More Comings and Goings of Fall Break in Chicago

 We saw a lot of other great spaces for Open House Chicago. While in the Daley Center, we learned that everything is custom in the building. The doors, the windows, the floors, even the white paint is custom and fittingly named "Daley Center White." The architectural features are custom because the building wasn't built using the standard 12 grid scale. I think it was built on an 11 grid scale, but that is sketchy in my memory. In order to retain landmark status, everything must keep the designated color scheme. That means no custom paint colors in offices. While I thought the artificial lighting in the areas without windows was oppressive, I really appreciated the minimal design elements.
A hallway in Daley Center

The Kemper Building was built in 1962 and was "the tallest marble-clad office building in the world when completed. It had Chicago's first 360 degree observation deck on the 41st floor, but it had been closed for almost 40 years, that was UNTIL it opened for OHC this year. It had wonderful views of the city. Kemper also had pictures of other Open House sites all along the observation floor, so you could look out and learn a little bit about the building you were seeing. It helped us pick a few more spots to go see. I hope they will permanently reopen it. 
Kemper from the north side of the river
W/NW view from the observation deck

Lake Point Tower had two areas open. The point that got us there was the circular restaurant [Cite...that's the actual name of the restaurant, not a note for me] with 360 degree views of Chicago and Lake Michigan (and on a clear day, Michigan, Indiana and Wisconsin - it wasn't a clear day). The other area was the 2.5 acre rooftop garden. It's three-stories up on-top of the parking garage. It's undergoing renovations, and we led by a landscape architect who was explaining the changes they were making/had made while attempting to keep the whole thing true to Alfred Caldwell's original vision. I enjoyed hearing the details as well as having an inside look at the original design elements. So much thought goes into things that are unintentionally overlooked.
 A view of the rooftop garden. It has a pool, "lagoon," waterfall, bbq area, etc. It was lovely. I forgot to ask how much room there was between the landscaping and top of the parking garage.

The Inland Steel Building was my favorite modern skyscraper. Hands-down. I don't know if I can pinpoint exactly why just yet. I suppose it's for the same reason I love Roosevelt's Auditorium Theatre: the innovation in design from decades ago is still striking to me. The space surprises me, and I love surprises. We just went up to the second floor as the entire building is being renovated. The building is essentially two towers, one for elevators and bathrooms, and another for completely unobstructed work space. Having things like elevators and bathrooms separate allows for uninterrupted floor to ceiling, wall to wall, window to window, wide open space. And I love that. We entered the building just as it started raining - the crazy downpour, an umbrella isn't going to cut kind. Jake and I were also the only ones on the floor. It felt like a quiet perch just above ground level. 
Inland Steel Building
The new Wabash Tower at Roosevelt University was fun. I love the Auditorium Building most because I love old buildings, but I love what the university was able to give to their students. The classrooms are amazing, and still some of the best views in Chicago. I also love the design of the building in contrast to the Auditorium Building is seems to rise out of. And let it be known that from the 15th story up is student housing. That's right. How would you like to score the penthouse dorm room overlooking Chicago? Me! Do-over. 
The wavy Wabash Tower rising above the Auditorium Building. You enter into the Auditorium Theatre at the street level under the tower of the AB (can you see those "little" arches? That's where).

The Fisher Building is an old office building that has been converted into [mostly] apartments. We saw a model apartment, and the highlight of the apartment was the wallpaper. The building hallways were neat because it still looked like the occupants were small offices. All the doors were wood with class insets with a business name painted on. The transoms were also all still there. It was interesting. Much cooler than most apartment building hallways. The highlight of this building was on the second floor. There are two businesses that remain in the building, one is the leasing company, another is Wheeler Kearns Architects. Wheeler Kearns was AMAZING! The office was visually stimulating with hundreds of models all around. All of the architects had a workspace in the middle of the main area. We slowly made our way around looking at everything, and on the last leg of the loop, our friend Matt asked one of the architects a question about their use of models vs. newer ways like 3D printing. That is where the magic happened. It was so fun to hear this architect talk about his craft. He answered more questions and I loved his passion for his work as well as his work being a sort of fulfillment of his childlike wonder, creativity, and craftiness. His words fed me.
 Fisher Building

The opera balcony wallpaper that was so super rad

A view of Kearns and Wheeler Architects on the second floor of the Fisher Building.

The Reva and David Logan Center for the Arts was celebrating its opening while we were there, and also was part of OHC. It's the new arts center at the University of Chicago, and they announced construction plans while we were there in 2009. It was fun to see the finished product. The building has something going on in every corner. The art studios, scene shop, several rehearsal spaces an many more areas had glass walls. I think it would take me forever to get anywhere because I would constantly be stopping to look at what was going on. We explored this place from top to bottom, pausing for a while in the Performance Penhouse to listen to a jazz ensemble. My respect for jazz has officially multiplied. It was amazing. Amazing is a stupid word for it, really. It was an experience. A moment I decided to fully embrace. After the jazz group, we found a classroom full of chairs on wheels. I think we would have stayed there for much longer had it not been designated as a green room for the jazz performers. Highlights of the building: the wheely chairs, the classroom that had window walls that completely open up to the outside, the Performance Penthouse, the "transparency" between spaces, the creative juices that were a flowin'.
Logan Center


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