Daily digest: Studio Gang unveils new exhibition, Keanu Reeves lands Daniel Burnham role, and more


Daily digest: Studio Gang unveils new exhibition, Keanu Reeves lands Daniel Burnham role, and more

Installation view of Studio Gang Mock-Ups on view at Studio Gang's gallery space in Chicago. (© Steve Hall)

Happy Friday! As we enter another summer weekend (a sweltering and unsettled one across much of the country, including in the Northeast), the AN team has assembled a few newsworthy odds-and-ends for your perusal. Here’s what you need to know:

Studio Gang dips into its archives for new exhibition

A new exhibition entitled Studio Gang Mock-Ups debuted this week at the firm’s dedicated gallery space located at its headquarters at 1520 West Division Street in Chicago’s Wicker Park neighborhood. This is the second open-to-the-public show to be held in the garden-level space, which launched during last year’s edition of the Chicago Architecture Biennial, and the first Studio Gang exhibition to display a curated selection of its sizable archival collection of models, sketches, drawings, and other materials. As noted by the firm, Studio Gang Mock-Ups, which will be on view through September 30, “explores what happens when architectural mock-ups—normally ephemeral and embedded in design—become subjects in their own right.”

Wrote the firm:

“Using photographs to resurrect the spirits of mock-ups past, alongside a physical selection of those that remain, the exhibition asks: what does it mean to reanimate these objects, long after the original questions that prompted their existence have been answered?

Encouraging visitors to discover the categorized yet fluid relationships between the diverse mock-ups on display, the exhibition also materializes the most exciting aspects of mocking-up: the interdisciplinary collaboration and burst of creative discovery that propel a project forward.”

The exhibition is free and open to the public; regular viewing appointments are held on limited days and can be booked here.

Keanu Reeves to play Daniel Burnham in The Devil in the White City adaptation

In other Windy City-related news, Keanu Reeves has landed the starring role of architect and urban designer Daniel Burnham in a forthcoming limited series for Hulu based on The Devil in the White City, Erik Larson’s best-selling 2003 historical thriller chronicling the creation of the World’s Columbian Exposition and the serial killer who ran amok near the grounds of the 1893 World’s Fair. Burnham, a prominent Beaux-Arts booster, skyscraper innovator, and proto-starchitect, also famously served as Director of Works for the exposition. The roles of Frederick Law Olmsted, another prominent figure in Larsen’s novelistic work of non-fiction, and homicidal con man-slash-pharmacist H.H. Holmes have not been announced. (This isn’t the first time Reeves has played an architect set against a backdrop of murder and mayhem.)

Leonardo DiCaprio and Martin Scorsese are serving as executive producers for the eight-part series, which is expected to hit Hulu in 2024.

H/t to Deadline

Gensler’s Hollywood Walk of Fame revamp moves forward with reveal of “quick-build” design elements

Gensler has shared details for a slew of “quick-build” streetscape improvements and pedestrian enhancements along the Hollywood Walk of Fame, the world-famous downward-gazing tourist attraction spanning a 1.3-mile/15-block stretch of Hollywood Boulevard.

The revamp, a major component of Los Angeles City Council Member Mitch O’Farrell’s larger Heart of Hollywood initiative first announced in 2018, is a long time coming. Gensler’ s L.A. office first revealed its master plan for a less car-centric streetscape experience along with Walk of Fame back in 2020. As part of the project’s $7.2 million first phase, a stretch of Hollywood Boulevard between Gower Street and Orange Drive will see existing parking lanes be converted into pedestrian zones populated by street furnishings, planters, trees, and spaces for sidewalk vendors and temporary art installations. New transit kiosks and bike racks along with bus shelters and boarding platforms will also be installed.

Work is expected to wrap up in 2024—that’s around the same the full build-out of the master plan, which will be tackled in segments, is slated to commence. This first initial phase of improvements is funded through the Metro Active Transport program.

H/t to Archinect

rendering of a large building covered in plants with exterior escalators
Rendering of MoLo (MAD Architects)

MAD shares design for plant-shrouded MoLo project outside of Milan

Beijing-headquartered MAD Architects is continuing to expand its reach across the European continent with the unveiling of the design for a “monumental gateway project” set to rise at the nascent Milano Innovation District (MIND) dubbed MoLo (Mobility and Logistic hub), the roughly 739,500-square-foot complex—complete with a supermarket, offices, retail, and a “dazzling” five-level parking garage with room for 1,500 cars—will anchor several facilities spread across the 11-square-mile MIND campus. It will serve “as a welcoming entrance and education space for issues related to mobility in which visitors can drop off their cars to explore the district on foot and see innovative transportation technology in person.”

Similar to other MAD-helmed projects, MoLo is “designed as an integration of nature and architecture,” the Ma Yansong–led firm elaborated. “The main facades, for instance, will be adorned with lush vegetation that will beautify the neighborhood while capturing airborne carbon. The use of vertical landscaping as a design element also allows the MoLo to visually blend into the verdant landscaping of its surroundings.”

The nearly 100-foot-tall structure will be assembled within a prefabricated concrete frame structure and be topped with a gigantic solar array set to produce enough renewable energy for the building itself and the surrounding innovation district. Joining MAD on the ambitious project is Architetto Andrea Nonni, Open Project, and Progeca.

Habitat-generating biodesign project takes root in San Francisco’s Presidio

San Francisco’s ABC 7 News recently checked in with a small cohort of students from the California College of the Arts (CCA) who have created a series of biodiversity-bolstering design creations installed within a “secluded” corner of the Presidio, the sprawling former military installation-turned-recreational complex on the northern tip of the San Francisco Peninsula. Digitally designed and realized using natural materials sourced at the site, the diminutive habitat concepts—aerial, terrestrial, and aquatic—provide shelter to a variety of species that call the Presidio, which is part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area, home. “It’s a really interesting novel idea of how can you improve our infrastructure for plants and animals in an urban environment,” Presidio Trust wildlife ecologist Jonathan Young told ABC 7.

CCA associate Professor Margaret Ikeda led the project, which evolved from a larger collegiate design competition. Other participating schools in the 2022 Biodesign Challenge included Ball State University, Design Academy Eindhoven, Spelman College, Pratt Institute, Tongji University, and the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, among many others.

H/t to ABC 7 News