Chicagoland architecture 2023

I assembled a three-legged trip for this year’s birthday excursion, stopping in Chicago to see my long-missed friend Janet in Chicago, and then on to Sacramento for a memorial service for Mom, hanging out with my cousin and her family, and exploring a few natural areas.

In Chicago, I stayed in the amenable Hotel Blake, one of the Loop hotels that has been repurposed from (usually historic) office buildings. My architecture focus was on older buildings—I love me some International Style and Brutalism, but Chicago’s earlier buildings are something extra special.

I took a lovely guided/audio tour of Frank Lloyd Wright’s home and studio in Oak Park and a sampling of his houses on Forest Avenue.

finally processed throughAlso a quick run up to Evanston to make sure all of the buildings I remember are still there (true, with one exception), taking a walk with Alice in the development office. The Weber Arch post-dates me, so this was my opportunity to make a procession of one through it.

monadnock 1My target building in the Loop was the Monadnock Block. I fell in lurve with this structure when I saw photos of it for an art history course, but to the best of my recollection, this is the first time that I’ve seen it in the stone. It’s just inside the El’s Loop, as you can see from the structures in the foreground.

white hatStreet level businesses are hanging on, including a sandwich shop and a rather smart bistro.

exit stairsstone towerGotta snap the fire escapes. And, oh, those delicious Chicago bay windows.

here we arereliance towerNoted in my AIA guide was the Reliance Building, now a Staypineapple hotel.

don't fall outAccording to Janet, some people back in the day found the nearly floor-to-ceiling windows a bit vertiginous.

permanentSome street furniture: engraved street name signs for Michigan Avenue at Van Buren Street,

nouveau 1nouveau 2and a cheeky Art Nouveau station entrance marker for Metra.

and other jobsThe Hotel Blake is south of Ida B. Wells Drive, in the semi-revived neighborhood of Printers’ Row.

clock tower completeclock tower topThe end of Dearborn Street is anchored by the old Dearborn Station. No more trains, and not much else happening in this building, alas.

semi-intentional selfieWe looked through my Flickr feed during Japanese class (“what did you do on vacation?” prompts). My classmate Kathy remarked, “There are no pictures of people.” So here’s a picture of me, just for Kathy.

nice backgroundI enjoyed a little time in Millennium Park, but I gravitated to old school Grant Park (to honor those who marched) and Buckingham Fountain. Nice shiny-shiny towers in the background.