Monday, July 28, 2014

what we did on our summer vacation part two: chicago architectural boat tour

Those of you out there in the Midwest know how absolutely hot and humid it can get.

Chicago River Architectural Tour

And, you would never voluntarily plant yourself in July, on the upper deck of a boat, in a river, surrounded by buildings...with temps and humidity above ninety degrees, for ninety minutes of slow moving sight seeing. That's what we have tourists for, right?


My sainted cousin continued to indulge my love of mid-century modern architecture (like the perfect minimalist Farnsworth House) by voluntarily ushering my family to the Chicago Architecture Boat Tour. We went on the "official" tour which I heartily recommend. It is a docent led tour and OH SO INTERESTING.

Here is the map of our tour.

Chicago River Architectural Tour


Trump Tower below, annoys the locals because The Donald plastered his name on it in big white letters before anyone could get a law passed prohibiting such an atrocity. Chicago pretty much approved the billboard in the architectural plans, and then regretted it later. Sillies. It was designed by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill and built 2005-2009.

Chicago River Architectural Tour


The building on the left is called One Illinois Center, and it was built in 1967-1970. The architect was Mies van der Rohe (of Farnsworth House fame).

Chicago River Architectural Tour


Have you been hearing on the news about people standing up on double decker buses and getting killed recently? How awful. We were warned "don't stand up."  We also learned that the Great Chicago Fire in 1871 not only flattened the city, but also paved the way for the magnificent buildings that were subsequently constructed along the river. Within six years Chicago went from a nameless collection of buildings to a great city that was giving New York a run for the money.

Chicago River Architectural Tour


I liked Marina City a lot. Marina City is residences with parking on the bottom layers and was built 1959-1964 and designed by Bertrand Goldberg Associates. Super mid-century.

Chicago River Architectural Tour


The Chicago River features some draw bridges. This is the Kinzie Street Railroad Bridge, architect was John B. Turner and built in 1915.

Chicago River Architectural Tour


The building scapes were magnificent. Every single one of these buildings is a pretty big deal. The curved one is 333 West Wacker Drive by Kohn Pedersen Fox and Associates. It was built in 1979-1983. Doesn't it look eighties? The one to the right is also by the same architectural firm, and 191 North Wacker Drive was built in 2000-2002. The firm didn't want to compete with themselves so during the day, the left building stands out. At night, the right one has special lighting effects up top, and it takes over the view.

Chicago River Architectural Tour

The right is the Leo Burnett Building, built 1987-1989 by Kevin Roche John Dinkeloo & Associates. And the left is 330 N. Wabash (formerly IBM Building). Architected by Mies van der Rohe again, 1969-1971. Building in the middle is a gym or something.  Another amazing Chicago River fact: in 1900, the city fathers reversed the flow of the river. It used to dump into Lake Michigan. Now it dumps into the Mississippi Valley. It had become, sewer-like, and was a terrible spreader of disease.

Chicago River Architectural Tour

Something always going on.


Chicago River Architectural Tour


This is called Erie on the Park built in 2001-2002 by Lucien Lagrange Architects. What a great residence.

Chicago River Architectural Tour

I couldn't find  reference on this building. A stunner.

Chicago River Architectural Tour


The Chicago River had a huge decline when all industrial buildings basically obscured the river (butted up to the banks with no windows facing the river), and it stank from the industrialists dumping waste into the river. Eventually the river was cleaned up, and people began to build residences and buildings facing towards the river banks. This is River City, by Bertrand Goldberg and Associates, and was built in 1986. It is a "live-work-play" concept.

Chicago River Architectural Tour


Thunder storm rolling in. If it's not one thing its another on our river cruise.

Chicago River Architectural Tour


One last stunning view...

Chicago River Architectural Tour


Albert, king of the selfie. But that is a whole other post.

Chicago River Architectural Tour

Good tour! I recommend.

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