Monday, February 28, 2011

The Raw and the Cooked: The Peshtigo is dead. Long live 500 North Lake Shore?

When developer Related Midwest announced it in 2007, the Peshtigo did not seem one of  Ralph Johnson's most felicitous designs.  58 stories tall,  massive and top-heavy, with a massive parking podium at the base, it seemed a long way from the Perkins+Will's architect's more elegant designs - the Contemporaine, Skybridge, The Clare, and last year's dash-dotted facaded 235 West Van Buren
The Peshtigo's hammer head profile was an expression of its irregular floor plan, with Johnson replacing the standard glass box with what he described as a "bent bar", with multiple angles designed to provide minimal corridors and a maximized perimeter. 

The view from the west was even bulkier . . .
It was to be called The Peshtigo because of the street on which it was to be built, block-long Peshtigo Court, home for decades to Mundie, Jensen's 1937 streamlined Kraft Cheese Company building.  After the corporation fled to the suburbs, the structure was purchased by the Chicago Police Department, and in 2003 it was demolished.

Some have commented that Peshtigo was not exactly a good luck charm as a name.  It's best known for the great fire of Peshtigo, Wisconsin, which occurred the same evening, October 8, 1871, as the far more famous Great Chicago Fire, but was vastly more deadly.  Final estimates of the dead in Chicago ranged upwards to 300.  The Great Peshtigo Fire, raging through the town largely built by former Chicago mayor William Ogden to service his vast lumber holdings, was estimated to have killed between 1,200 to 2,400.

In the final analysis, however, it wasn't bad kharma or irregular design that killed The Peshtigo, but a collapsing economy.   It was intended to have 358 condominium units near the top of luxury pricing.  The units were larger than usual, the smallest 882 square feet.  But early on, there were snippings that those luxury prices came with generic quality finishes and appliances.  And then came the crash.

The Peshtigo is dead.  Ralph Johnson is out; Solomon Cordwell Buenz is in.  Courtesy of 42nd Ward alderman Brendan Reilly, who's holding a community meeting on the revised project at the Sheraton this Wednesday, we give you - 500 North Lake Shore Drive:
click images for larger view
. . . 120 feet shorter, a half million square feet smaller, with as many as 150 more units, as small as 600 square feet, cheaper price points, and at least 400 parking spaces in a bustle that looks like SCB spirited away the bottom of Brininstool & Lynch's 550 North St. Clair.
So we're back to the elegant glass box, with Buenos Notches, a la Legacy, but no trademark SCB curved corner.  Eminently reasonable. Very clean.  Not overbearing - plays well with its neighbors.  Has a little park.  Several steps above everything around it.

So why am I feeling a pang of loss that we'll never be able to grow to love the brawny, lopsided pug?

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Pecha Kucha, Abalos +Sentkiewicz, Pennoyer, Grospierre, Benjamin Marshall, Ed Uhlir, McKim,Mead, David Woodhouse, Nieto and Sobejano, and Mies's 125th - check out the March calendar! (now with more exclamation points!!!!)

If you can find something that interests you on the March Calendar of Chicago Architectural Events, you must be dead.

The month begins with a bang this Tuesday the 1st , with Pecha Kucha Volume 17, and a range of presenters from activist and education reformer Bill Ayers, Studio Gang, world architecture mapper Chris Botham, architect/design Ania Jaworska and many more.  As always, the month is heavily front-loaded, and it also includes SEAOI's dinner program on the Wacker Drive Reconstruction, and a panel discussion at the Graham featuring Jeanne Gang and John Petersen marking the publication of the new book, The Power of Pro Bono. On Wednesday, the 2nd, Jonathan Fine of Preservation Chicago unveils of the Chicago 7 Most Endangered Historic Places of 2011 at CAF,  and Iñaki Abalos + Renata Sentkiewicz lecture at UIC.  On Thursday, the 3rd, Peter Pennoyer discusses Re-Imaging Architectural Traditions for ICA  at Driehaus Museum/Nickerson Mansion, while photographer Nicolas Grospierre speaks at the opening reception for the Graham's new exhibition of his work, One Thousand Doors, No Exit, and Whitney French, Director of Farnsworth House, discusses Mies van der Rohes iconic work at the Oak Park Public Library.  On Friday, the 4th, The Benjamin Marshall Society has a fundraising gala at the Drake celebrating the Centennial Anniversary of East Lake Shore Drive.

A documentary on the 100 women architects and designers who worked with Frank Lloyd Wright screens at CAF on the 9th, where Dhiru Thadani talks about his book, The Language of Towns & Cities on the 10th and the recent work of Wheeler Kearns is subject on Wednesday, the 23rd.  Ed Uhlir discusses Millennium Park's Future in the Post Daley-Era at the Great Cities Institute on the Thursday, the 10th, the same day David Woodhouse lectures on Pavilions in the Parks: Selected New Buildings at the Oak Park Public Library.  Mosette Frederick discusses her new book, Triumvirate: MicKim, Mead & White, Art, Architecture, Scandal and Class in America's Gilded Age, at the Driehaus.  AIA/Chicago offers a tour of Florian Architects' new Hyde Park Bank Loan Processing Center on Tuesday, the 17th, the same day Rolf Achilles and Christoph Lichtenfield discuss the 1933-34 Armco-Ferro house for Landmarks Illinois at the Chicago Cultural Center, while the same group holds its annual Legendary Landmarks gala at the Ritz-Carlton on the 31st.  Also  on the 31st, Barbara Geiger, author of the upcoming Low-Key Genius, a biography of landscape designer O.C. Simonds, has a lecture at the Second Presbyterian church. A three-day Structures for Inclusion conference brings together activists, designers, funders and policy makers at SAIC on the 25th through the 27th.

Mies's 125th birthday is celebrated at his Crown Hall at IIT on Monday, the 28th, and on the 30th, a lecture by architects Fuensanta Nieto & Enrique Sobejano marks the opening of a new exhibition, Young Architects of Spain, at the Instituto Cervantes.

And did I mention this is just a sampling of what's coming up in March?  We're already at over 50 great events.  Check out the complete March calendar here.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Chicago Streetscene: Trojan Pig

This seems a pretty offbeat way for the Field Museum to promote it's new exhibition, The Horse, running through August 14, by I have to admit, I'm amused.  Wasn't it Cassandra who cried out, "Beware the bacon!"?

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Chicago Streetscene: After Image

click image for larger view

Monday, February 21, 2011

I'm Voting for Miguel del Valle

There will now be a ten second pause for you to respond, "Who Cares?" 

If you're willing to indulge me a bit further . . .

Rahm Emanuel has been anointed - by the pollsters, by the media, by the smart money - as our next mayor-for-life.  His television ads punch through the theme that he's "strong", he's "tough."  No dispute,  those are qualities any successful politician requires.  But I suggest the last thing Chicago needs right now is still another "strongman" mayor, the kind of person who knows how to crack the whip, centralize the power, and make it either his way or the highway.

That's exactly the kind of monopoly of power, and vacuum of leadership, that's brought Chicago to its current crisis crossroads. 

There's a 1966 film, Faraon, or Pharoah, from director Jerzy Kawalerowicz.  It begins with the image of two sacred beetles fighting to the death in the scorching desert, and it follows the story of Ramses XIII and his struggle to unite squabbling forces to rise up and oppose the corruption of the all-powerful temple priests.  Finally, he wins them over, gains their trust, and they all gather before the palace, waiting for him, to lead them into the epic battle on which the future of the kingdom will be decided.  And they wait. In the blazing, pitiless sun they wait.  The massive assembled forces grow listless, and begin to realize they are powerless.  What they do not know, but will soon find out, is Pharoah, the one, indispensable man, has been assassinated.  The camera moves forward into the palace.  Forward, into nothing but darkness.

Chicago is not Egypt, nor, despite the title of a fine biography of Richard J. Daley, were either he or his son Pharoahs.  They both came to be seen, however, as indispensable men.  Election after election, they were re-elected with massive majorities, as fewer and fewer voters cared enough to show up to vote.  They began to believe their own press clippings, the words of the various sycophants with which they surrounded themselves.  They made stupid mistakes, because there was no real opposition to save them from themselves.  Hence the parking meter deal, the emptying out of the billions from the privitization deals to buy time time rather than address critical problems.  Last year, Mayor Richard M. Daley bet everything on the 2016 Olympics - admitting he had "nothing else up his sleeve" to secure the city's future - and he lost, big-time.  He had become such a big fish in his local pond it never occured to him that, when it came to the International Olympics Committee, he might not be the only one who could play under-the-table hardball politics.

The triumph of Mayor Richard M. Daley's later terms - Millennium Park - was an illustration of a different way of doing things.  It succeeded because he got of the way and let others run the show.
Daley's Millennium Park, which his various minions rushed to complete by the new century's start to gain favor with their king, was a dismal failure.  The co-authored Millennium Park - of Penny Pritzker, Frank Gehry, Jaume Plensa, Anish Kapoor, John Bryan, Ed Uhlir and SOM - was a smashing international success.  Contrast it to the fiasco of the Chicago Children's Museum, which, despite Daley's bullying rants and determination to muscle it through single-handed, has gone nowhere. Thank goodness.

At this crossroads in Chicago's history, we don't need another strongman.  We don't need another ever smaller coterie of trusted loyalists rotating from heading one agency to the next as if government were a kind of shell game. 

What we do need is a very deep bench, drawn from the best minds of the city, and a leader who can bring them together and keep them focused.

I am not convinced Rahm Emanuel is that man.  He is a creature of the machine.  Dick Mell got him elected to Congress and he appears the first choice of many of the same roster of miscreants in his run for Mayor.  His campaign has been intentionally vague, devoid of specifics, and replete with platitudes.

We are being asked to elect him on faith, on the strength of his character, but the only really strong part of his campaign is the unstated assumption that there is really no other choice.  It is possible, I concede, that Mr. Emanuel could confound us, not be a captive of the old school hacks, bring the needed creativity to Chicago government, and enlist the quality of people we need to get the job done. 

For me, however, I've seen how this movie plays out too many times to expect a different ending this time.

Of the other major candidates, Gery Chico presents himself as independent, but he is also very much a creature of the old machine, a former Daley chief of staff, and far too close to corrupt old wolves like Ed Burke.  When serving in the Illinois legislature, Carol Mosely Braun was the epitome of a progressive legislator, but she seems to have lost her way.  Her recent gaffes, such as hurling out a delusional charge that her opponent was "strung out on crack", makes her appear unhinged.  Our mayors-for-life already seem to veer toward the unhinged by the end of their reigns.  Why would we want a mayor who starts out that way?

Which brings us to Miguel del Valle.  Because he speaks quietly, he assumes the risk of being perceived as weak.  Because his independent credentials are impeccable, going all the way back to support Harold Washington's first campaign, and defeating a crook like Tom Keane to become Illinois' first Latino Senator, you might be tempted to see him as a marginal outsider.  But this was the man Richard M. Daley turned to, appointing him City Clerk, an office del Valle's used to make Chicago government more efficient and transparent.

When you read his answers to questionnaires, you don't get the sense of something written by committee, vetted and revetted until everyone's sure no one will be offended, but carefully reasoned, thoughtful, personal responses.  He is a proven - not promised - progressive, a champion of working people, not of the corporations that write the big campaign checks.  His integrity is not a matter for speculation, but a career constant. 

He is calm - a quality we need.  He is intelligent, beyond contention.  Not to romanticize poverty, but because he hasn't raised millions for big TV buys, he owes those special interests - nothing.  A very good place to begin. 

I know what's supposed to happen tomorrow.  I also remember that one definition of insanity is to keep repeating the same actions and expect a different result. 

I believe Miguel del Valle is exactly the clean break, the kind of competent, independent, and intelligent leader that Chicago requires to get us through this very difficult time.  You can check him out further on his website here.

That's why I'm voting for Miguel del Valle.  Join me if you dare.

Network Reset competition deadline today, Furniture Competition on Friday

Just a quick reminder that you have until 11:59 p.m. tonight (CST), February 21st,  to submit your entry for the Network Reset competition: Rethinking the Chicago Emerald Necklace.  Info here.  Our story on the competition and Chicago's boulevards here.
And Friday, February 25th, is the deadline for Architecture for Humanity/Chicago's 2011 Street Furniture competition.  Info here.

As you may have read elsewhere, there are three more interesting competitions now going on in Chicago.  More information later this week.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Tim Samuelson on Margaret Iannelli, Vidal-Hallett at Archeworks, Sharon Haar's City as Campus, Cantigny Park, Explore Engineering this Sunday - still more for February

Never too late to add more events to the February Calendar of Chicago Architectural Events.

This Sunday afternoon, February 20th, City of Chicago Cultural Historian Tim Samuelson will offer up Fragile Flower, a Talk on Margaret Iannelli, at the Park Ridge Community Church for the Kalo Foundation, which is fighting to save the endangered Alfonso Iannelli Studios in that suburb.

On Tuesday the 22nd, architect Carmen Vidal-Hallett will talk about Sustainable Planning: Curtiba, Brazil and Chicago's Edgewater, at Archeworks, while on Wednesday the 23rd, UIC's Sharon Haar will discuss and sign copies of her new book, The City as Campus, at the Jane Adams Hull House Museum.  Then on Thursday, the 24th, a new lecture series Pleasant Places: Architecture in the Parks continues with Joy Kaminsky talking about Cantigny Park: The Gardens and the McCormick House Museum.

Also this Sunday, February 20th, there's a great all-day event, Explore Engineering - How do they do that? at the Chicago Architecture Foundation.  It's part of the 2011 Chicagoland  Engineers Week, "a day-long festival of fun, hands-on activities designed to help families discover what engineers do, try out activities, have fun building, constructing, and solving engineering challenges."  More information on all the activities here.

There are still nearly two dozen great events still to come in February.  Check them all out here.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

The Big Question no one seems to be asking Rahm, but should

Mr. Emanuel:

In it's recent history, Chicago has been run in the most part by just two mayors, each of whom served more than two decades.  In both cases, the early terms were marked by conciliation, inclusiveness, optimism and high achievement; the later terms by increasing divisiveness, intolerance of alternate viewpoints, crises of management, and growing frustration.  In both cases, as incumbency was leveraged to accumulate ever great power, ultimately the response to every question  and challenge the city faced came to be perceived as being all but completely dependent on the opinion or whim of just one man.  As an acute observer of both government and politics, you certainly understand that this process results in a lack of depth in civic leadership, just at the moment when the problems of the city grow to where it is most essential.  As a student of Chicago history, you must also know that this question is neither marginal nor premature.

It is often said that George Washington's greatest gift to the new American republic was to set the pattern for a peaceful and orderly rotation of power by retiring from the Presidency at the end of his second term.  Mr. Emanuel, do you see yourself as the indispensable man that Chicago will require indefinitely, perhaps even to the end of your life, or will your administration move quickly to master our current challenges, and will you pledge to serve no more than two terms?

Sunday Reading: Black Hats, E-Books, hermit crab independent booksellers

New York Times initiates new Combined Print and E-Book Best Seller lists.  Also separate E-Book best seller lists.   Most fiction best-sellers sell equally well on HC and E.  For some reason John Grisham is low on HC (26), high on E (6) while Marrying Daisy Bellamy is high in HC (5) but only 18 on E. Mark Twain autobiography is big in HC (7), only 19 on E.  Lists take up 6 of the 36 pages of this week's Book Review section.  Soon will there be any room for actual reviews?

Elsewhere in the NYT, in The Dirty Little Secrets of Search, J.C. Penney's is "shocked, shocked" that a sudden surge to number 1 across a broad range of Google search terms, just in time for the holiday buying season, has been traced back to a black hat campaign not especially careful about leaving fingerprints.  And in a possibly - and possibly deceptively - promising note, Kate Gardiner links to a Rap Sheet report that three Waldenbooks outlets closed by the imploding Borders megachain have been replaced with independent booksellers.  When the dinosaurs die, will smaller, more supple organisms take their place?

Thursday, February 10, 2011

February calendar - now with more stuff!

At IIT, Michael Morris and Yoshiko Sato on the 18th, Perkins+Will's Ralph Johnson on the 23rd. Studio/lab's Marcia Lausen at UIC SoA on the 21st. Tomorrow, Friday the 11th, Extension Gallery fundraiser at Gensler. Check out all the details on the February calendar here. (thanks to Bob Johnson, this link actually works.)

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

Killing State Street's Character, one storefront at a time.

 click images for larger view
Blair Kamin may have gone tone-deaf last year when, from his Olympian perch at the Trib, he dismissed as beneath interest the destruction of Mies van der Rohe's Test Cell building at IIT, the modest building that was also happened to have served as the aesthetic south entry gate into the Miesian campus, but he's regained his bearings in an excellent piece on the threat to the sleek and suave Baker's store on State Street.

For decades the showplace for Chandler's shoes, it was part of the tardy arrival of modernism to what was then "that great street," Chicago's premiere shopping district. It had begun in the 1930's, with structures like Alfred S. Alschuler's Benson Rixon store at State and Quincy. You probably know it as that drab, dark building with the glass block that's been a McDonald's for as long as anyone can remember, but in 1937 it was an incredibly beautiful work of modernist elegance, as you can see in this shot sprinkled with the usual Hedrich Blessing pixie dust. (Still another view can be found here.)

Just to the south, the similarly elegant Bond clothing store was constructed in 1949, with Morris Lapidus as associate architect. It's striking granite facade was removed in 1981 and "modernized" with the banal glass curtain wall you see today.

Already lost is the incredibly handsome Baskin Store of 1947, which you can see to the right in this shot from Joe+Jeanette Archie's evocative Flickr collection of vintage photographs.
A classic international style design by Holabird & Root, it was destroyed in the 1990's without a second thought, to make room for the incredibly clunky chiller plant that stands on the site today.
As Kamin relates, the Chandler's store is now closed, and he writes that in the eyes of Thor Equities, which acquired the Palmer House just to the north in 2005, the shapely if derelict storefront is an affront "to the award-winning restoration of the Palmer House Hilton that his firm completed in 2008."

The irony of this is delicious. The truth of the matter is Thor had every attention of foisting on the Palmer House storefronts exactly the same kind of butchering "modernization" they have in mind for Baker's, with the blessings of a supine Commission on Chicago Landmarks. It was only when Landmarks Illinois and Preservation Chicago began to raise a stink that the Commission backtracked and mandated restoration of the original storefronts, which are what you see now.

If you want to get an idea of what Thor Equities considers good design, visit what was once the Palmer House's grand concourse between Wabash and State, now truncated at its midpoint into a small, ugly corridor, with the hotel's grand entrance on State, a street that the Palmer House was instrumental in defining as one of the world's premiere shopping venues, reduced to a clumsy, almost invisible service entrance.

That's the fate facing the Baker's store. It's ironic that so many seem to hate Miesian boxes, but they're quite content with retail design reduced to boxes with a vengeance, purged of any curves, irregularities - or character. (I hope I'm proven wrong, but just picturing in my mind what Target might do to the Louis Sullivan Carson Pirie Scott space makes me shudder.)

Blair sums it up well:
When Chandler’s opened on Nov. 26, 1948, it must have dazzled pedestrians accustomed to window-shopping at classically inspired State Street retail palaces like the Marshall Field & Co. store (now Macy’s). The store reflected a new preference for buildings that were airy, loosely balanced and abstract rather than massive, rigidly symmetrical and slathered with decoration.

A curving row of floor-to-ceiling windows (left) swept across the second-floor facade while splaying bands of display windows framed the deeply-recessed first-floor entry. The design, which anticipated the see-through Apple stores of today, sacrificed interior square footage for a visual drama meant to suck pedestrians in the door.
Sacrificing interior square footage? Sacrilege - he must be burned as a witch!

And yet, as Blair intimates, it seems to have worked out very well for Apple, which has some of the highest sales-per-square-foot in retail. But to get there, it means you have to "think different." Thor Equities appears to be interested only in picking the low-lying fruit.

Thanks to our reader BW, you can see a rendering of the new and "improved" facade to the right.  Thor Equities pitch for the site appears to depend on the gullibility of the lessee.  It describes State Street as home to "the original seven mammoth department stores,"  and brags of three of them being at the corner of State & Madison, while neglecting to mention that only one - Sears - exists today, and the second is on the verge of being turned over to a discount retailer.  (Also notice that in rendering, while the Baker's facade is destroyed the kitschy retrofit of the former Stanley Green's restaurant next door remains intact.)

You don't build brand equity for State Street by making it a generic could-be-anywhere.  You do it by building on its unique, historic qualities to set it apart and give people a reason to want to take a pass on the local strip mall to go there. We talk about constructed buildings having "embedded energy".   Well, historic architecture has embedded brand equity. Kamin quotes Lisa DiChiera of Landmarks Illinois as describing the Baker's store as "one of the last storefronts of this vintage style on State Street," and State of Illinois preservationist Anthony Rubano as calling it "the most progressive approach to high-end retail design."

The preservationists know we have a potential Apple quality store design in hand and want to restore its original quality and value. Thor Equities seem intent on replacing it with the kind of storefront only a Radio Shack could love.  If you want to create a premium product that commands premium rentals, upscaling the properties around it, why would you want to throw a splendid,  one-of-a-kind jewel like Baker's away?

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Chopin Broccoli in Grant Park: Dan Burnham, no, but this, tak?

As the ongoing all-media coverage of the medical travails of the CSO's Riccardo Muti would indicate, Chicago takes its music very seriously.  Grant Park is already home to memorials to CSO founder Theodore Thomas and it's late music director George Solti.   So it would seem a natural, especially considering Chicago's status of having a larger Polish population than any city outside of Warsaw, to add a monument to the great composer Frederic Chopin.

And the group Chopin Monument in Chicago plans to do just that, with a replica of sculptor Waclaw Szymanowski's Warsaw original, designed in 1907, cast and erected in 1926, destroyed by the Nazi's in 1940, and recast in 1958.  A full size replica already exists in Hamamatsu, Japan.

Apparently the project is already pretty far along, pretty much under the radar.  If you run, you can still catch the Grant Park Advisory's meeting on the proposed monument, starting at 7:00 tonight, Tuesday, February 8th, at Daley Bicentennial Plaza, 337 East Randolph. (If you attend, send me a report and I'll pass the information on.)

 No doubt about it; this thing is huge:
 click image for larger view

Not to be churlish, but is this really a good idea? 

I suppose if it gets built, it won't be a tragedy, but why is a handsome memorial to Daniel Burnham, designed by Chicago architect David Woodhouse, unacceptable, and this huge lump A-ok?

A monument to Chopin is a great idea, but isn't Chicago a world-class city, at the front rank of the global arts scene?  And, if we are, for Chopin and for Chicago, is this overscaled copy of a copy of a century-old design really the best we can do?

Sunday, February 06, 2011

Felsen and Solomon, Sou Fujimoto, Benjamin Marshall, Rapson in Hyde Park, Rain Screens and Paderewski at the Glessner - 6 Great events just added for February

See, we told you we weren't finished.  We've just added six great new events to the February Chicago Architectural Calendar.

IIT kicks off its 2011 lecture series with Workshopping Chicago: A Conversation with Martin Felsen and Jonathan Solomon, Monday, February 7th at Crown Hall at 6:00 p.m.  The following Tuesday, February 15th, again at Crown Hall at 6:00 p.m., Sou Fujimoto, of Sou Fujimoto Architects, Tokyo  Shinjuku, this years Morgenstern Visiting Chair, will lecture on the overview of his work, Primitive Future.

On Sunday, February 13th, docent and lecturer Steven Monz will present an illustrated talk, Benjamin Marshall, Architect, at the Northbrook Public Library.  The event leads up to a March 4th gala at the Drake Hotel to benefit the Benjamin Marshall Society, a fundraiser for the society's efforts to catalog Marshall's works and organize  an exhibition of them. 

Moving ahead about a  half century in architectural history, The Hyde Park Historical Society, at its annual dinner February 26th at the Quadrangle Club, will considering Preserving History in the Digital Age, with m.c. Jay Mulberry and featured speaker, the Trib's Ron Grossman.  This year's  Marian and Leon Depres Preservation Award will be presented to Leon and Rian Walker for the historic rehabilitation of Ralph Rapson's Willard Gidwitz House on south Woodlawn.

On Thursday, February 10th, Häfele’s Chicago showroom will be sponsoring a seminar on Rain Screen Wall Systems,  and on Thursday, February 17th, the Glessner House Museum will feature a talk by Victoria Granacki on Ignacy Jan Paderewski - Artist, Statesman, Humanitarian: The Chicago Connection.  Paderewski was one of many prominent musicians who gave concerts in the Glessner's music room.

There was over three dozen great events still to come in February.  Check them all out here.

Thursday, February 03, 2011

Aerialists and composers, gondolas and exposers, minimalists, subliminalists, Jakob, Wright, Mansueto, Shaw, lots maw - February Architectural events Tonight! (and at other hours, as well)

With snow-related cancellations, it's become a month shortened at each end, but the February Calendar of Chicago Architectural Events still has over three dozen great events.

An aerialist in Mie van der Rohe's Carr Chapel? Check.  The gondola as Venice's chariot in its race against Las Vegas? Check.  Did you know they've proposed a monument to Frederic Chopin in Grant Park?  We didn't either, but they have, and there's an event for that.

Plus Dominque Jakob at the Art Institute, Frank Lloyd Wright's SC Johnson Research Tower at CAF, Absolute Sullivan at the Cultural Center, Halvorson and Partners exposed, a hand's-on, day-long festival of engineering for kids, Ragdale, Men in Public Housing, a First Tuesday Happy Hour hung over into the second, a tour of Hoerr-Schaudt, Louis' Jewelbox Banks, engineering the subterranean, glass-domed Mansueto Library, Summit's Testa Produce, and - as they say - much, much more.

Check out all the who, when and where's for February here.

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

Avant Les Deluge: Mansueto Library (NOW RESCHEDULED) and AIA Happy Hour - two one NO great events today

Follow-up3: Tomorrow's CAF lunchtime lecture with Ward Miller and John Vinci is also being rescheduled. Right now, I would say the safest bet is to just presume everything's been cancelled until the spring thaw.

Follow-up2: Tonight's AIA Chicago Happy Hour has been rescheduled to February 8th, tomorrow's Integrated Home Communication Systems program at AIA Chicago has been postponed.

Follow-up central. Tonight's Mansueto event as been rescheduled.  Don't go to the Cliff Dwellers tonight unless you're a cave man looking to get out of the snow:
Due to weather conditions, we are rescheduling tonight’s dinner meeting to Tuesday, February 15.  It will still be at the Cliff Dwellers Club.  We hope you can still make it and will assume that you will be there unless we hear otherwise from you.
OK, we're behind on the February calendar: what else is new?

So we want to alert you to two events for Tuesday evening, February 1st:
click images for large view
Mansueto Library - James Swanson and Jonathan Sladek of Halvorsen and Partners will talk about engineering the University of Chicago's new Mansueto Library (which we've written about here, complete with video tour) for this month's dinner meeting of the Structural Engineers Association of Illinois at the Cliff Dwellers. Reservations required.  Info here.

First Tuesday Happy Hour - this month's get-together by the Young Architects Forum of AIA Chicago is at Theory on west Hubbard.  Info here:

sometime during the course of these events, there will be a pounding at the door . . .
So I'm kind of thinking all bets are off for Wednesday, February 2nd, but right now, Ward Miller and John Vinci are scheduled to talk about their amazing new book, The Complete Architecture of Adler and Sullivan at the 12:15 lunchtime lecture at the Chicago Architecture Foundation.  Break out your huskies and stop by. Info here.

Also on Wednesday, the 2nd, there's a second scheduled showing for the documentaries koolhaus houselife and Interview at the Siskel at 6:00 p.m.  info here.

Place your bets, ladies and gentlemen.  Place your bets.