Daily digest: Chicago’s Rainforest Cafe to become a pot dispensary, Forensic Architecture wins a Peabody Award, and more

Seeds of Change

Daily digest: Chicago’s Rainforest Cafe to become a pot dispensary, Forensic Architecture wins a Peabody Award, and more

The erstwhile Rainforest Cafe in Chicago's River North neighborhood. (artistmac/Flickr/CC BY-SA 2.0)

It’s Monday! Today is also—we kid you not—National Hug A Newsperson Day. We can’t hug because there’s a new Covid variant, so please just be extra thankful for today’s digest.

Here’s what you need to know today:

Aliza Wong appointed 25th Director of the American Academy in Rome

On April 1,  the American Academy in Rome announced that Aliza Wong, professor of history, director of European Studies, and interim dean of the Honors College at Texas Tech University, will be the Academy’s 25th director.

Dr. Wong’s research focuses on race, nation, culture, and identity in the Mediterranean and modern Italy. In addition to her teaching and directorship of The Texas Liberator Project, she is currently researching a book on “Italian constructions of the American Far West,” according to her faculty bio

“To be offered the opportunity to work at the American Academy in Rome and envision what the next century might bring is awe-inspiring and humbling.” said Dr. Wong in a press release. “I look forward to working with the incredible AAR staff to cultivate and nurture the community’s creative arena and to continue challenging ourselves to do better.”

She will begin her three-year tenure this July.

Apply for a $10,000 project grant from The Architectural League of New York

The Architectural League of New York is accepting applications for the 2022 Architecture + Design Independent Project Grants program.

The $10,000 grants, offered in partnership with the New York State Council on the Arts, are awarded annually to 18 projects in architecture, landscape architecture, historic preservation, community-centered design, fashion, graphic, industrial, and interior design.

Here is an excerpt of The League’s statement on the program: 

[The] Independent Projects program seeks proposals that emphasize artistry and design excellence, that may contribute to a broader understanding of design, and/or that advance a design discipline. Critically, design must be at the core of any proposal, and the outcome must be accessible to the public. Projects might, for example, create a design prototype, advance new ideas in community design, research a topic in design or architectural history, or engage in critical or theoretical analysis.”

If you would like to apply, time is of the essence: submissions are due April 13.

Chicago’s giant mushroom–festooned Rainforest Cafe may become a cannabis dispensary

A shuttered Rainforest Cafe with a beloved but garish facade in the River North neighborhood of Chicago could become a medical and recreational pot dispensary later this year.

Progressive Treatment Solutions is looking to move its outpost from Norwood Park to the erstwhile 22,000-square-foot restaurant at 605 N. Clark St. Unfortunately for decorated shed devotees, the new proprietors will likely replace the goofy jungle themed facade that features giant mushrooms and monkeys swinging from tree branches. 

“[The proposed storefront] is much more tasteful and much more soothing than the garish stuff that’s out there now,” River North Neighbors Association President Michael Riordan told Block Club Chicago. “Everything seemed to be reasonable, and so there’s no need to not move them to another level and see what the larger community has to say about it.”

Company officials will share more of their more of their plans on April 27.

H/T to Block Club Chicago

Forensic Architecture wins a Peabody Award

London collective Forensic Architecture has earned an Institutional Peabody Award for its work cataloging human rights abuses, environmental racism, police brutality, and the Israeli occupation of Palestine, among other pressing social issues.

The Peabody Awards honor storytelling in radio, TV, and online media. This year, the organization expanded its awards categories to include gaming, interactive journalism, virtual reality, augmented reality, social video, interactive documentary, transmedia storytelling, and other emerging media categories.

Forensic Architecture director Eyal Weizman shared a short and sweet thanks on Twitter on behalf of the collective:

H/t to Archinect

The ASLA-NY announces its 2022 Design Award winners

The New York chapter of the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA-NY) recently announced the winners of its 2022 Design Awards. This year’s winners included seven honor and 15 merit award winners.

Here are the 2022 ASLA-NY Honor Award recipients:

  1. Brooklyn Bridge–Montgomery Coastal Resilience (BMCR) (AECOM)
  2. Downtown Brooklyn Public Realm (BIG-Bjarke Ingels Group + WXY Architecture)
  3. Dune Meadow (LaGuardia Design Group)
  4. Jule Pond (LaGuardia Design Group)
  5. Little Island (MNLA + Heatherwick Studio)
  6. The Riverline (W Architecture & Landscape Architecture LLC + Hood Design Studio)
  7. West Pond Living Shoreline (Dirtworks Landscape Architecture)

The 22 winning submissions will be on display at the Center for Architecture in Manhattan through the month of April.