I recently made a visit to the Chicago Cultural Center to take in the Chicago Architecture Biennial. The exhibit in the Cultural Center is only one part of the Biennial, but limited time made visits to some of the other sites impossible. It gives me a reason to go back.
There has been a lot of opinions expressed in the press about the Biennial, the most recent one to come across my desk was a piece in The Architects Newspaper entitled “Debating Schumacher’s Chicago Biennial Criticism”. Another one I would recommend is Arch Daily’s 15 Must See Installations at the Chicago Architecture Biennial. I tried to read up on the event before visiting, and I found it hard to understand how the whole event is organized, other than what’s in the Cultural Center. I’m still not sure I comprehend the scope of the event. I also don’t think that matters. You can try and figure it out online, but it doesn’t compare with an actual visit. Go. It’s great. Only in Chicago.
I believe the Biennial was put together with more of a view towards the general public than the architectural community. That’s a good thing. We are a pretty insular group.
Below are some of my highlights:
installation by Gramazio Kohler Research: Rocks with string – no glue. combination of ancient and new technology. Got to see the movie!
Moon Hoon’s notebooks titled “Doodle Constructivism”. My personal favorite. This photo does not do this drawing justice. Multiple notebooks with fantastical sketches.
Sou Fujimoto Architects, “Architecture is Everywhere”. Found objects with tiny white plastic men for scale. So much in common with the work of Leslie Laskey!
MOS Architects “Corridor House”. Not sure I buy the “corridor” idea, but this construction is a thing of beauty! I want one.
Exhibition space with “Architecture is Everywhere” and “Corridor House” in the background.
SO-IL’s “Passage”. Metal studs forming a cathedral like structure along a ramp in the Center.
Johnston Marklee , House is a House is a House is a House
Fox Architects has an Instagram account! Check us out at fox_architects and don’t forget to follow! We are posting interesting architecture related images daily, hope you enjoy them!
Summer sketching this year pushes into fall. We’ve spent a lot of time in Benton Park this year. The bridge and pond are a central focus, as are the buildings that surround the east and north sides. Frank used to live on the north side of the park. The scale of the neighborhood – tall brick buildings framing the edge of the park – are especially nice. Mornings bring the dog walkers and runners out. It is a friendly place to draw.
Now with the cooler weather we’ve retreated into the warm and inviting confines of the Gelateria Del Leone. You’ve got to love it when a building takes it’s name from the architecture (look for the terra cotta lion heads on the Grand Avenue facade). The coffee and baked goods are excellent, and opportunities to sketch abound.
Pen sketch of the bridge and surrounding buildings of Benton Park
Detail of the Bridge in pencil
Nice pen sketch of the bridge and pond by Mary!
Albie captures the streetscape around South Grand
Sketches and Coffee at the Gelateria Del Leone
Fifty Years ago today at 11:00AM, the last piece of the Gateway Arch was set in place. In celebration, The City of Saint Louis conducted a ceremony at the Old Courthouse steps this morning to commemorate this great accomplishment. Designed by Architect Eero Saarinen in 1947, the Gateway Arch took 2 years to construct and cost about $13 Million (2013 equivalent of $180 Million!). Today, the Arch attracts nearly 4 Million visitors a year.
The view from the West windows of our 18th Floor Suite in the Gateway Tower Building located at 1 Memorial Drive in Downtown Saint Louis. A crowd starts to gather for the 11:00AM ceremony to celebrate the Arch turning 50 years old.
At 11:00AM the Saint Louis Fire Department rang a bell 5 times to symbolize the 5 decades the Arch has been a completely freestanding structure.
Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts of the Greater Saint Louis area receive the American Flag to be raised up the new flag pole at the entrance to the new Park Over The Highway.
The American Flag is raised as the National Anthem is played.
Francis G. Slay, current Mayor of the City of St. Louis quotes Leonardo Da Vinci during his speech: “An Arch consists of two weaknesses which, leaning one against the other, make a strength.”
Fox Architects moved to its new location nearly 2 years ago, only 275 yards from the South leg of the Gateway Arch in the Gateway Tower.
Having the Arch as the backdrop of our office and studio space is a constant reminder of what great architecture can achieve. Saarinen’s ideas and innovations are what push the Fox team to challenge each other to create, collaborate, and connect with our work. It is these ideas that remind us that the work we are doing could inspire the world, much like Saarinen did in 1947.
As the work day continues to expand, the amount of time a person spends in an interior space can start to affect that person on a mental and physical level. “Scientists Probe Indoor Work Spaces for Clues to Better Health” article by Sumathi Reddy from The Wall Street Journal reviews the scientific studies that are being conducted within several new buildings to determine how controlled work environments affects people. It also features information on how a recently constructed building on Washington University’s campus in Saint Louis, Missouri is serving as test field to measure health outcomes for work environments in a variety of settings.
Featured Image – Hillman Hall at Washington University in Saint Louis. Photo: James Byard/ WUSTL
In 1934 the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial Association was founded to oversee the construction of a monument commemorating the Louisiana Purchase. The competition which was opened to all United States citizens which also attracted many big names in American Architecture. There were over 170 entries. In 1947 Eero Saarinen submitted his design for the Jefferson National Expansion memorial Competition. What distinguished his design proposal was an arch of gigantic proportions that was to rise from a lushly planted park and be visible from afar. Eero wanted to design ” a landmark of lasting significance – neither an obelisk, nor a rectangular box, nor a dome seemed right on this site and for this purpose – but at the river’s edge, a great arch did seem right.” Saarinen’s design was praised for his interpretation of an old form using modern architecture.
Competition Entry – Jefferson National Expansion Memorial Archives, National Park Service. Image: Washington University in St. Louis
The construction on the “Gateway to the West”, as the arch is refer to, has began in February 12, 1963 and the opening ceremony was held on October 28, 1965. This Wednesday, October 28, will mark 50th Anniversary of Gateway Arch. For the list of the events please click here to be redirected to the Gateway Arch website.
Gateway Arch Construction – Image: Post Dispatch
Below are the immages of the fireworks, held on October 24, as observed from our offices.
Gateway Arch Fireworks
Fox architect have been featured on Construction Forum St Louis for wining an AIA Design Award for RGA project. Please click here to read full article.
Food has always been the common thread that binds all of us together, and food service design has been component that enhances our food experience . We need it to survive but the experience with food is what we always remember. Creating a space to enjoy and enhance that experience is a big part of our mission and we approach every challenge with the idea that when people come together to dine, they come for more than just the food.
One of the goals of our office was to create case study which analyzed variety of food service environments. The findings of the case study would serve as informational guide to a successful food service design. This booklet is a collection of a few of our notable food service projects and highlight the communal experience of food and the designing to the spaces where that exists.
To receive a hard copy please contact our office; We would love to talk to you about full findings of the case study.
All of us here at the office took time last Friday afternoon to celebrate with ice cream/cake, candles/fire-extinguisher the 40th birthday of long-time staff member Brett Beckemeyer. But we could just as well have been observing his 15-plus years with the firm. And his is far from the only tenure to exceed that mark: fully 35% of our 21 staff members have been with the firm for 15 or more years; 50% for more than 8 years. In fact, one out of every four Fox Architects staff have been with the company for over 25 years. Why? Because Fox has the enviable reputation of maintaining a work environment that is supportive, collaborative, instructive, and enjoyable. Distinct among our peer firms, the convivial atmosphere of the Fox Architects studio environment promotes a collegiality of purpose, and results in design solutions derived from all the perspectives, skills, and talents of all of us. We’re here because we’re good; we stay because the firm is.
Recently Elise Novak and I gave a Saturday afternoon lecture to the Alberti students at Washington University. This is probably about the 6th year in a row that we (Fox) has presented a topic. Past years topics have been closely related to work in the office, but this year we chose to go a different route. The topic was “Structure – what makes things stand up?”
We had the students participate in demonstrations of Compression and Tension, Triangulation, Center of Gravity and Uplift, among other concepts. Perhaps the biggest success we had was with the portion of the presentation called “Guess the Structural Concept – Win a Prize”. The concepts included things demonstrated above, and various structural systems, including Post and Beam, Arch/Vault and Space Frame. The prizes were “I Love Architecture” pencils, donated by the St. Louis Chapter, American Institute of Architects. Pandemonium ensued, a good time was had by all, and hopefully someone learned something. The Students then went on to design a sports stadium (we ended our talk looking at several stadiums and talking about the various structural concepts).
Elise kicks off the presentation
Prize winners and their pencils
Thanks to Gay Lorberbaum – she runs Alberti and like Jake and Elwood in the Blues Brothers, Gay is on a mission from God. It’s great to be a small part of such a great program!