• Creative Endeavors,  Featured

    ADFF: Online

    Following a successful first edition—with more than 5,000 viewers—the Architecture & Design Film Festival’s ADFF: Online program is back starting Sunday, May 17th, through Wednesday, May 20th for a new set of film screenings.  The ADFF: Online series invites cinephiles and the architectural community to connect over positive, uplifting, and recent award-winning films about great names, projects, and movements in architecture and design. This edition of the online series celebrates the life and work of the four creative geniuses and studios of Eileen Gray, Jørn Utzon, Bruce Goff, and Ant Farm, according to the press release, who consistently produced innovative, timeless designs, and left a distinct mark on architectural history. …

  • Design Spotlight,  Featured,  Form,  Print Edition

    Thread in transit

    The multi-modal transit system is intended to support the urban core—not unlike a buttress to a wall—and the dynamic economic, cultural, and social activities that take place there. It interacts with the complex spatial structure of larger cities, ultimately becoming inherently entwined with the day-to-day operations and life in the diverse tapestry of its built landscape.  In Chicago, the transit-intensive city has become not only multi-modal in nature, but also inter-modal as many of its residents, visitors, and working populations leverage more than one mode of transportation for a single journey—bicycle, pedestrian, bus, train, automotive, and waterway, to name a few. Perhaps its most iconic infrastructure though is known simply…

  • Creative Endeavors,  Featured

    Mask makers

    In this unprecedented time, major players and smaller participants in a variety of Midwest industries have set their attention on an invaluable product: the face masks with which many are protecting themselves against COVID-19. Brands, from General Motors to the Milwaukee Bucks, have launched mask-making initiatives to supply the consumer market that continues to grow in need, nearly as quickly as it is satiated.  Alongside national corporations, volunteer efforts among local sewing enthusiasts and crafters have also amassed into a sweeping grassroots effort to provide friends, families, communities, and those on the frontlines of the pandemic with the personal protective equipment they need. Many of these efforts also come with…

  • Featured,  Form

    Focal Point 

    From bettering focus in the workplace and classroom to quieting libraries and helping hospital patients sleep, acoustic controls play an important part in the experience of a built environment. Architecturally, measures to distribute natural resources like light and sound are as relevant as ever, as many markets address a growing need for ergonomic and holistic design solutions focused on emotional, physical, and mental comfort.  In Chicago, lighting manufacturer Focal Point LLC has been on the forefront of these architectural accent materials for more than two decades, releasing many products that can be found in office, education, hospitality, and medical spaces alike. Recently, its acclaimed Acoustic Solutions Portfolio has been joined…

  • Creative Endeavors,  Featured,  Print Edition

    Six-string attitude

    The stage is set: a hush settles over the crowd, smoke curls languidly on the floor, and lights draw eyes and ears to the platform. There is an avid anticipation—a collective intake of breath—as the crowd watches both guitarist and the iconic silhouette held before in an extension and expression of its player. It is an instrument that has defined and redefined sound and music, launching movements and inspiring generations—and when deft fingers strum its first strings, sending vibration and resonance from body and pickups to amplifier, it can strike a similar chord in its listeners when style and function are in harmony.  The electric guitar is an instrument that…

  • Design Spotlight,  Featured

    Natural advantage 

    Since initial records of design in ancient times, there has been evidence of what it is now classified as biomimicry. From the early utilization of silkworms for textile production around 4,000 B.C. and Leonardo da Vinci’s skeletal flying machines in the 1400s to archaic umbrellas inspired by Chinese lotus leaves in the 18th century, designers and inventors continue to turn to the concept—and full-fledged practice—to spark innovative solutions for complex issues that impact the world at large.  One of the most notable modern innovations, which also poses a solution for sustainable energy, was sparked decades ago when Dr. Frank Fish, a marine biologist, stumbled upon a peculiar anatomical characteristic on…

  • Design Spotlight,  Featured

    Movement evolution

    Following the landmark merger of the YMCA of Metropolitan Minneapolis and the YMCA of Greater St. Paul in 2012, and creation of the YMCA of the Greater Twin Cities, the Minnesota-based, nonprofit organization looked to move its headquarters to a new location. The site, positioned in the heart of downtown Minneapolis, would not only serve to accommodate its larger staff, membership, and programmatic needs, but also reflect its founding mission, enduring identity, and intentional thought of tomorrow.  “We sought to relocate our downtown Minneapolis facility, along with our corporate office, as the next step in our legacy and to gain greater exposure by making sure the Y, [or YMCA], is…

  • Featured,  Form,  Print Edition

    Driving curve

    Hailed as the “Versailles of Industry” during its debut in 1956, the General Motors Design Dome and Auditorium was an unprecedented architectural feat for the automotive industry designed by renowned architect Eero Saarinen, with the collaboration of Harley Earl.  For more than 60 years, the iconic structure on the nearly 710-acre GM Technical Center in Warren, Michigan has come to stand as a symbol for innovation and style—reflective of the very industry and purpose it serves. It is a historical landmark where industry, engineering, design, and manufacturing minds have the ability to propel automotive design into the future; pushing the boundaries of style, form, and function. While its campus has…

  • Featured,  Form

    Freshwater hub

    Milwaukee, Wisconsin is changing the narrative on the post-industrial urban landscape. Not unlike many of its like coastal communities—hubs of economic prosperity carved into the shoreline of the world’s largest freshwater system—Milwaukee’s industrial past took advantage of its port and waterways to fuel its growth and development during the 19th and 20th centuries. Yet now, the city is re-emerging as a nationally—and internationally—recognized hub for innovation, sustainability, and water technologies by leveraging its regional asset. By transforming its approach to water, the urban landscape has become a stage where green infrastructure initiatives, as well as critical global water challenges, are not only part of the dialogue, but also an active…