In 2003, Jean Dufresne and business partner Jay Keller founded Space Architects + Planners in a small office on Milwaukee Avenue. The firm has since created award-winning designs for homes and restaurants. Dufresne, who grew up in Quebec, has been active for more than a decade with the American Institute of Architects. He helped establish a quarterly meeting between the Small Practitioners Group of AIA Chicago and the city of Chicago’s building commissioner to address issues architects face when working with the city. At the national level, Dufresne was a founding member of AIA’s Small Firm Roundtable, now Small Firm Exchange, which advocates for small architecture firms across the country. He helped create AIA Kinetic, a digital career guide for architects.
How he gives back: Dufresne is a 10-year volunteer for Chicago House and curates the nonprofit’s annual Birdhouse Art Auction.
By Ashok Selvam
The turtle god brings trendy Milwaukee Avenue a roof deck.
Brewpubs are popping up all across Chicago and when Bixi Beer opens Thursday afternoon, the city will have 26 restaurants that house mini breweries. Chicago’s latest brewpub is unlike any the city’s seen with two floors, a roof deck, and unique touches that pander to comic book and sci-fi fans. Chicagoans have guzzled beer at brewpubs with pizza (Piece Pizza), Mexican food (Cruz Blanca), and Michelin-starred fine dining (Band of Bohemia). Now it’s time to wash down a bowl of Chinese noodles or a burger served as a bao with a jasmine tea-infused beer.
When Bo and Arden Fowler took over the empty space at 2515 N. Milwaukee Avenue, it was an empty shell…
By Ashok Selvam
The Gather team is ready to hum a new song
Lincoln Square may not be ready for spring, but The Warbler — the new restaurant from the ownership of Gather — is ready to chirp. Gather’s been roaring strong for the last five years, as owners David Breo and chef Ken Carter love the neighborhood and decided to take over the space next door. They hope the added kitchen space at The Warbler will allow for a modern American and veggie-forward menu of small plates and entrees that will dazzle locals.
They’ve gutted the insides of the former Bad Dog Tavern/Mash space, 4535 N. Lincoln Avenue, adding a dose of elegance while opening up the room to more sunlight. During spring and summer, they’ll unveil a remodeled patio — one of the most-popular spaces to drink and eat outdoors along Lincoln Avenue. SPACE Architects + Planners designed the restaurant that seats 75 and includes a 25-seat bar…
By Jay Koziarz
The landmarked building at 632 N. Dearborn will reopen next year as TAO Chicago.
After sitting vacant for two years, the lights are back on at the iconic 1892 Romanesque Revival building located at the northwest corner of Dearborn and Ontario. Previously the home of the Chicago Historical Society and later the Excalibur and Castle nightclubs, the granite-clad building is beginning its transformation into TAO a pan-Asian clubstaurant with locations in New York and Las Vegas.
According to Eater Chicago, TAO has partnered with Four Corners Tavern Group, the hospitality arm of local developer Sterling Bay, for its upcoming River North location. Thanks to a handful of interior renderings published on SB’s website, we also have our first glimpse of what TOA Chicago could look like when it expects to opens in early 2018…
By Ashok Selvam
It’s sleeker than most restaurants off the Southport Corridor.
Take an early look inside Ella Elli, the sleek, new, and decidedly-more adult restaurant from the owners of Crosby’s Kitchen. The 75-seater, located just around the corner from Crosby’s at 1349 W. Cornelia Ave., should open on Tuesday, March 7. It’s the eleventh restaurant from 4 Star Restaurant Group.
Four Star’s Doug Dunlay raved that the new space would be more romantic compared to his group’s other restaurants. SPACE Architects + Planners has gone for a more modern look with a 1920s vibe. Check out the lounge and bar areas, with loveseat bar stools and private alcove booths. The look is more sophisticated than many of the restaurants near the Southport Corridor. There’s no trace of the dental offices that once occupied the address. Grip assisted in designing the concept and with branding…
By Ashok Selvam / Photography by Marc Much
Diners won’t recognize the former Justin’s space.
The owners of Crosby’s Kitchen will open Tuco & Blondie, their new Mexican restaurant along Southport inside the former Justin’s space, at 4:30 p.m. today. There’s no sign of a dive bar, opting for a modern cantina look that fits in with the Lakeview community.
A red neon sign reading “Mexifun” on the wall reflects 4 Star Restaurant Group’s philosophy for their new restaurant, while a soft-serve ice cream machine near the front window reiterates it. There’s a hodge-podge of Mexican references inside: a luchador, a “Good, The Bad, The Ugly” poster and even a Virgin Mary covering one of the restaurant’s exposed brick walls. The opposite wall features a more vibrant side with a colorful mural…
By Ben Ikenson for AIA Architect / Photos Mike Schwartz
Even as finding new uses for old buildings has become commonplace, the results can be surprisingly clever.
From motels and churches to bowling alleys and factories, buildings of all types eventually reach the end of their “natural” functioning lives. Whether to fill an otherwise overlooked market niche, provide affordable housing where it’s most needed, or accommodate a group of talented Millennials with big visions but meager means, adaptive reuse projects are meaningful investments with promising returns. They represent both important opportunities for the design community and an ever-important role in cities that need to adapt to the future…
Maggie Daley Park Restaurant OK’d By Plan Commission
By Ted Cox TED COX / Rendering Space Architects + Planners
CITY HALL – The Plan Commission approved a new slimmed-down proposal for a restaurant at Maggie Daley Park Thursday, over objections it wasn’t slimmed down enough.
The proposal for what’s being called Maggie’s at the Park, 352 E. Monroe St., is half the size of an earlier design.
Heather Gleason, of the Chicago Park District, testified that it was intended as a “replacement” for an earlier concession stand at what was then a mini-golf course at the site. But community activist Allan Mellis complained it was more a restaurant than a concession stand, and that it might draw a rowdier, beer-drinking clientele than the families who might be expected to patronize a concession stand at the park. That said, he cheered the new restrooms on site…
By Jay Koiarz / Rendering Space Architects + Planners
Fresh on the heels of a recently released set of diagrams, comes an honest-to-goodness artistic rendering of Space Architects + Planners’ redesigned Maggie Daley Park restaurant. If approved by the city, the controversial glass-walled eatery is expected to open sometime in 2017.
Construction will be privately financed by Chicago’s Four Corners Tavern Group who will also operate the business as part of a 10-year initial agreement. Four Corners will also pay the Chicago Park District $75,000 in yearly rent along with between 5 and 10 percent of its gross sales . . .
By Tate Gunnerson / Photos Mike Schwartz
Natural hues, layers of texture and a flowing, open layout create a serene Chicago apartment with dynamic vistas of the lake and city skyline. To begin the project, architect Jean Dufresne and associate Maria Contreras made several modifications to the original floor plan, which had a traditional layout featuring smaller closed-off rooms. “The entry had an oval hall that didn’t fit the look or feel of the space we envisioned, which was an open owing layout,” Dufresne says…