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Category Archives: Old Buildings


This article in the New York times describes Chicago’s architecture as world famous. To show off this archectiture in the city, “the Chicago Architecture Foundation offers first-rate guided tours to help visitors understand what makes this city’s skyline so special.” The foundation offers walking, bike, boat, and bus tours to more than 60 architectural sites and environments in and around Chicago. One of the CAF’s most popular tours is the 1 1/2-hour Architecture River Cruise. I have personally been on this tour and it was aw dropping. The boat sails along both the north and the south branches of the Chicago River. Although you can see these 50 or so buildings by foot, traveling by water give you a unique perspective. The boat allows you to see buildings from a lower angle, because the river is below street level. Also, the boats let you see a different side of the buildings, and it allows you to feel captured by the beauty of the city. On the boat it lets you appreciate the old and modern architecture that Chicago has. Therefore, this boat ride down the river can display the history of the City while showing off modern architectural styles. I would highly recomment this or any boat tour down the river is for anyone interested in Chicago architecture or the city itself.

– Jeremy



According to this time line, the Plans for the stadium begane in 1919, and was constructed by 1928, but was first opened on october 9th 1924. It was built of concrete faced with granite textured cash stone. The general design followed very similar architecture as in the Columbian Exposition. It followed ancient Greek and Roman architecture. The classic feature was the Doric colonmades that rose 100 feet above the playing field. The Chicago Bears started using the field in 1971. Then in 2002 they decided to remodel the stadium. The city of chicago, the Chicago Park District and an innovative architect and his firm created a world class state of the art stadium while leaving the famous columns.

Today Soldier Field stands in Chicago as an incredible display of innovative architecture. It will most likely be used and shown off to the world in the Olympic Games if they were brought to Chicago. Therefore, This field displays Chicago’s drive to continue to become a elite Global City.

– Jeremy


The Rookery building is the oldest high rise in Chicago that is still standing. It was designed by famous architects Daniel Burnham and John Root. This article explains the name “rookery” is inherited from the previous building on this site, an old city hall which was a favorite roosting spot of pigeons. The interior of the building is very famous. It includes a famous semi-spiral staircase. As well, the lobby was remodeled in 1905 by Frank Lloyd Wright, who simplified the ironwork and added planters and light fixtures in his characteristic style. The court is filled with light, and it became ver influence design in office building in Chicago. This building represents a transition between masonry and metal construction methods, with the outer walls supported mostly by masonry piers and the inner frame built of steel and iron. Therefore this building was very influencal to the city’s design after the Chicago Fire by setting the foundation for many attributed that is seen throughtout the city today.

– Jeremy


Many skyscrapers were created because of an original need for additional office space. Architects decided to build upward to satisfy the demand in urban areas so more people could take advantage of the resources that cities had to offer. One of the original towers created was the Monadnock building in Chicago, which still stands today at 15 stories, not high by today’s standards but was extreme for the time. Designed by Daniel Burnham and John Wellborn Root, this building was built with solid brick on the outer walls that was measured at six feet thick. Burnham and Root wanted to use metal instead of this thickness of brick but their clients did not trust this method. It was too extreme for the time period.

Eventually, Chicago architects began using office blocks with a skeleton entirely comprised of metal. Using metal for buildings faced a minor setback due to its expense at the time. Once steel became less expensive to produce and more widely available in the 1880’s, office towers began to grow taller and taller. The first architects to accept and visually accentuate this vertical character were Dankmar Adler and Louis Sullivan in Chicago. They began constructing 10 story buildings, which eventually grew larger. Later, Sullivan designed the Carson Pirie Scott department store building in Chicago which is now one of the most famous buildings in the city.

This type of architecture with the vertical character became known as the Chicago School. The main characteristic is the innovative steel-frame construction. Chicago School buildings have been praised as important precursors to 20th-century steel and glass skyscrapers. This construction made Chicago known as the birthplace of the first skyscraper. Therefore, this style of architecture that was invented in Chicago advanced the Modernism movement by aiding many of the skyscrapers designs created around the world.

– Jeremy

the white city

The Chicago Worlds Fair used Modernism to construct its site. Modernism was crucial to the cities development. It brought about new thinking that was able to aid in city planning. Many architects and leaders found at the end of the 19th century that new office skyscrapers were individually very impressive but they did not connect with the city as a whole. This look led to the belief that city designs occurred randomly and not planned out. Confusion was the result and few important people attempted to come up with a solution. The solution to eliminating the chaos in cities was largely influenced by the Columbian Exposition in 1893.

The Columbian Exposition helped change the confusion in the layout of cities. The Columbian Exposition was part of a World’s Fair held in Chicago that marked the 400th anniversary of the arrival of Christopher Columbus in the Western Hemisphere. Landscape architects such as Frederick Law Olmstead and Daniel Burnham planned the Exposition. Their goal was to showcase a design that made a cohesive group through the layout of their buildings. The work from Olmstead and Burnham caused Chicago be renamed as the “White City”.  It was given this name because of the shimmering white colored buildings that were used and because the Fair was incredibly well run and planned out. The “White City” gave people an impression of the city of having no poverty or crime. The “White City” gave Chicago a positive image, which was very different from previous years before the Great Chicago Fire. Before the fire, Chicago had the impression of being gloomy and dark. The great planning and execution of the Exposition changed that image forever.

The “White City” buildings were all designed with a classical Roman Style. This style of architecture sparked construction of large-scale classical public buildings. City halls, art museums, and public libraries started to be made using the Roman Style. This became a new form of public building construction as architects and governments found that this classical architecture was very appropriate and appealing. The Supreme Court building became a good example of this style.  From a distance the classical temple of the building is obvious, but up close it shows a degree of simplification that connects it with the art deco modernism movement.

Besides the World’s Fair having an impact on public buildings, it also sparked the idea for many cities to start to strategically planning the layout of their urban landscape. Many cities installed permanent urban planning boards or committees to make certain the land was being maximized as efficiently as possible. City leaders for the first time realized there was a need to be sensible and systematic plan because there seemed to be chaos in too many urban areas prior to this realization. This made the urban cities so much better, and aided many cities in becoming part of the global community. Establishing a planning committee for cities became known as the City Beautiful movement and lasted from 1893 until the great depression in 1930’s. The goal of the City Beautiful advocates was to improve the city through beautification. They thought this would lead to several positive effects on the city. The planners thought city beauty would inspire civic loyalty and moral rectitude in the impoverished. They also thought by bringing beauty to the American cities it would bring more culture similar to their European competitor’s cities. The last thing the planners hoped would happen was that the upper class would want to live in the urban centers, or at least spend money and work in them. Through these three effects planners thought American cities would be able to play a more important role in the global community.

Therefore the Expostion sparked innovation that was clearly used throughout the city and the rest of the world. The fair aided Chicago into allowing it turn into a Global City by using planners and the unique style of architecture. Thanks to the Worlds Fair, Chicago is a city that can play a big role in the global community.

– Jeremy


According to this article,The Museum of Science and Industry is one of the most beloved and visited museums in the world.” The Museum origins are tied back to the Chicago Columbian Exposition which was the World’s Fair. Back then in 1893 the Exposition the Museum was called the Palace of Fine art. This building is the last major structure from the fair.

Thanks to the Chairmen of Sears Roebuck & Company in 1911, Julius Rosenwald the building was turned into a place of public science education. He was originally inspired by a visit with his son to the Deutches Museum in Munich, so when he returned to Chicago he wanted to create a place for “industrial enlightment”. In 1933 the Museum of Science and Industry opened to the public.

This museum in the oldest science museum in the Western hemisphere. It has over 800 exhibits and over 2,000 interactive units. The Museum of Science and Industry attracts about 2 million visitors per year. As well the building itself is a place to remember Chicago’s history.

Today Chicago is filled with Modernism, which is a result of many innovators pushing Chicago forward. Although without structures like this Museum and the Chicago Water Tower, people might forget where Chicago came rome. The Palace of Fine arts, now the Chicago Museum of Science and Industry, was created for the Colombian Exposition. This exposition was brought to Chicago to show the world that Chicago was a city of promise and optimism after the dreadful Chicago Fire in 1871. Therefore this building reminds Chicago and the rest of the world, how Chicago was able to start to rebuild and grow into a Global City.

– Jeremy

According to this article, “Marina city is a complex of two cylindrical towers near the Chicago River. Due to their unique shape, the towers are locally known as the ‘corn cobs’.” These two 60 story towers were built in 964 by Bertrand Goldberg. It is a apartment complex that includes recreational facilities, offices, restaurants, banks, a theater and 18 stories of parking space. Marina city was built with the idea of creating a fully society in the building. It became an alternative to the villages and small towns, offering everything in a small area.

Originally Chicago feared that the outflow of people from the cities in early sixties would lead to decrease jobgs. So this experimental complex created becasue it was financed by unions. It is definitly not the most famous building in Chicago, but Marina City reinforced the image of Chicago as a city on the forefront of modern urban architecture.

Even though this building is not the most famout, it is a very interesting site for movies, especially if you need to throw a car out of a building. There is a scene scene in “The Hunter” which is a car chase through one of the Marina City parking lots. The car eventually crashes in the scene through a barrier, and diving right into the river. Movies like this are great for the city because it provides more exposure for the city. The more exposure for Chicago will in the heirarchy of global cities. That is why Chicago is pushing so hard for the 2016 Olympics in the city, because the city wants to showcase to the world the opportunity Chicago offers.

– Jeremy

The Wrigley Building is one of the most famous buildings in all of Chicago. It sets on the edge of the Chicago river, in a very prominant location. According to this article, “The Wrigley building serves as the headquarters of the Wrigley (chewing gum) company and was built in 1920 by the company’s founder, William Wrigley Jr.” It was the first building in the southern end of the magnificient mile. This building stands out with incredible architecture with its white terra cotta cladding.

The article explains the Wrigley building consists of 2 sections: the tallest, 30 story southern building has a 121 meter high tower and was completed in 1921. The largest, 21 story northern section was completed in 1924. The two structures are connected by an open walkway on street level and two elevated walkways on the 3rd and 14th story. Between the two structures is the small Wrigley plaza.

This is another older style building that adds so much art to the city. With building such as the Trump tower going up next to it, the Wrigley building helps keep the old Chicago flavor alive while the new high tech architecture is going up all over the city.

– Jeremy

Since its survival of the Great Chicago Fire, the Chicago Water Tower became one of Chicago’s symbols. This article explains that it was constructed in 1869 using big limestone blocks with all its small towers in a ‘gothic style’, resembles more a tiny European 13th century castle than a water tower. The tower is located in the middle of many high rise buildings such as the John Hancock Center, so it provided a sharp contrast. This building was a symbol for Chicago to continue after the fire wiped out most of the city. Although it is functionally too important to the city now, it still houses a visitor information center and has become one of the major tourist attractions in Chicago. As well, the tower now is almost a centerpiece for Chicago’s most expensive shopping district on Michigan Avenue.

– Jeremy

With the recent crisis in the markets such as the DOW, S & P, and NASDAQ, i decided to look into the Chicago Board of Trade. The Chicago Board of trade is the building that host the CME group, which help the market prices for the entire global economy. The CME trades commodities of all sorts in futures and options.

The Chicago Board of trade is a Chicago landmark for its design. According to this article, the building is “one of the city’s finest examples of “Art Deco” architecture, a style of the 1920s and early 1930s that attempted to express the modern, streamlined world by the use of cubic forms, geometric ornament, and sleek surface materials.” This building viewed all the way down LaSalle Street because the street terminates with this building. Inside this building it has one of the finest example of the Art Deco design with a two story lobby. As well, on the exterior there is a lot of art. There are many various carvings made on the building. Recently, the director of the move “Dark Night” (Batman),  tried to take advantage of this building. He must of thought it was a special building because he filmed it in several fights scenes just outside the building.

The board of trade is another example of a Chicago landmark that brings art to the city. As well the building plays a crucial role by being the heart of the cities economy by hosting the CME group. Therefore the building should be looked at as a symbol of the Chicago economy.

– Jeremy