Zach Mortice

Zach Mortice

Zach Mortice is a Chicago-based design journalist who focuses on landscape architecture and architecture.

The National Public Housing Museum Eyes a 2021 Opening

The museum will tell the history of American public housing in a remnant of a 1930s public housing complex on Chicago’s Near West Side.

People sit on the lawn area of an urban park in the sunshine.

This Conservative City Built a $132 Million Park Using One Weird Trick

Oklahoma City’s new Scissortail Park is a serious investment in the public realm, paid for by the city’s special sales tax for capital projects, called MAPS.

A semicircular "agora" made of wooden crates and plywood walls in a design exhibition.

An Activist Architecture Stirs in Chicago

Chicago Architecture Biennial participants are focused less on physical buildings than on laying the foundations of an overtly political approach to design.

Can This Chicago Apartment Factory Make New Homes Affordable?

Skender believes it can shave time and costs off the standard construction process, resulting in more affordable housing.

A design rendering of more than a dozen different backyard-cottage templates.

A One-Stop Shop for Affordable Backyard Homes Advances in L.A.

A new program in Los Angeles seeks to finance and build accessory dwellings for homeowners who agree to rent them to Section 8 voucher-holders.

The facade, front steps, and main entrance of a renovated academic building at the University of Chicago.

Can Artist Theaster Gates Help Bridge a Town-Gown Divide?

A school at the University of Chicago is opening itself up to the South Side through public policy and architecture, with help from Theaster Gates.

The outside of a modern academic building, with translucent panels along the second floor and window-walled classrooms below.

The Bauhaus in the Age of Frictionless Design

The design school at Chicago’s IIT is a direct descendant of the Bauhaus. Its slick new building is, in some ways, everything the Bauhaus was not.

Drawing exercise of abstract shapes in different colors, from the 1920s.

‘The Whole World a Bauhaus’ Reveals a Movement’s Fault Lines

An exhibition at the Elmhurst Art Museum shows how the Bauhaus was defined by its conflicting ideologies.

Barack Obama hugs Rahm Emanuel as Michelle Obama looks on.

After Rahm, What Comes Next for the Obama Library?

Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s decision to step down may give critics of the library plan more time and room to negotiate.

A stained glass artwork depicting two owls and geometric patterns

The Brilliant Artist That Chicago, and the World, Nearly Forgot

The idiosyncratic art of Edgar Miller (1899-1993) has long been hidden behind closed doors. Finally, Chicagoans are getting more opportunities to see it.

A colorful modern high school that occupies a former Kmart in Waukegan, Illinois

Blue Light Special: The Chicago-Area High School in an Old Kmart

In the suburb of Waukegan, Illinois, the design firm JGMA has turned an abandoned Kmart into a bright new home for Cristo Rey St. Martin College Prep.

A flock of birds flies past the Gateway Arch.

The Gateway Arch, a Global Icon, Reconnects to St. Louis

St. Louis’ Gateway Arch once stood in splendid isolation. A new $380-million renovation of its grounds brings it closer to downtown.

The Story of the Great Lakes in 8 Maps

The book Third Coast Atlas seeks to illuminate the Great Lakes—America’s “third coast”—through maps, plans, photos, and more.

Experimental City: The Sci-Fi Utopia That Never Was

With solar energy, recycling, computers, and personal mass transit, the 1960s-era Minnesota Experimental City was a prescient and hopeful vision of the urban future. A new documentary tells its story.

Architecture Beyond the A-List

Three exhibits showcase Chicago’s architectural and cultural riches outside of downtown.

From Filth to Fun: Big Designs for the Chicago River

Invited to dream up the future of the Chicago Riverwalk, designers imagine everything from lush wetlands to a filtered “swimming bowl.”

Is Beige the New Black in Architecture?

The Chicago Architecture Biennial, the biggest architecture festival in the country, reveals up-and-coming designers turning to the mundanities of everyday life for inspiration.

What Facebook Can Learn From Company Towns

As the technology firm plans to build a village in Silicon Valley, history suggests what can sustain a company town long after its founders are gone.

Here Comes Chicago's Architecture Bonanza

Opening this fall, the second edition of North America’s biggest architecture event will focus on design history and the power of the image.

Why This Teaching Hospital Only Has Fake Patients

A Chicago community college has invested in new architecture and high-tech simulations to prepare its students for jobs in health care.

Could Freight Hubs Become Eco-Villages?

A landscape architect proposes exurban shipping districts you’d actually want to visit (or live in).