All posts filed under: Architecture


Discover 200 Free Architecture Tours with Open House Chicago

The sixth annual Open House Chicago offers 200+ free tours on October 15 and 16.


Free Public Programming during the Chicago Architecture Biennial

Credit: Iwan Baan Courtesy of Chicago Architecture Biennial Chicago, the largest international survey of contemporary architecture in North America is upon us! The Chicago Architecture Biennial runs Oct. 3 through Jan. 3, 2016, and aside from bringing an elite group of global design leaders to town it ushers in over 200 free public events. It was my pleasure to preview the biennial’s public programming schedule for Chicagoist. Please give it a read and take advantage of the hundreds of free opportunities to engage with architecture this fall! Chicago Architecture Biennial Announces Hundreds of Free Events


Monday Inspiration – Renzo Piano

The new Whitney Museum of American Art offers a distinct vantage to admire at every angle. Its multifaceted design has attracted both admiration and ire, but there’s no denying the adventurous and accessible spirit of Renzo Piano’s work is a fitting tribute to museum founder Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney. In addition to the impressive High Line and Hudson River adjacent views afforded by the Whitney’s terraces and exterior stairs, I appreciate the opportunity for fresh air and contemplation to bookend the viewing experience on each floor. It’s a thoughtful design to house a dynamic collection. As critic Alan G. Brake notes, “…viewing art is not a static act, but rather a sequence of experiences of looking, focusing and unfocusing, thinking, moving, standing, sitting, etc.”¹ The quote in this image comes from a short documentary series by the Whitney community documenting the opening of the new downtown building, the museum’s fourth location. It illustrates so much of what attracts me to architecture, the ethos of the time and people who conceived a structure and all the stories that have lived within. This …

Chicago Athletic Association Hotel in Architect’s Newspaper

Credit: Chicago Athletic Association Hotel In a city of architectural stunners, one property has reigned supreme this summer – and it’s not exactly new. The Chicago Athletic Association Hotel opened after an extensive restoration of the historic Chicago Athletic Association Building, built in 1893. The sumptuous space boasts dazzling rooftop views, a game room with an indoor bocce ball court, and dining options ranging from the 1890’s inspired Cherry Circle Room to a Shake Shack. From happy hours to hosting out-of-town guests, the Chicago Athletic Association Hotel has become the spot to soak up old school Chicago glamour. I was particularly interested in the adaptive reuse of the building, as it was converted from a men’s leisure club to a luxury hotel. I detailed architectural challenges and engineering triumphs of the CAA’s restoration in an article for the Architect’s Newspaper. Check out the piece for more information on reproducing historic light bulbs for the ballroom and constructing an entirely new rooftop bar! Back in the Game: A World’s Fair Sports Club in Chicago returns as a …


Monday Inspiration – Frank Gehry

Here’s my first effort in reviving a series of travel-inspired photos and quotes designed to spark your imagination on Mondays. Designed by Frank Gehry and completed in 2002, Cleveland’s Peter B. Lewis Building is home to Case Western Reserve University’s Weatherhead School of Management. I typically glimpse this sculptural structure from the Cleveland Museum of Art’s Glass Gallery, but I recently explored it up close (curved brick facade and all). Gehry has compared the sloping walls to frozen custard, and on my mid-blizzard visit it was definitely cool. This quote comes from Sydney Pollack’s 2006 documentary, Sketches of Frank Gehry. It’s an interesting look into Gehry’s progression and design process. I didn’t know that Pollack was a friend of Gehry’s, and the scenes of two masters just hanging out are among the most delightful. In the film, Gehry is referencing the constraining “goddamn rules” of taste in his profession and this is juxtaposed with the story of his divisive Guggenheim Museum Bilbao. Who doesn’t need a reminder now and then that we all have a right …

Félix Candela’s Shells at the Art Museum of the Americas

A small museum has many virtues. Free of an overwhelming collection, the viewer can enjoy exhibits with ease taking the time to absorb each object label. Rather than cramming a visit with “must-see” pieces, I find smaller museums often afford the most memorable and surprising experiences. Washington, D.C.’s Art Museum of the Americas (AMA) is one such space. Established in 1976, the AMA primarily features Latin American and Caribbean artists who “creatively combine aesthetics with topical social and political issues.” AMA’s collection has grown from 250 to nearly 2,000 pieces in a variety of media since its founding. I was fortunate to visit the AMA on the last day of Candela’s Shells: The Reinforced Concrete Shells of Spanish-Mexican Architect Félix Candela. The other galleries were closed, giving me the necessary focus to process Candela’s hyperbolic parabloids. His whimsical shell-like structures land somewhere between elegant, naturally occurring shapes and imports from outer space. He was not the first to experiment with such structures, but Candela pushed the form to achieve unprecedented concrete results in the 1950’s …