• Featured,  Form,  Travel

    The Builders

    Within the Midwest, the cities of Minneapolis and Saint Paul, Minnesota exemplify some of the most iconic regional takes on 19th and 20th century architectural and design movements. From the Beaux-Arts grandeur of the Cathedral of Saint Paul and the Art Deco stylings of the Foshay Tower, to more recent works like Frank Gehry’s stainless steel Weisman Art Museum and Jean Nouvel’s contemporary Guthrie Theater re-build, both skylines are peppered with structures that continue to push the form. This fall, a new exhibit at the Mill City Museum—housed in the ruins of a 19th century flour mill—will reflect on the perhaps unfamiliar history of three architects and builders who helped…

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    Restoration icon

    Since its establishment in 1889, the Auditorium Theatre in Chicago’s Grant Park neighborhood has been an integral piece of the area’s architectural record and community engagement efforts. Many know the theatre for its distinctive original architecture by one of Chicago’s most influential design pair, Louis Sullivan and Dankmar Adler, but it is also known for an extensive restorative effort that began in the 1960s and continues today. In July 2019, the League of Historic American Theatres recognized the Auditorium Theatre for its restorative and programmatic achievements thus far, presenting it with the award for 2019 Outstanding Historic Theatre at the LHAT’s National Conference in Philadelphia. “The historic Auditorium stood out…

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    Wisconsin’s Highland

    At just 20-years-old, young entrepreneur Elle Kaderabek made the move to become a business owner with the purchase and renovation of what was previously known as Kessler’s Old World Guesthouse in Cleveland, Wisconsin. Renamed by Kaderabek after the highlander cow, Highland Lodge is a rustic-modern, eight-room hotel with plans for additional expansion. The hotel, originally opened in 2002, was previously owned by Frank Kessler and Kay Kessler and was designed to authentically represent German-style buildings. The couple, who frequently visited Germany, decorated the inn with memorabilia from their trips, according to Kaderabek. “When [Kessler] left, he left all his German art, memorabilia, and beds in the hotel. It was a…

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    Embodied carbon

    In May 2019, the overall value of construction work done in the United States totaled more than $1.29 billion, according to the U.S. Census Bureau’s Value of Construction Put in Place Survey. In the same month, Michigan’s second largest city, Grand Rapids, spent $13 million on new construction alone and has undergone some measures to ensure a sustainable future in tandem with its continuing developmental upswing. It is one district among a network of urban areas participating in the 2030 Challenge for Planning, which is a national initiative focused on carbon-neutrality, and cutting water usage and transportation emissions in half by 2030. To continue the effort, the United States Green…

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    Varied in form

    It was a home economics textbook that led Chicago-based fashion designer Masha Titievsky to discover the career opportunities in the field. Then, a high school student with an interest in figure drawing—and a path carved in business—she set out to merge the two tracks; later studying fashion and entrepreneurship at institutions like Parsons School of Design in New York City, Bocconi University in Milan, and Indiana University Bloomington Kelley School of Business. Titievsky’s journey in the formation of her current label, VARYFORM, is rich in research. An artist from the start, her studies and interest in art history and the artistic process have continually influenced her crafted garments and current…

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    Spatialized success

    For the design-make architecture studio of Synecdoche Design Studio in Ann Arbor, Michigan, design is a key ingredient that can be used to spatialize a business model, according to Principal Architect Lisa Sauve, AIA, NCARB, ASID, IIDA. The studio was recently recognized for its skills in the area—this concept of giving spatial form or consideration of in space relations—with an award for best low-budget project at the 2019 AIA Michigan Honor Awards Ceremony in June for its transformation of Thrive Juicery in Ann Arbor. The design of the approximately 1,800-square-foot interior was informed by the juicery’s core values—health and wellness—around which Synecdoche rotated a variety of tools for creating custom…

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    Placemaking

    A full-service architectural practice in Grand Rapids, Michigan approaches sustainability through a modernist lens. The Grand Rapids, Michigan-based architectural and planning—and recently, interior design—firm of Mathison|Mathison Architects has become known for its creation of elevated-modern, high-profile homes throughout the United States. Yet, Evan Mathison, co-founding principal architect, noted there are some who may not realize the firm’s breadth of award-winning commercial projects in its portfolio that highlight an affinity for sustainable and experiential design solutions. From sculptural public pavilions that interpret the concept of shelter, to renovations fusing historic design with modern sustainability; many Mathison|Mathison Architects, or MMA, projects create meaningful experiences among space, structure, and user—and ameliorate the natural…

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    A royal renovation

    In Evanston, Illinois—a city defined by its tree-lined sidewalks and collection of homes—architecture is a diverse language. Beaux-Arts, Prairie, Italianate, Victorian, Arts and Crafts, and Queen Anne are dialects spoken across intersections and around block corners, passing down their stories through iconic massing, decorative ornamentation, gables, brick and stone, gently sloped rooflines, and the occasional tower or turret. In the renovation of this particular Queen Anne residence, a style known for its irregular roof shapes, bay windows, dramatic massing, and multiple gables and dormers, the homeowners envisioned a design respectful of the heritage in its walls and wove in dynamic elements reflective of their young family lifestyle. Once the home…

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    Revived colonial

    “When you work in older homes, whether [people] are going to keep the same essence or want to be a little avant-garde—do something transitional or modern on the inside, but maintain the outside— there is stuff going on in that house from the past. Most people like to find out what is going on, and we kind of disassemble and reassemble—it is a great experience,” said Michael Menn, AIA, CGR, CAPS, CGP, principal architect at Michael Menn Ltd. in Northbrook, Illinois. Michael Menn Ltd. is an architectural and planning firm providing design-and-build services to clients throughout Chicago’s North Shore and the greater Phoenix, Arizona areas. The private practice was initially…