Good morning, architects. Chicago is reacting to an adaptive design by Studio Gang Architects (with a nod to Michael Kimmelman of The New York Times) that would ostensibly save the Prentice Women's Hospital. And Chicago is ... pleased? Emile Dawisha of Chicago Now notes that Kimmelman, at least, appears to be convinced that the existing Bertrand Goldberg could support a 31-story building on top of it. Dawisha supports it: "This idea is potentially better than a compromise." Structural concerns aside, Architecture Chicago Plus wonders whether the design really saves the Prentice. Blogger Lynn Becks asks, "Would Prentice become a hollowed-shell, a kind of facadectomy?"
GOD IS IN. Post-occupancy studies take on a fascinating dimension when it comes to religious institutions. Did the architect successfully design a House of God? The Boston Globe's Joan Wickersham says yes in the case of Temple Beth Elohim, a synagogue designed by William Rawn, FAIA, and completed in 2010. ARCHITECT praised the building for its acoustic design and named Rawn to the 2011 ARCHITECT 50. Congregants appear to like his work, too.
PULL SHAPES. Wiel Arets, new dean at the Illinois Institute of Technology (and the subject of a Q&A conducted by Stanley Tigerman, FAIA, in our October issue), talks to Crain's Chicago Business about his worries over the shape of architecture—the literal shape. Arets says: "What we saw [during the boom] was that people first made a shape and then said, ‘What can we do with it?' That worries me."
GOOD WOOD. Emily D'Alterio, writing for Design Build Source, predicts? comments on? a boom in timber building in Vancouver. She cites Michael Green's plans for a 30-story Tall Wood Tower as evidence of a surging interest in locally sourced and renewable timber as a viable building material for the Pacific Northwest. SITE's James Wines told me something similar, years ago, in an interview: A Seattle should be made of wood, while a Pittsburgh ought to be built with steel. There's not a lot of evidence, not yet anyway, that this is actually happening in Vancouver, though—and it's a bit much to say that steel and glass have no soul.
SUSTAINABLE CITY? Speaking of Pittsburgh and sustainability and ketchup, The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette's Erich Schwartzel runs down a sustainable workplace challenge in Steel City. The contest, a project by Sustainable Pittsburgh and Heinz Endowments, saved some 67 million kilowatt-hours over the course of a year, primarily through conscience-raising exercises (turning computers off, flushing toilets less, etc.). EvolveEA, a sustainability firm from East Liberty, Pa., took home small-business honors, but otherwise, architects appear to be absent from the proceedings.
...AND REMAINDERS. St. Louis architect Jamie Cannon dies at 85; David Brussat recommends an agenda for a preservation conference after the fact; the Toronto Star praises Norman Foster's Bow Building for Calgary; Savannah College of Art and Design prof named to AIA Georgia board.
(This post has been updated.)