Architectural Treasures

Iconic skyscrapers and striking structures have catapulted Chicago to the forefront of the world architectural map. From the innovative ideas brought to life by the Chicago School to the distinctive design of Frank Lloyd Wright and the modern spaces by international “starchitects,” the city offers many buildings to admire. You just have to know where to go.

From the Ground Up

There is no better place to learn about local landmarks and neighborhoods than the Chicago Architecture Center. Founded in 1966, the cultural organization continues to inspire millions of people to learn why design matters with more than 85 tours such as Chicago’s Icons: Connecting Past and Present, which centers on the old and new buildings of downtown and covers a range of styles from 19th-Century Commercial to Beaux-Arts and Postmodern before culminating in Millennium Park. Another possibility is Historic Skyscrapers, which delves into the history and engineering of notable towers such as The Rookery, an exquisite building by architects Daniel Burnham and John Root featuring Moorish and Romanesque accents along with a Prairie-style interior atrium by Frank Lloyd Wright, and the Auditorium Building by Louis Sullivan and Dankmar Adler, which was completed in 1889 and was the largest building in the United States and the tallest in Chicago at the time of its construction.

Across Communities: Chicago Architectural Biennial

As the largest exhibition of contemporary architecture, art, and design in North America, the Chicago Architectural Biennial inspires people to get out and about to explore the environment around them. More than 40 venues citywide are opening doors for this exciting event that features independent programming through January 5, 2020, including the main exhibition “…and other such stories” at the Chicago Cultural Center, the former library known as the “People’s Palace, featuring works from participants from more than 20 countries. Other activities include the exhibition “The Shape of the Future” at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, a self-guided tour of the Tiffany Trail featuring the stained glass works of Louis Comfort Tiffany and tours of Frank Lloyd Wright’s Chicago including the Frederick C. Robie House in Hyde Park, to name a few.

Taking It All In

What better way to check out the scenery than from an architectural marvel in its own right? Standing at 100 stories, the former John Hancock Building, now known simply by its address, 875 North Michigan Avenue, boasts breathtaking 360-degree views of the Chicago skyline and Lake Michigan from The Signature Room at the 95th Floor and The Signature Lounge at the 96th Floor, where you can also enjoy stellar food and drinks from the perfect vantage point.

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