• Creative Endeavors

    Film, developing

    David Alexander, a Chicago-based freelance-one-stop-shop filmmaker and videographer, has a background in everything from architecture and music videos to documentaries. Alexander has captured numerous high-income residential properties in the Windy City, including spaces like Lake Point Tower—a high-rise that houses condominiums overlooking Navy Pier and the rest of the cityscape—among others. It was about 10 years ago when Alexander was working as a car salesman, part of an industrial rock band, and renting out rooms in his house, when his passion for filmmaking sparked when a tenant-and-friend happened to show him a college project. “I was doing fine at Mercedes for six years, but I was desperate to get out…

  • 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…

  • Featured,  Relish

    Fine design

    In November 2017, Prime + Proper, a luxurious steakhouse experience, opened in Detroit, and quickly garnered attention for its elaborate interior design and approach to fine dining. Less than two years later in June 2019, McIntosh Poris Associates, the firm behind Prime + Proper’s distinctive style and preserved historic details, received a pair of Restaurant Design Awards from the AIA’s Los Angeles chapter—the only Midwest-based firm to do so during the 2019 award program. The People’s Choice: Restaurant award and Citation: Restaurant award, were supported by a jury verdict that cites Prime + Proper’s “opulence and decadence” as winning factors in the restaurant’s downtown Detroit setting. For Michael Poris, founder…

  • Featured,  Form

    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…

  • Featured,  Form

    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…

  • Creative Endeavors,  Featured

    Orchestral light

    For architectural lighting designer Gwen Grossman, LC, IALD, and IES, lighting is the design element that can finish an entire experience. Within any setting, it can shape and highlight details, create cohesion, and even alter mood. This, combined with the collaborative nature of designing with light, makes the process similar to theatrical production, which is foundational in Grossman’s background with time spent designing theatrical lighting.  “What drives me is the collaboration and creating something with the architect and our team that provides a space—whether it’s for students or restaurants, or corporate interiors—with a total experience,” said Grossman, principal and founder of Gwen Grossman Lighting Design in Chicago, Illinois. Gwen Grossman…

  • Creative Endeavors,  Print Edition

    Sophy serenade

    In the early decades of the 1900s, Hyde Park, Chicago hospitality was illustrated by its hotels of grand, architectural statement. The Sherry, The Flamingo, The Shoreland, and Del Prado had reputations for not only welcoming local residents and visitors alike, but also for hosting renowned figures such as Duke Ellington, Amelia Earhart, Elvis Presley, Eleanor Roosevelt, Babe Ruth, Joe Dimaggio, and Yogi Berra to imbibe in the cultural, artistic, and intellectual tour-de-force social epicenter along the shores of Lake Michigan. It was—and remains—a South Side Chicago neighborhood whose soul is deeply rooted in diversity and a celebration for arts, music, literature, science, and knowledge. Its landscape is a rich fabric…

  • Form,  Relish

    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…

  • Form

    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…