The Chicago Architecture Center – Presenting a Wide Variety of Events, Virtually

Holiday lights along the Magnificent Mile. Photo by Anna Munzesheimer.

With the pandemic causing the closure of more and more activities that Chicagoans enjoy, it is encouraging that The Chicago Architecture Center is providing a wide range of online events that are rewarding and stimulating. The Chicago Architecture Center (CAC) continues to offer online and remotely accessible programs for audiences of all ages, initiated in April 2020 with participants joining from across Chicago, the United States and overseas. Located at 111 East Wacker Drive in downtown Chicago, the Center is temporarily closed to visitors until further notice as of November 20, 2020, in accordance with Tier 3 COVID-19 mitigation guidelines for cultural institutions from the State of Illinois.

To further support recommendations from public health officials, all CAC walking tours and in- person activities are also suspended until further notice. Chicago Architecture Foundation Center River Cruises aboard Chicago’s First Lady, concluded for 2020 as of Sunday, November 15, will resume in 2021 on a date to be announced.

Through December 31, save 10% storewide—20% for CAC members—and get free shipping on orders of $75 or more at the CAC Design Store, online at shop.architecture.org. Photo by Anna Munzesheimer

The CAC Design Store remains open online anytime at shop.architecture.org. Through Thursday, December 31, 2020, 10% savings are available storewide with free shipping on orders of $75 or more. Current CAC members save 20% storewide.

Art Deco detailon elevator doors at One North LaSalle. Photo courtesy of the Chicago Architecture Center.CAC

The Chicago Architecture Center (CAC) continues to offer online and remotely accessible programs for audiences of all ages, initiated in April 2020 with participants joining from across Chicago, the United States and overseas. Located at 111 East Wacker Drive in downtown Chicago, the Center is temporarily closed to visitors until further notice as of November 20, 2020, in accordance with Tier 3 COVID-19 mitigation guidelines for cultural institutions from the State of Illinois.

To further support recommendations from public health officials, all CAC walking tours and in- person activities are also suspended until further notice. Chicago Architecture Foundation Center River Cruises aboard Chicago’s First Lady, concluded for 2020 as of Sunday, November15, will resume in 2021 on a date to be announced.

Soldier Field.Photo courtesy of the Chicago Architecture Center.CAC

Chicago’s Holiday Traditions

Wednesday, December 23 at noon $8, FREE with registration fee to CAC members Chicago has a habit of going “all in” for the holiday season. Join CAC docents Barbara Breakstone and Leslie Clark Lewis to hear the history behind these traditions, and learn how city landmarks get into the spirit, from display windows at Macy’s on State Street to the lions who stand guard at the Art Institute of Chicago.

Co-host Barbara Breakstone has been a CAC docent since 2012 and leads several different tours. Her interest in becoming a docent was spurred years ago while giving downtown walking tours to her daughter’s first- and second-grade classes. Breakstone’s career roles ranged from librarian to accountant, in many different settings.

Co-host Leslie Clark Lewis has been a CAC docent for more than 10 years. She is tour director for Historic Treasures of Chicago’s Golden Age, which features some of Chicago’s most iconic historic buildings. Before becoming a docent, Leslie worked for 25 years in marketing and communications. The first thing she did after retiring was apply to become a CAC docent.

Art Deco detailon elevator doors at One North LaSalle. Photo courtesy of the Chicago Architecture Center.CAC

Art Deco Gods and Goddesses

Wednesday, January 13 at noon $8, FREE with registration fee to CAC members Art Deco epitomized the exuberance of the Roaring Twenties, but it also included motifs from ancient times, with images of Classical deities used to hint at a building’s purpose. This remotely accessible program showcases gods and goddesses that identify a post office, an electrical substation, a musicians’ union and more than one bank. In each example, the gravitas and familiarity of the Classical figures complement the gaiety and novelty of Art Deco, making these buildings readily identifiable and easy to love.

Host Bill Coffin, former appellate attorney and adjunct professor of legal research, became a CAC docent in 2004. He is the tour director for the CAC’s two Art Deco walking tours and has presented lectures about Art Deco at the CAC and at the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute, a program of Northwestern University’s School of Professional Studies. He enjoys sharing photos of Art Deco buildings with friends from his travels to cities big and small across the country.

Louis Comfort Tiffany art glass at Macy’s on State Street. Photo courtesy of the Chicago Architecture Center

Tiffany in Chicago

Wednesday, January 27 at noon $8, FREE with registration fee to CAC members Chicago is home to one of the largest collections of Tiffany glass in the country. CAC docent Susan Jacobson leads this remotely accessible program that examines some the most magnificent art-glass and mosaic installations in the city crafted by Louis Comfort Tiffany.

Beginning with his exhibit at the 1893 World’s Fair, Tiffany left indelibly colorful marks on Chicago’s architecture. Learn about the design, techniques and crafts people involved in creating these works and gain a deeper appreciation for Tiffany’s artistry through his company’s renowned creations, including domes at the Chicago Cultural Center and the Art Institute of Chicago, as well as several remarkable mosaics.

Host Susan Jacobson has been a CAC docent since 2008 and leads nine different tours. She is co-director of Synagogues by Bus and Tiffany Treasures. Prior to becoming a docent, Susan enjoyed a 40-year career in academic librarianship at the University of Pennsylvania, Columbia University and the University of Illinois in Chicago. In addition to her CAC activities, Susan volunteers with the Saints, Chicago’s volunteer ushering organization. Susan divides her time between Chicago and a home in the hills of West Virginia.

April 2019 Girls Build! Spring Break Camp participantssketch projectsin the Chicago Architecture Center Design Studio. Photo courtesy of the Chicago Architecture Center

CAC Education Programs

Through partnerships with schools and youth-serving organizations, the CAC reaches thousands of K–12 students annually, while teacher workshops provide educators with tools and resources they need to advance STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) curricula in their classrooms. Committed to increasing access for populations historically under-represented in ACED (architecture, construction, engineering and design) professions, the CAC offers many of its education programs—and all of its programs for teens—at no cost to participants.

Seventeenth Church of Christ, Scientist. Photo by Eric Allix Rogers

39th Annual Newhouse Architecture + Design Competition

FREE with required registration in advance

Submissions due Friday, April 9, 2021 by 5pm

The 39th annual Newhouse Architecture + Design Competition is an opportunity to showcase the talents of Chicago-area students who create projects that solve real-world problems. This year’s competition highlights the City of Chicago’s INVEST South/West initiative by concentrating students’ efforts on proposals to improve the quality of life in the neighborhoods of Auburn Gresham, Austin and Englewood. Key dates include the start of registration on December 1, 2020 and the submission deadline of April 9, 2021. Questions are welcome via email to newhouse@architecture.org. Visit architecture.org/newhouse to learn more.

Entries to the 39th annual Newhouse Architecture + Design Competition, open to all area high school students, are due April 9, 2021. Photo by Michael Courier.CAC

Girls Build! Day 2021

Saturday, January 9, 2021 from 10am−noon FREE with required registration in advance. Themed “Sustainable Futures,” the CAC’s second annual Girls Build! Day brings middle school participants together virtually with women changing urban landscapes through green design.

Girls Build! Day 2021 kicks off at 10am with a discussion about STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) careers, the unique challenges and successes a panel of female professionals faced as they pursued those careers, and how and why architects design with the environment in mind as we reduce our carbon footprint. Register in advance for breakout sessions and design challenges starting at 11am, led by representatives from local and national partner organizations including Chicago Mobile Makers, CannonDesign, Open Architecture Chicago, the Center for Architecture in New York, the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History, Women in Structural Engineering (WiSE) and I-NOMA, a local chapter and subdivision of the National Organization of Minority Architects. Girls Build! events and programs are made possible by support from Arcelor Mittal and Herman Miller Cares.

About the Chicago Architecture Center

The Chicago Architecture Center (CAC) is a nonprofit organization founded in 1966, dedicated to inspiring people to discover why design matters. A national leader in architecture and design education, the CAC offers field-leading tours, programs, exhibitions and more that are part of a dynamic journey of lifelong learning.

Opened to the public in 2018, its riverfront location is in the heart of the city, where Michigan Avenue meets the Chicago River, featuring nearly 10,000 square feet of exhibition space filled with super-sized models—and views—of iconic skyscrapers built over the course of more than a century. Exhibitions focus on Chicago’s diverse neighborhoods, housing types, leading architects and future projects, and include the largest scale model of the city, with more than 4,250 miniature buildings, interactive touchscreens, and a cinematic backdrop animating key moments in its history. Highly knowledgeable, enthusiastic CAC docents guide visitors and residents through more than 75 walking tours with more than 7,000 annual departures, plus the Chicago Architecture Foundation Center River Cruise aboard Chicago’s First Lady.

Through partnerships with schools and youth-serving organizations, the CAC reaches approximately 30,000 K–12 students annually, while teacher workshops provide educators with tools and resources they need to advance STEM curricula in their classrooms. Committed to increasing access for populations historically under-represented in ACED (architecture, construction, engineering, and design) professions, the CAC offers many of its education programs—and all of its programs for teens—at no cost to participants. CAC programs for adults and members include talks with acclaimed authors and practicing architects, in-depth presentations on issues and trends in urbanism, and classes unlocking a wide range of subjects with connections to the built environment.

Proceeds from programs, tours and the CAC Design Store, as well as from grants, sponsorships and donations, support its educational mission. Visit architecture.org to learn more and [email protected] and #chiarchitecture on social media.

Chicago Architecture Center online programs, virtual tours and youth and family engagement continue through early 2021

Registration now open for online discussions and presentations via Zoom, Girls Build! Day and the Newhouse Architecture + Design Competition

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