It seems like just a few days ago Chicago had huge ice news, and now this. For the past few weeks things have been pretty darned frigid here in the windy city with temperatures dropping down to the single digits, and just when we couldn’t take it anymore things started to warm up, in a massive-abandoned-warehouse-bursting-into-flames sort of way. Nearly 200 firefighters were on the scene in Chicago’s Bridgeport neighborhood to battle the blaze and incredibly nobody was injured. Temperatures were so low during the fire that water sprayed on the building froze almost instantly leaving behind a spectacularly beautiful ice-encrusted wonderland. Photographers Robert R. Gigliotti, David Schalliol, and Darek Szupina stopped by yesterday and snapped these extraordinary photos. You can see much more over on the Chicago Tribune.
For nine decades Fulton Market Cold Storage Company operated in Chicago’s meatpacking district with a full ten stories of freezing storage situated close to major railways. Last summer the company decided it was time to start fresh in a state-of-the-art facility outside of Chicago, so the building was sold to SRAM, a bike component manufacturer who will use the space for its global headquarters. Architects Perkins + Will were hired to help convert the ice-encrusted space into a new, modernized office building and were also tasked with the most epic refrigerator defrost in history. Luckily photographer Gary Jensen was asked to snap some incredible photos prior to the thawing which was actually caught on video (sorry no embed). See more photos on his website. (via gapers block)
Update: I’ve been asked to clarify that the building owner is technically Sterling Bay and the architect of the conversion is Hartshorne and Plunkard. SRAM is a potential tenant in the building and Perkins & Will is their architect.
Using a rotring pen on white paper, Cornwall-based artist Mark Lascelles Thornton has embarked on a massive architectural drawing project called the The Happiness Machine. Each panel represents a stylized red and grayscale representation of architectural highlights from eight locations, so far including Chicago, New York, London and what appears to be a mix of Asian skyscrapers (Taipei, Kuala Lumpur, etc.). In addition to the meticulous detail of the buildings and clouds, the piece is all the more incredible considering its scale: the final piece will include eight panels spanning 8 ft. by 5 ft. (2.4 m. x 1.5 m.). The images here are great but you can see everything in much more detail over on his Tumblr. (via devid sketchbook)
Filmmaker Eric Hines does a phenomenal job of making us look good here in the windy city with his most recent timelapse, Cityscape Chicago. The clip consists of over 30,000 still photographs taken between July and October of this year primarily around the bustling downtown areas including the financial district, Navy pier, Wacker drive and the lakefront.
Chicago photographer Paul Octavious has just released a number of new photos as part of his Lean With It series, where he captures people bending (I suspect falling) in parallel with precariously angled trees. It’s almost more amazing that he’s able to find these trees in the first place, let alone timing such great shots. See much more on his website.
I was walking in Chicago’s Logan Square neighborhood a few weekends ago when I happened upon an enormous stack of Monopoly ‘Chance’ cards made from plywood and bolted to the sidewalk announcing a marriage proposal at a nearby church. It was awesome. Immediately I started wondering if it was a genuine proposal? Was it a joke? Or could it be… ART?! Chicago has a fair amount street art if you know where to look, but it’s mostly spray painted stencils and paste-ups, and it’s extremely rare to see something three dimensional or sculptural.
As it turns out I wasn’t the first blogger to make the discovery. Nate Berg from the Atlantic found several sets of cards and actually went to the Armitage Baptist Church nearby to ask if they knew anything (they didn’t). He did figure out that the Monopoly pieces originally appeared back in April and several people on Reddit had a field day trying to piece the puzzle together. Everyone realized there were even more installations around the city, and not only that, the messages on the Chance and Community Chest cards were occasionally being painted over and replaced with other humorous and obscure messages.
After a few desperate tweets and some emailing, I finally got in touch with the artist (or artists!) known as Bored. The person (or group) chooses to remain anonymous but expressed via email their dissatisfaction at the lack of quality street art around Chicago. Saying specifically that “the goal of this entire project has been to present something different than a stencil painted on the ground or a poster pasted to a wall. Something 3-dimensional that can be picked up, beaten down, kicked, yanked, grabbed, and broken. And if someone ever put forth the effort to remove it, like a weed it will always grow back. And if left alone it will evolve into something different.”
While there are a number of good street artists in Chicago, this is definitely a welcome change of pace. I’m really excited to see this project evolve and hope they have more ideas brewing.
Artist Candy Chang has teamed up with the Chicago Urban Art Society and youth-run art gallery Good News Only to bring her interactive public art project Before I Die (previously) to various Chicago neighborhoods. Passersby are confronted with a spray painted canvas bearing the repeated prompt “Before I die…” and can use provided chalk to complete the sentence, creating a public space for spontaneously shared dreams, hopes, fears and aspirations. The piece was installed yesterday in Edgewater and will be making stops in Pilsen, Wicker Park, Chinatown and elsewhere. You can follow the works progress at Before I Die Chi, and if you have a site where the piece can be installed you should get in touch.