-size:24px;">What does it take to make Buckingham Fountain tick?</span></p><p>When I ask Alan to describe the childhood legends he&rsquo;d heard, he says, &ldquo;This might come out really wrong, but like the troll under the bridge that keeps the bridge going or whatever. That sounds terrible. ... Let&rsquo;s call it the lighthouse keeper!&rdquo;</p><p>Instead of the proverbial troll under the bridge, we find tall, blue-eyed Eric Kelmar, an assistant chief engineer for the <a href="http://www.chicagoparkdistrict.com/parks/clarence-f-buckingham-memorial-fountain/">Chicago Park District</a>. He manages the team of about five engineers who tend to Buckingham Fountain. Kelmar explains that due to the high priority of site, &ldquo;We try to keep it to a small family of people who operate it daily.&rdquo;</p><p>Every morning, from April 1 through mid-October, one of Kelmar&rsquo;s team throws on a pair of waders and pulls out any debris that birds may have lodged in the fountain&rsquo;s screens and baskets overnight.</p><p>Then, at 8:00 a.m., the engineer manually starts up the fountain. An hour later, the first water-show begins. Kelmar says the fountain&rsquo;s center jet can shoot water as high as 150 feet in the air, depending on wind conditions. That&rsquo;s 15 stories.</p><p>How many pumps does it take to pull that off?</p><p>Kelmar takes me down into Buckingham Fountain&rsquo;s underground pump room, which has three big pumps, each one being <em>original</em> 1927 DeLaval hardware. Their combined power totals 575 horsepower. (For context, a car in 1927 ran on 25 horsepower. Today, the average Toyota Corolla has approximately 140 horsepower.)</p><p>Kelmar says these old pumps require TLC, but they are built to last. &ldquo;Five years ago, we had them completely pulled out of the pump house and rewound, and they said there&#39;s no reason to replace [them],&rdquo; he says. &ldquo;They were well-built and, with the new upgrades, they could last another 100 years.&rdquo;</p><p><iframe frameborder="0" height="424" id="iframe" scrolling="no" src="//flickrit.com/slideshowholder.php?height=414&amp;width=620&amp;size=medium&amp;speed=stop&amp;count=8&amp;setId=72157657768098549&amp;caption=on&amp;counter=true&amp;credit=1&amp;theme=1&amp;thumbnails=0&amp;transition=0&amp;layoutType=fixed&amp;sort=0" width="620"></iframe></p><p>No planned obsolescence here. In fact, Kelmar says that if they were to replace the original pumps, they would need about 24 modern pumps to do the same job.</p><p>In the past, the fountain&rsquo;s pumps were operated manually. Two engineers would alternate 12 hour shifts: 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. You can still see the original bronze levers they used to control those pumps upstairs in the fountain&rsquo;s control room.</p><p>The fountain&rsquo;s light-show was also analog. The engineer would improvise each show on a complicated light board, littered with dozens of dimmers and switches. Chicago Park District historian Julia Bachrach explains that the engineer&rsquo;s creative decisions were not well-received.</p><p>&ldquo;In 1932, there were complaints that the engineer had garish taste and that he didn&#39;t know how to mix the colors properly to make a beautiful light show,&rdquo; Bachrach says. &ldquo;So they brought in a theatrical lighting designer to help kind of create a program.&rdquo;</p><p>The light system went automatic in 1968 and, according to Bachrach, the fountain was computerized in 1980. The fountain&rsquo;s first computer was a Honeywell system which, from 1983 to 1994, was run out of a Honeywell office in Atlanta, Georgia. Later, the computer was moved to the Chicago suburb of Arlington Heights, before operations came full circle to the fountain&rsquo;s own control room. Today the fountain runs on an Allen-Bradley Programmable Logic Controller.</p><p>But, you can still override the system with the flip of a switch. Kelmar shows me the control panel, which sports an array of labeled switches: &ldquo;SEA HORSES,&rdquo; &ldquo;MUSHROOMS,&rdquo; &ldquo;ISOLATED JETS,&rdquo; and &ldquo;INNER TOP BOWL.&quot;</p><p>Opting for the seahorses, of course, I throw the switch from &ldquo;auto&rdquo; to &ldquo;off&rdquo; and, after a 13-second delay, the valves in the fountain&rsquo;s seahorses close. A loud sound emanates from the pump room below our feet and (voila!) the seahorses stop spitting. After a moment, the computer catches up, and the seahorses on the system&rsquo;s display change from green to red.</p><p>I quickly flip the switch back before any tourists get agitated. I wouldn&rsquo;t want to ruin any selfies.</p><p><span style="font-size:24px;">The backstory on why the fountain&rsquo;s so grand</span></p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/grant%20park%201906.jpg" style="height: 286px; width: 620px;" title="Grant Park pictured in 1906, before the area was beautified. (Library of Congress)" /></p><p>The fountain&rsquo;s pumps were built to last, but they were also built to impress. But ... impress whom? And why? Bachrach says it&rsquo;s important to understand what was in Grant Park before 1927, when Buckingham Fountain was completed. To set the scene, she explains that the area was mostly ash, trash and debris. &ldquo;For years and years, there was this raw, kind of landfill, just flat dirt terrain,&rdquo; she says.</p><p>The public debated what to do with this eyesore. Some people wanted to erect a massive building that celebrated everything splendid and grand. Inspired by the extravagant French <a href="http://en.chateauversailles.fr/homepage">Palace of Versailles</a>, this faction craved a building that would truly establish Grant Park as the seat of architectural excellence.</p><p>Mail-order magnate Montgomery Ward opposed such a building. Ward was a major entrepreneur and, like Chicago&rsquo;s founding fathers, he felt the city&rsquo;s lakefront should remain <a href="https://chipublib.bibliocommons.com/item/show/1050707081">&ldquo;Forever Open, Clear, &amp; Free.&rdquo;</a> Plus, his office had a great view of the lake.</p><p>In 1909 Ward got his way, and architect Edward Bennett began building a compromise. Bachrach says Bennett must have asked himself, &ldquo;If you couldn&#39;t have the palace of Versailles as the visual focal point for the park, what would you do?&rdquo; According to Bachrach, Bennett &ldquo;created what was then believed to be the world&#39;s largest fountain ... inspired by a beautiful fountain at Versailles.&rdquo; (That fountain is <a href="http://latone.chateauversailles.fr/en/page/the-latona-fountain/history-of-the-latona-fountain">the Latona Basin</a>, to be precise. And Buckingham Fountain is about twice its size.)</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/BuckinghamArchival%28JB%29%281%29%20%281%29.jpg" style="height: 465px; width: 620px;" title="Buckingham Fountain in construction before its opening in 1927. (Photo courtesy Chicago Park District)" /></div><p>Bennett had found the perfect balance; his fountain would celebrate the architectural grandeur that was in vogue at the time, without obstructing the view of the lakefront. But he had a problem: Taxpayers would not fund such an opulent project, no matter how unobtrusive its design. So Bennett approached philanthropist Kate Buckingham, whom Bachrach describes as a real character.</p><p>&ldquo;She was known for being very sort of cavalier,&rdquo; Bachrach says. &ldquo;She was a woman who would speak her mind. I&#39;ve heard she didn&#39;t mind using bad language occasionally.&rdquo;</p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/kate buckingham.jpg" style="height: 376px; width: 250px; float: right;" title="Kate Buckingham, 1930. (The Art Institute of Chicago)" /></div><p>Buckingham&rsquo;s family had made a fortune in grain elevators and she was the last remaining heir. Bachrach says that Buckingham asked Bennett and his team how much the fountain would cost. According to Bachrach, Bennett gave an estimate of about $300,000.</p><div class="image-insert-image ">Ever the generous woman, Buckingham decided to fund the fountain and to name it in memory of her late brother, Clarence. She liked the idea of building a beautiful, democratic space where everyone from secretaries to executives could come eat their lunches, chitchat and enjoy the lake.</div><p>Bennett&rsquo;s final design was meant to celebrate Lake Michigan, with one bronze seahorse for each of the four states bordering the lake. All of the bronze work was done by an up-and-coming French sculptor named Marcel Loyau, who was later awarded the <em>Prix National</em>, a prestigious French art award, for designing the fountain&rsquo;s sculptural elements.</p><p>Clearly, construction wasn&rsquo;t cheap. &ldquo;By the time all was said and done, she donated slightly over a million dollars,&rdquo; Bachrach says. &ldquo;Which included $750,000 to build the fountain and a $300,000 endowment.&rdquo; (All told, this adds up to more than <a href="http://www.bls.gov/data/inflation_calculator.htm">$13 million in today&rsquo;s figures</a>.)</p><p>Finally, on August 26, 1927, The Clarence Buckingham Memorial Fountain was ready for the public.</p><p>&ldquo;At the time that it was dedicated, they had a lot of hoopla, they knew this was a big deal,&rdquo; Bachrach says. &ldquo;John Philip Sousa&#39;s orchestra played <em>Pomp and Circumstance</em>. ... Tens of thousands of Chicagoans gathered, they say 50,000. ... And, of course, Kate Buckingham was in attendance.&rdquo;</p><p><span style="font-size:24px;">Does the fountain still captivate?</span></p><p>Buckingham Fountain made quite the impression on the citizens of Chicago. A week after the dedication, a <em><a href="http://archives.chicagotribune.com/1927/09/04/page/1/article/fountain-adds-new-beauty-to-chicagos-life/index.html">Chicago Tribune</a></em> columnist waxed poetic:</p><blockquote><p>&ldquo;In a week the Buckingham fountain has captured the imagination of the town, enlarged its aesthetic sense, and done it spiritual good. &nbsp;&hellip; It is the lyric of the lake. It will never grow old or commonplace.&rdquo;</p></blockquote><p>But, almost 100 years later, does Buckingham Fountain still capture the city&rsquo;s imagination?</p><p><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="349" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/FlP2aTqkJas?rel=0&amp;showinfo=0" width="620"></iframe></p><p>It&rsquo;s certainly Chicago&rsquo;s calling card. If there&rsquo;s an establishing shot of the Windy City in a film or <a href="https://youtu.be/FlP2aTqkJas?t=4m32s">a television series</a>, chances are it depicts Buckingham Fountain in the foreground, juxtaposed with Chicago&rsquo;s modern skyline just behind. Pick up <a href="https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/236x/4b/c5/74/4bc57416918be23dd90b96a8a5271a41.jpg">a tourist brochure of Chicago</a>, and it&rsquo;s likely that Buckingham Fountain is one of the first images you&rsquo;ll see inside. In 2008, President-elect Barack Obama gave his victory speech in Grant Park as throngs of people encircled the fountain to listen to him speak. And, there are more than a few videos floating around the Internet of different flash mobs dancing in front of the fountain before someone inevitably gets down on one knee and pops the question. (<a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X_l7Gf6mEOY">She says yes</a>).</p><p>For an informal survey, I talk to tourists zipping around on segways, a model posing for the camera in a long, white dress, and people cooling off in the fountain&rsquo;s spray. Everyone I talk to is impressed with this place, including Kevin Doerksen, a native Chicagoan who runs a professional tour company. He says that when people visit the city, Buckingham Fountain is on the top of his itinerary, but not necessarily for the site&rsquo;s historical merits. With a shrug, he explains that people want to see the fountain from the opening credits of the nineties sitcom, &lsquo;<a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p8t5cOjlEPU">Married With Children</a>.&rsquo; Inevitably, he says, &ldquo;We always want to come down and see the Al Bundy Memorial Fountain.&rdquo;</p><p>Barabas Shane from Atlanta, Georgia, beams as he snaps a picture of the fountain. &ldquo;We love &lsquo;Married With Children,&rsquo;&rdquo; he says. &ldquo;I finally got to see it and it&#39;s real,&rdquo; he gushes. &ldquo;I was like, this couldn&#39;t be real. But this is beautiful.&rdquo;</p><p>As the <em>Tribune</em> writer predicted, it seems Buckingham Fountain has grown neither old nor commonplace, after all.</p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/AlanIreland9-1%28AI%29%281%29.png" style="height: 384px; width: 300px; float: left;" title="Curious Citizen Alan Ireland inspired our investigation into fountain and its history. (Courtesy of Alan Ireland)" /><span style="font-size:24px;">Alan Ireland, Curious Citizen</span></p><p>Alan Ireland, 35, grew up in north suburban Libertyville. When Ireland was a kid, his family would frequently take trips into the city. &ldquo;We always made it a point to walk down towards Buckingham Fountain, just to watch all the pumps go,&rdquo; Ireland explains. &ldquo;So it was always just kind of a really cool, neat fountain, cause you don&#39;t see a lot of those in America and the magnitude of it is pretty awesome.&rdquo;</p><p>Ireland&rsquo;s interest in pumps runs in the family. In fact, he oversees operations and sales for the family business, Ireland Heating and Air Conditioning. Ireland explains that his work entails everything from &ldquo;forced air and hot water pumps, water pumps, and things of that nature for both residential and commercial facilities in the northern suburbs.&rdquo;</p><p>But Ireland&rsquo;s curiosity about Buckingham Fountain isn&rsquo;t purely technical. &ldquo;I think the inner workings of the city of Chicago and the backbone and the tunnel systems and everything else that keeps the city running ... &nbsp;It&#39;s just really curious to see the marvels that nobody really looks at or even thinks about on a daily basis.&rdquo;</p><p>Ireland now lives in Chicago&rsquo;s Andersonville neighborhood. In his spare time, he is a member of the Chicago Metropolitan Sports Association.</p><p><em>Chloe Prasinos is an independent reporter and producer based in Chicago. Follow her <a href="https://twitter.com/chloeprasinos" target="_blank">@chloeprasinos</a>. </em></p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Buckingham8-18(AT)(1).jpg" style="height: 465px; width: 620px;" title="Alison Troldahl, left, and daughter, Milayna Boswell, right, break from their segway tour to talk with producer Chloe Prasinos, center, about the fountain. They only asked for a selfie in return. (Courtesy of Alison Troldahl)" /></div></p> Fri, 04 Sep 2015 14:52:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/series/curious-city/nice-pipes-inner-workings-buckingham-fountain-112844 “Starchitect” Helmut Jahn to make his mark Chicago yet again http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift/2015-08-11/%E2%80%9Cstarchitect%E2%80%9D-helmut-jahn-make-his-mark-chicago-yet-again-112618 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/mansueto library FlickrJohn Zacherle.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>German-born, Chicago-trained architect Helmut Jahn is set to make his mark on the City of the Big Shoulders yet again. 1000 South Michigan Avenue is an empty lot now, but soon it could be the latest architectural attraction in a city full of them thanks to Jahn&rsquo;s sought-after imprint. Crain&rsquo;s Chicago Business real estate reporter Dennis Rodkin gives us the details.</p></p> Tue, 11 Aug 2015 10:47:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift/2015-08-11/%E2%80%9Cstarchitect%E2%80%9D-helmut-jahn-make-his-mark-chicago-yet-again-112618