Daily digest: Bjarke Ingels co-launches “design living” venture, finalists announced in Thompson Center design competition, and more

Won't You Be My Nabr?

Daily digest: Bjarke Ingels co-launches “design living” venture, finalists announced in Thompson Center design competition, and more

Rendering of a Nabr modular living space. (Courtesy BIG)

Welcome to the Tuesday edition of Daily digest. Below are just a few newsworthy items on our radar:

Bjarke Ingels teams with WeWork and Sidewalk alumni to launch Nabr

Bjarke Ingels has set his sights back to Earth. The Danish architect and BIG founder has joined forces with Roni Bahar, former director of development at WeWork, and Nicholas Chim, former head of Sidewalk’s Model Lab, to launch a Silicon Valley-based “design living” company dedicated to “reimagining the future of urban living, providing scalable, consumer-first housing.”

While particulars of the freshly unveiled modular housing venture, dubbed Nabr, are still on the scant side, Ingels explained in a video announcement: “By reimagining the way we build our homes and the way we build our cities we can make healthy living the standard not just for the individual residents, but also for the communities and eventually for the entire planet.”

As noted on the recently launched Nabr website, the company, which offers a “flexible path to home ownership,” allows inhabitants to co-design their own living spaces, which will feature large outdoor living spaces and centralized, app-based technology to control climate, lighting, and so on. We’ll check back in on Nabr as more details emerge.

H/t to Dezeen

Henri’s damage to roadways and bridges minimal in the Northeast

Hurricane Henri, downgraded to a tropical storm before making landfall in Rhode Island on August 22, proved to be no match of the New England virtue of preparedness. While the not-as-fierce-as-feared storm system still managed to pummel a large swath of the Northeast with drenching rains and high winds before heading back out to sea, the region’s infrastructure largely held strong against the worst of it.  (Widespread power outages across multiple states, however, were reported.) As detailed by Engineering News-Record, crucial transportation infrastructure, including roads and bridges, in several impacted states including Connecticut, Rhode Island, and Vermont emerged unscathed from Henri thanks in large part to vigilance and preparations made ahead of time. In Rhode Island, a spokesperson for the state’s transportation department explained that other than “minor damage to a fabric roof at a salt storage shed in Narragansett,” there were no reports to date of “any significant damage to our roads and bridges.”

H/t to Engineering News-Record

Finalists announced in Thompson Center design competition

The Chicago Architecture Center (CAC) and Chicago Architectural Club have unveiled the seven finalists in the Chicago Prize Competition, which for its 2021 edition, sought out design proposals focused on restorative architecture that breathe creative new life into the Helmut Jahn-designed Thompson Center. The beloved postmodernist landmark, completed in 1984, was put up for sale earlier this year by the State of Illinois and is at risk of being demolished to make way for new development.

The seven finalist proposals were selected by the competition jury—jurors include Carol Ross Barney, Mikyoung Kim, Peter D. Cook, and Thomas Heatherwick, among others—from a total of 59 entries submitted by a diverse range of seasoned design professionals, young architects, and students hailing from five countries. Along with all seven finalists, the winning proposal, to be announced September 14, will join the ongoing CAC exhibition, Helmut Jahn: Life + Architecture, as a special pop-up exhibit within the larger exhibition, which is on view through October.

“The jury’s selection of the seven finalists for the 2021 Chicago Prize Competition provide an impressively diverse set of possible uses for a re-imagined space devoted to Chicago’s civic ideals,” said Elva Rubio, co-president of the Chicago Architectural Club, in a statement. “The design proposals turn the space into a new civic center with a state-of-the-art glass façade, a mixed-use development with an open-air park on the ground floor, a new Chicago Public School, a hotel and indoor waterpark, an urban farm, an art and civic culture destination with imaginative spaces suspended in the atrium, and a conical skyscraper skinned as a 3D LED screen.”

Bronzeville esports league announced by Illinois Tech

Now that SURGE, a $30 million esports arena designed by KOO, is officially a go for the historic Bronzeville neighborhood on the South Side of Chicago, the Illinois Institute of Technology has announced the formation of the Bronzeville Esports League. Comprised of both middle and high schoolers, the new league aims to “bring esports to schools and community organizations that do not have existing—or access to—esports teams or programs,” according to an Illinois Tech press release. The league was launched by Illinois tech with the support of Alderman Pat Dowell (Third Ward) and Scott Greenberg and Chris Lai, co-CEOs of Smash INTERACTIVE and developers of SURGE, which is slated for completion in the fall of 2022.

“Esports is not just about playing video games for hours on end,” said Dowell in a statement. “The increasingly researched benefits of gaming and esports—from college scholarships to a pathway to industry jobs—can have a tremendous impact on the South and West sides of Chicago.”

Seattle tiny house village to get bigger

Tiny Cabins Safe Harbor, a Seattle tiny house village for residents transitioning into permanent housing, is experiencing a growth spurt. Located in the city’s Interbay neighborhood on Port of Seattle-owned land, the Low Income Housing Institute-operated community will add 30 new tiny houses to its existing 46 diminutive dwellings along with a new hygiene facility, laundry facility, bicycle storage, kitchen, and three new outdoor community spaces per the Seattle Daily Journal of Commerce. When the expansion project wraps up this fall, Tiny Cabins Safe Harbor will be the largest community of its kind in Washington state.

H/t to the Seattle Daily Journal of Commerce