Wanda Vista renderings revealed

Photos via Studio Gang
Photos via Studio Gang

Last night, Chicago starchitect firm Studio Gang Architects revealed the new renderings for the Wanda Vista — a 93-story complex to feature 405 luxury condominiums and 169 hotel rooms in the Lakeshore East development right on Lake Michigan. The Wanda would top out at 1,144 feet, making it the third tallest building in Chicago.

View the four new images in the gallery above, with the Wanda Vista hoping to transform the Chicago skyline by 2019.

I am always intrigued by the architect’s inspiration, and at the reveal event last night, principal Jeanne Gang said her latest project is inspired by the frustum shape seen in ice cubes or Toblerone chocolate, via DNAinfo. The article continues:

Together, the three frustums will create eight corners at street level, but the tallest part of the building will be the skinniest among its super tall peers in Chicago. Gang said the thinness of the tower will enhance exposure to natural light and cast less shade below. 

“Tall buildings, oftentimes, they’re just a reflecting box and singular,” Gang said. “Here, we’re trying to work with texture at various scales so that from a human standpoint, you can see this variation.”

Moreover, Gang said Monday the design is meant to mimic the reflection of light off Lake Michigan, via ArchPaper. This sparked the light bulb for me even more, imagining the wonderful, cinematic relationship of the Wanda near the waters of Lake Michigan itself.

It’s important to note that the project, though expected to be completed by 2019, still a number of city approvals like a zoning change. Pending approval, Magellan hopes to start construction next year with a 3+ year estimated timetable of completion.

Wanda Vista 8 (c) Studio Gang Architects

Wanda Vista 10 (c) Studio Gang Architects

Many times projects don’t make it beyond computer screens, but irregardless in this case, I admire Gang’s design for the Wanda and how it would incorporate into the Chicago skyline as a whole. I believe it would be a beautiful addition and ultimately bring other benefits aside from aesthetic. Early reports say the Wanda would create 420 permanent jobs and generate $19 million in new real estate tax revenue for the city. Plus, the tower would connect to the city’s underground pedway system, and Upper Wacker Drive would run through the bottom of Wanda, connecting to Waterside Drive and the rest of Lakeshore East, again via DNAinfo.

Let’s hope this clears all the hurdles for construction!

In the meantime, for more of my commentary and coverage on Jeanne Gang’s keynote speech at the 2014 AIA Convention, click here (see: Purpose is the process.)

For more info on the Wanda, see Studio Gang’s website here.

Wanda Vista 9 (c) Studio Gang Architects

Lollapalooza 2015 Lineup

Ain’t no surprise that half of these people are coming through to Chicago once more. With tickets selling out in minutes, be sure to stay up on that phone and computer game for your 1 day passes. While you at it, pop out some Steel Reserve, it might be a minute. Good luck y’all.

Friday, July 31
Paul McCartney, The Weeknd, alt-J, Alabama Shakes, Kaskade, Dillon Francis, Gary Clark Jr., Flying Lotus, Hot Chip, The War On Drugs, Father John Misty, Cold War Kids, DJ Snake, Sylvan Esso, MS MR, Tove Lo, Glass Animals, St. Paul & The Broken Bones, First Aid Kit, DJ Mustard, James Bay, BROODS, MisterWives, What So Not, SZA, Jamestown Revival, Philip Selway, Young Thug, Coasts, DESTRUCTO, BØRNS, BADBADNOTGOOD, Mighty Oaks, Bear’s Den, Peking Duk, Black Pistol Fire, Spookyland, Gabriel Garzon-Montano, Kyle Thorton & The Company, The New Pacific, Daye Jack, The Pop Ups, Q Brothers, School Of Rock AllStars, The Jimmies, Mista Cookie Jar & The Chocolate Chips

Saturday, August 1
Metallica, Sam Smith, Alesso, Tame Impala, Kid Cudi, Brand New, Carnage, G-Eazy, Walk The Moon, Tyler The Creator, The Tallest Man On Earth, Banks, Chet Faker, Sturgill Simpson, Death From Above 1979, Toro Y Moi, Charli XCX, Django Django, Boys Noize, Delta Spirit, RL Grime, Givers, Ryn Weaver, Travi$ Scott, CAKED UP, Hermitude, Wet, HOLYCHILD, Catfish And The Bottlemen, Zella Day, Mt. Eden, Jessica Hernandez & The Deltas, SNBRN, Elle King, Beat Connection, Mick Jenkins, Raury, Jack Novak, Pell, White Sea, Hippo Campus, COIN, Danny Weinkauf, School Of Rock AllStars, The Jimmies, Mista Cookie Jar & The Chocolate Chips, The Helmets

Sunday, August 2
Florence + The Machine, Bassnectar, Of Monsters And Men, A$AP Rocky, TV On The Radio, NERO, Kygo, Twenty One Pilots, Nicky Romero, Marina And The Diamonds, FKA Twigs, Lord Huron, Gogol Bordello, Stromae, ODESZA, LOGIC, The Chainsmokers, Wild Belle, Twin Peaks, Angus & Julia Stone, George Ezra, Strand Of Oaks, MOON TAXI, Shakey Graves, Galantis, Night Terrors of 1927, Alison Wonderland, Circa Waves, DMA’s, Sheppard, Mako, Skylar Spence, The Wombats, Halsey, Lion Babe, Black Tiger Sex Machine, VERITE, JackLNDN, ZEBRA KATZ, The Lonely Biscuits, SirenXX, In The Whale, Atarah Valentine, The Pop Ups, Danny Weinkauf, Motown Pete, Q Brothers, School Of Rock AllStars

Ernie Banks remembered

Nobody represented his city or team more joyously, or admirably, than Mr. Cub.

Michael Wilbon on Ernie Banks

Last night, we lost a baseball legend and a Chicago hero, Ernie Banks. He was 83.

Affectionately called “Mr. Cub”, no one could say it better than Wilbon up above. He continued to write that in an era of iconic Chicago athletes in the 60s and 70s, “Banks would have sat at the head of the table.”

For my 20-something generation, we have to take numerous accounts like these of Banks’ impact as a player and in the city of Chicago during his playing career. The breadth of tributes from sportswriters and former teammates alike sound just like this. I even have a first-hand source myself who can back them all up: my dad.

He’s the biggest Cubs fan I know and was devastated at the news of his childhood hero. We reminisced through amazing statistics, dad’s personal stories of getting his autograph, and browsed through a lot of the photos seen up above in the gallery.

One main takeaway after our talks and being immersed in the coverage: Ernie Banks lived with the most positive, happiest spirit that anyone could recall. His famous saying, “It’s a great day for a ballgame. Let’s play two!” was said during a 105-degree summer day at the ‘Friendly Confines’ of Wrigley Field (a phrase Banks also coined and lasts today.)

Let’s play two! It means so much.

As we reflect on Mr. Cub’s hall-of-fame playing career, his impact in Chicago and around the world as the first African-American to play for the Cubs, we can also emulate our own life and mentality in alignment with the way Banks has lived. “Let’s play two!”


One of the most heartbreaking anecdotes from Ernie Banks’ passing is what he planned to do when the Cubs eventually do win a World Series. Via the conclusion of the aforementioned article by Wilbon:

Ernie always said when the Cubs finally won a World Series — it’s 106 years and counting — he wanted to go to Wrigley Field one night and just stand there alone, in the dark, and soak it all in. So you know what we’re thinking, all the little kids who are beyond 50 now and who watched Banks play all those years ago. Maybe this will be the Cubs’ time. They’ll wear his No. 14 on their jerseys this season and feel about the Cubbies the way he did, which is to say inspired and joyous and ready every single day to play two.

Hopefully the Cubs can win it for Ernie… and Ronnie, Harry, Jack, and all of the Cubs legends who passed through Wrigley Field at one time or another. This is the year?! It’d be even more of an amazing Hollywood story than Back to the Future could have ever predicted.

R.I.P. "Mr. Cub" Ernie Banks
R.I.P. “Mr. Cub” Ernie Banks

Behind The Mic ft. Big Sean x Donda’s House

Exciting things are happening once again with Donda’s House as they partner with The Chicago Track and The Sean Anderson Foundation for a Q&A session with Big Sean. Held at the Chicago Cultural Center, the rising organizations took back the city from the subzero temperatures and gave us another reason to be proud of Chi-town. With featured performances from Donda’s House and The Chicago Track artists, it was great to see how both these organizations have grown within the past few years. With bigger, better, and even more culturally aware artists stemming from these programs, Chicago is going to continue its reign as the creative mecca.

Capping off the night was the Q&A session with Big Sean whose arrival on the scene has been anything but silent. From tracks like “Marvin Gaye and Chardonnay” to the catchy hit “IDFWU”, Big Sean kept it equally real with the folks of Chicago as he spoke about his humble upbringing, music, and his own advice to other music hopefuls. No stranger to the Donda’s House or Kanye West circle, this isn’t the last we will see of Big Sean and his social efforts. Much like his big brother, Ye, Big Sean is giving back to the community with his own nonprofit organization, The Sean Anderson Foundation, another organization aimed to provide the community with better educational and environmental resources. Now with two mainstream artists providing the community with an creative outlet and social purpose, the possibilities are abundant as the music scene continues to grow. Hold on tight, 2015 is just the beginning for the new age of hip hop.

Salute to y’all.

1940s Chicago — A Short Film #TBT

Chicago, you have come a long way.

This week, a new short film has made a viral appearance to us Chicagoans — an unearthed illustration of Chicago in the 1940s.

The film, a thorough 30 minute look at Chicago landmarks, industries, schools, hospitals, and other amenities that served at the time as a recruiting video for students and businesses alike to relocate to the growing city (the 4th largest in the world at the time.)

Today, this is about as cool of a documentary as you can find of the city in the 1940s. We get a tour of all the standing landmarks of today — the Wrigley Building, the Tribune Tower, Wrigley Field, and Merchandise Mart to name a few. Plus, a look at the people and culture along State St., Randolph St., and Michigan Boulevard (now Avenue, of course) where 55,000 automobiles traveled per day. Things haven’t changed too much on that end.

The icing on the cake is the old school vibe from the narrator. Fellow 20 somethings or older generations will nod approvingly at his voice… feels like we’re back in grammar school.

Any design or architecture buffs like myself will also likely enjoy the various panoramic views via United Airlines. You can see the early formations of the depth of the city today. Just compare some of these views (and screenshots below) to that of a #chitecture on Instagram. Pretty cool, huh?

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