Many cities around the world are known for a particular characteristic which attracts people to visit, in Paris it is the romance, Milan it is fashion, London it is the iconic culture of the swinging sixties and here in Chicago, it is all about the architecture. I had been wanting to see this creative and spectacular skyline for many years and towards the end of 2016 my buddies and I spent a week in the windy city. Above all else my favorite experience was the architecture tour which we endeavored upon, and it was everything that I had hoped for.
If you do take a tour, I’d advise turn it into a DIY tour rather than a restrictive tour with a company, and for a richer, more relaxed experience, consider renting a minibus or charter bus to shuttle your group around from site to site. Should you decide to freestyle your own tour, here are some of my personal highlights which you may want to check out.
Hard Rock Hotel
The Hard Rock Hotel aka. Carbide & Carbon building can be found at 230 Michigan Avenue, an Art Deco masterpiece which was created by Chicago’s architectural pioneers Daniel and Hubert Burnham, back in 1929. There is so much to enjoy about the design of this building, the golden spire sitting proudly on top of the structure, the green terra-cotta tiles throughout the building (said to resemble a champagne bottle). For me this building represents all that was good about America in the 20s, fun, exciting, glitzy and a building which doesn’t take itself too seriously.
Slightly further down Michigan Avenue is the impending Tribune tower, built in 1922 to celebrate the city’s newspaper’s 75th anniversary. The architects who designed the building, John Mead Howells and Raymond M. Hood, actually won the contract after the newspaper held a competition. The result of their work is this incredible neo-Gothic building, standing at 36 stories high, with simple yet powerful limestone brick work and a steel frame contouring the building. For those of you who love to geek out, the exterior of the building is said to be comprised of stones from all over the world, from the Alamo and the Great Wall of China, with 9/11 bricks also having been attached recently in memory of the victims.
Bahá’í House of Worship
Many will point to the Marina City towers as the most beautiful in the city but for me, this house of worship stole the show. You’ll find the building on Linden Avenue in Wilmette, and once you set eyes on the area, you cannot miss this whitewashed structure. This building took over 40 years to complete, after the first stone was laid down by Abdu’l-Baha himself. The result is a temple of outstanding beauty, complete with three domed segments, filled with intricate design work which I could spend days gazing at. Many won’t talk about this building as standing shoulder to shoulder with others in the city, but I couldn’t disagree more and I suggest you check it out during your tour.
Do you love architecture? Where is your favorite place to geek out? Feel free to let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.