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moss green architect zoigl

moss’ newest brewery project, Begyle Brewing (formerly Argyle Brewing Co.) models itself after the increasingly popular CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) and is Chicago’s first “CSB” (Community Supported Brewery). Founders Matt Ritchey, Kevin Cary and Brendan Blume decided to start their subscription based brewery after a few brainstorming sessions. Like CSAs, members will receive a share of craft beer on a weekly, bi-weekly or monthly basis. Begyle is expected to open its craft beer programs starting this summer.

Though it’s new to Chicago’s shores, community-sustained brewing finds its roots deep in German history. In the 13th and 14th centuries, central brewhouses in each town would produce the liquid base of beer, called the wort, which was then collected by individual citizens. These select few would ferment the wort, and then place a special sign on their door (Zoigl, pictured above.) The six-pointed star looks just like a Star of David, but it’s actually a brewer’s star, one point for each beer-making element: hops, yeast, malt, grain, water and brewer. The Zoigl signaled to townsfolk that their neighbor had opened a temporary, communal pub in his home, a.k.a., to come over and have a cold one. After the beer from that house was gone, the next homebrewer would collect his wort and so the good people of the town were never without local beer (one hopes.)

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moss green architect garfield park

On an overcast day like today, at the start of Chicago spring (a relative oxymoron) we are dearly missing one of our favorite things any day of the week: sunshine. That plus our propensity for getting cold all the time make us crave a lizard-like existence, basking under the rays for hours on end. With that in mind, this week’s edition is all about greenhouses, where we can receive a magnified dose of every last scrap of sunlight on the dreariest of afternoons.

Garfield Park Conservatory

Despite a major wallop to its glass panes during an intense hailstorm this summer, the Garfield Park Conservatory has reopened all of its display houses to the public (though the restoration process is still underway.) The massive campus includes six greenhouses and two grand exhibition halls, home to plants from tropical, like the rare Double Coconut Palm, to those which weather the dry desert climate.

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Six months of data collection, design, and hard work have been completed… the Lakeview Area Master Plan will be released to the public.  We will be presenting the plan Tuesday, March 15, 7p-9p at St. Luke’s Memorial Hall (1500 West Belmont Avenue) .  RSVP here.  Sneak peak renderings inside. Read the rest of this entry »

moss interviewed Lakeview business owners to investigate what they like (or don’t like) about the neighborhood, along with their vision for change.  Agree with their assessment? or Don’t?  Comment below.

Along with these business interviews, we are currently in the process of surveying residents and holding public open houses to gather more information for the upcoming community design process.

Change is coming to West Lakeview.  Stay tuned

We have an unused driveway in front of our office that only gets used occasionally to load and unload materials.  It is pretty useless.  After recent water main work under our street the City even repoured the driveway that they tore up to install a new sidewalk ramp.

As part of our reclamation of the urban right-of-way project we have installed a raised planter bed, designed and built by moss with 100% reclaimed framing lumber from the Rebuilding Exchange.  Now flourishing are tomatoes, basil, oregano, thyme, brussels sprouts, strawberries, and sage.  Construction and current photos after the break. Read the rest of this entry »

milw_porch01After completing the artist loft spaces on Milwaukee Avenue, we have been asked to reconstruct the currently dilapidated rear exit porch and stair.  However, instead of reconstructing the stair only to serve the purpose of an emergency exit and, what will certainly become, a tenant storage annex, we thought, ‘What else could it be?’.  One the the reasons many rear porches end up as overflow storage for residents is because Chicago porches are not particularly inviting places to spend time.  They are only designed for the one purpose of exiting, and stairwells tend not to conjure up thoughts of a welcoming space.  This isn’t to say that utilitarian spaces can’t be beautiful, however, in this case, they aren’t.  Read the rest of this entry »

Water Hazard is an ongoing architectural research project by moss.  We are studying water related issues to become better stewards of this most precious resource.  Below is the latest dispatch. (This report was originally published by moss in March of 2005)

golfcourse1aThe United States is home to more than 23,000 golf courses, by far the most in the world. A large number of courses are located in the west and southwest regions of the country; regions that are in severe drought [1].  In addition, most golf courses are only available to a select few that can afford green fees and access the course.  This would not pose such a problem if golf courses did not consume a surfeit of natural resources that are important to the survival of the public.  Courses consume an enormous amount of land (an 18 hole golf course of 6200 yards or more would require 110 to 180 acres of land [2]), and water for decorative features and irrigation.  California alone boasts 912 golf courses, second only to Florida which is home to over 1,100 courses [3].  Therefore, California, looking right in the face of severe drought, uses over 164,000 acres of mainly urbanized and irrigated land for golf courses; that equates to 256 square miles, or roughly the size Memphis, Tennessee. Read the rest of this entry »

The avocado green paint has been removed from the masonry, walls are starting to be framed, rough plumbing is being routed, and insulation has been blown into the ceiling.  Photos after the jump.

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potatoIn addition to the native perennials planted in the front yard of moss headquarters we have undertaken growing a potato patch.  These plant-like stalks were started from the extracted eyes of organic fingerling potatoes.  To start, the eyes were covered in about an inch of soil and them covered with more soil whenever their tendrils poked above the soil until they flowered.  The rain and warm weather of the past week has made the plants shoot out of the container.  Photos after the jump. Read the rest of this entry »

foodcourtLand planning and architecture have spent the past two centuries divorcing urban society from their food supply.  The zoned separation of uses is quite possibly the biggest planning blunder in the history of the field.  Quite understandably, people of the nineteenth century did not want to live around belching smokestacks and other heavy industry – I think we would be hard pressed to find 21st century people that would enjoy it either.  The zoning designations that  still exist today were a response to the Ebenezer Howard crowd that detested cities of the era.  At that time, and even today, we are trying to buffer ourselves from the zoning districts which produce the widgets we demand or the unsavory characters we would rather ignore.  That makes me wonder, if we dislike the manufacturing of the widget – so much to move far away from the process – why should we desire the widget?  A far better idea would be to produce things for our lives that we enjoy cohabiting with.  A welcome living companion is our food.

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