Step Inside Chicago’s Historic Architecture

Interior of Studio Gang at Open House Chicago 2016

I’ve written before that the annual Open House Chicago is my favorite weekend in the city. Hosted by the Chicago Architecture Foundation, the festival offers free access to over 200 public and private architectural sites around town. It’s a wonderful impetus to explore iconic landmarks and neighborhood gems.

As I mentioned in my preview of Open House Chicago 2016, over 20 neighborhoods are represented among this year’s sites. This is the first year that neighboring Oak Park, a trove of Frank Lloyd Wright’s work, and  South Side neighborhood Englewood are included in the event.

I was delighted to devote the weekend to exploring Chicago’s architecture and to share my photos with Chicagoist. I hope you enjoy some of the sites below!

Read: Our Massive Gallery Of Stunning Architecture From Open House Chicago

St. Nicholas Ukrainian Catholic Church

I started the weekend close to home touring the many churches of Ukrainian Village. Built in 1915 by Worthmann & Steinbach, St. Nicholas features a nine-tiered golden chandelier glowing with 480 lights.St. NicholasChurch at Open House Chicago 2016

The Builder’s Building

Open House Chicago’s launch party was held at the Builder’s Building.  Hidden inside the 1927 Graham, Anderson, Probst & White office building design is an elegant atrium lobby.The Builder's Building at Open House Chicago 2016

Marina City

After sneaking into this private residence to snap photos a few months back, it was nice to be invited inside. Bertrand Goldberg famously didn’t believe in straight lines and his 1986 “city-within-a-city” reflects the winding river it sits on.River City at Open House Chicago 2016

Holy Trinity Russian Orthodox Cathedral

Louis Sullivan designed plenty of structures in Chicago, but this is one of only two churches he designed. Completed in 1903, it’s Chicago’s oldest Orthodox parish and it received financing from Czar Nicholas II of Russia.Interior photo of Holy Trinity Russian Orthodox Cathedral at Open House Chicago 2016

MILA Chicago

This new luxury residence by bKL Architecture has many amenities. My favorite is the close-up views of its neighboring buildings in the Loop.View of Chicago skyscrapers from MILA Chicago at Open House Chicago 2016

Seventeenth Church of Christ, Scientist

For the record, the Seventeenth Church of Christ, Scientist is not the same as Scientology. This tranquil space was completed by Harry Weese & Associates in 1968 and features a 3,316-pipe Aeolian-Skinner organ.Interior of Seventeenth Church of Christ, Scientist at Open House Chicago 2016

Sts. Volodymyr & Olha Ukrainian Catholic Church

The gold domes of this church by Yaroslav Korsunsky have caught my eye for years.  The interior of the 1973 space is equally stunning and features an intricate, hand-carved wooden altar.Sts. Volodymyr & Olha Ukrainian Catholic Church at Open House Chicago 2016

LondonHouse Chicago

Built as the London Guarantee Building in 1923, this riverfront high rise was recently renovated and transformed into the LondonHouse hotel. The 452-room hotel boasts some of the city’s most covetable views  from its three-story rooftop bar.View of historic Chicago buildings from the LondonHouse hotel rooftop at Open House Chicago 2016

St. John Cantius Roman Catholic Church

This 1898 space was voted “Most Beautiful Church in America” in 2016. It was based on the architecture of 19th-century Krakow and its altar and statuary can be traced back to the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition of 1893. Photo of the alter at St. John Cantius Roman Catholic Church during Open House Chicago 2016

The Yale Building

One of the most visited sites of the weekend was Englewood’s Yale Building. The senior living apartment building, dating from 1892, John T. Long, 1892 features a lush, sun-drenched atrium and balconies. Interior photo of the Yale Building at Open House Chicago 2016

St. Benedict the African Roman Catholic Church

This church was designed for its predominantly African American community in 1979. The curved wooden beams, reminiscent of African huts, and 10,000 gallon stone baptismal pool create a peaceful space for worship.Interior photo of St. Benedict the African Roman Catholic Church at Open House Chicago 2016

Zap Props

You’ve probably seen the Zap Props inventory on your favorite TV shows and movies. The 36,000-square-foot warehouse holds a curious collection of items from all eras used on production sets and in restaurants. Image of carnival props at Zap Props during Open House Chicago 2016

The Plant

This former 93,500-square-foot meatpacking facility has developed into an urban farm and food business incubator. Stop by and check out the aquaponics, kombucha brewery, coffee roaster, and craft beer brewery. The Plant aims to create an anaerobic digester to consume 30 tons of food waste per day and generate energy and provide heating and cooling. Photo of Weiner Brewing at the Plant during Open House Chicago 2016

Illinois Institute of Technology, S. R. Crown Hall

Ludwig Mies van der Rohe designed Crown Hall in 1956 and the design is a prime example of his “less is more” philosophy. The Chicago Architecture Foundation calls it “possibly the most essential example of the International style of Modern architecture.”Image of Crown Hall during Open House Chicago 2016

Illinois Institute of Technology, Robert F. Carr Memorial Chapel of St. Savior

Another Mies van der Rohe design on the IIT campus is Carr Chapel. The sparse, 1952 non-denominational chapel was his only religious project.

IIT's Carr Chapel at Open House Chicago 2016

Studio Gang Architects

The former Polish National Alliance, a 1937 Art Deco landmark, is now home to Jeanne Gang’s architecture and design firm.  The Wicker Park structure features the design studio as well as a rooftop garden and event space. Photo of Studio Gang's rooftop space at Open House Chicago 2016

Architectural information sourced from the Chicago Architecture Foundation.

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