Join 3,552 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)


Love of the Windy City
November 27, 2012 6:10 PM   Subscribe

Take a tour of the Chicago Loop and discover its beautiful architecture.
posted by Brandon Blatcher (30 comments total) 33 users marked this as a favorite

 
I guess they're finally updating the one that seemed to be on every Saturday afternoon, huh. Still makes me a little nostalgic.
posted by dinty_moore at 6:16 PM on November 27, 2012


This is going to devastate the Chicago tourism industry of which 90% consists of looking up at the buildings.
(The other 9% is the museum campus and the various dance theaters, and the other 1% are the "neighborhoods" which are mostly bodegas, barber shops and hipster art exhibits.) (/grudgingly tolerates this city)
posted by bleep at 7:09 PM on November 27, 2012 [1 favorite]


the Chicago tourism industry of which 90% consists of looking up at the buildings.

A substantial amount of it consists of looking down at the buildings.
posted by shakespeherian at 7:15 PM on November 27, 2012


I don't know what "neighborhood" you live in, but the ones I live in and like to visit have restaurants, bars, bookstores, parks, theaters, museums, music venues, and, yes, bodegas and barbershops. People need those too. Chicago may not have the concentrated excitement of NYC but there is plenty to see and do if you dig just a little below the surface.
posted by mai at 7:48 PM on November 27, 2012 [5 favorites]


bleep, you are doing Chicago wrong.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 8:10 PM on November 27, 2012 [18 favorites]


I love Chicago architecture. Great post.
posted by caddis at 8:41 PM on November 27, 2012 [1 favorite]


Chicago loves its architecture. It continues to surprise me how much, and the depth of coverage it gets in the press is astounding, including near-rabid support for historic preservation and demolition protests (in the city that made itself what it is based on rebuilding after the 1871 fire ... but I suppose it's all a matter of perspective). Here's the latest episode in our current dilemma about a proposed demolition: Prentice Hospital Drama. There is also a less acute drama ongoing about the potential mega-development of Wolf Point on the Chicago River, which historically was the first area developed by white settlers and which more recently has been owned by a family out of Boston, left fallow for many decades. Yep; we love this stuff (seriously, we do; wish there were anti-irony, love-it emoticon I could add here).
posted by JimInLoganSquare at 9:01 PM on November 27, 2012 [1 favorite]


Chicago's Loop: A New Walking Tour with Ted Mosby.

Chicago always struck me as a town full of what country bumpkins thought was great architecture. Even the modernist works seem rustic.
posted by charlie don't surf at 9:38 PM on November 27, 2012 [2 favorites]


Chicago always struck me as a town full of what country bumpkins thought was great architecture.

What?
posted by shakespeherian at 9:46 PM on November 27, 2012 [4 favorites]


" Chicago always struck me as a town full of what country bumpkins thought was great architecture. Even the modernist works seem rustic."

That thumping sound you hear is Frank Lloyd Wright punching you in the head.

Every lover of architecture should be so lucky as to live in a city where the homeless guys selling Streetwise have super-strong opinions on the issue of spires atop skyscrapers.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 9:46 PM on November 27, 2012 [12 favorites]


Apparently, trolls don't surf much, nor do they have serious opinions about architecture. The "pop" noises you are hearing are the ghosts of those other country bumpkins Adler, Root, Burnham, Atwood, Sullivan, Van der Rohe, Tigerman, Jahn, Gehry, and everybody at SOM and Studio Gang capping your ass.
posted by JimInLoganSquare at 10:04 PM on November 27, 2012 [8 favorites]


I've taken a couple of Chicago Architecture Foundation tours and found them excellent. I always learn something - and the training the tour guides get is astounding. Even native Chicagoans have stopped to listen to a story and give input. They understand the value of the city's architecture and recognize what the Foundation is doing.
posted by OHSnap at 10:13 PM on November 27, 2012 [2 favorites]


Yes, rustic.

Yeah Frank Loyd Wright was a pretty influential art dealer, what a salesman. He could sell igloos to eskimos (but the roofs would leak).
posted by charlie don't surf at 10:34 PM on November 27, 2012


I apologize for taking you seriously earlier.
posted by shakespeherian at 10:39 PM on November 27, 2012 [6 favorites]


I love Chicago and its amazing architecture. I live in LA, and it's amazing to me how many here have no idea what a spectacular city it is.

The building I've fallen in love most recently: Jeanne Gang's Aqua.
posted by professor plum with a rope at 3:40 AM on November 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


God damn Chicago is awesome. And not just the Loop, every damn one of its neighbourhoods (ok, maybe stay out of Englewood these days).
posted by C.A.S. at 4:11 AM on November 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


Chicago is the Best American City.

Yeah, I said it. I think New Yorkers go on and on about their city like it's the center of the universe because, secretly, they know they're not living in Chicago. Classic defensive posturing.
posted by Windigo at 4:23 AM on November 28, 2012 [5 favorites]


pizza
posted by shakespeherian at 6:05 AM on November 28, 2012 [6 favorites]


Even though we own the DVD set of the Geoffrey Baer Chicago tours if I stumble upon one while channel surfing I still feel compelled to watch the rest of it. They're shot beautifully and he conveys just the right balance of knowledge and enthusiasm that's missing from most other travel shows.
posted by Slack-a-gogo at 6:35 AM on November 28, 2012 [2 favorites]


Life moves pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.
posted by Celsius1414 at 7:45 AM on November 28, 2012 [2 favorites]


Chicago always struck me as a town full of what country bumpkins thought was great architecture. Even the modernist works seem rustic.

Not. Even. Wrong.
posted by IvoShandor at 7:49 AM on November 28, 2012


I also enjoy the "Ask Geoffrey" segment of Chicago Tonight on WTTW. He covers architecture and Chicago history.
posted by IvoShandor at 7:54 AM on November 28, 2012 [2 favorites]


If you're interested in Chicago architecture beyond the skyscrapers, I highly recommend A Chicago Sojourn.
posted by briank at 8:09 AM on November 28, 2012


Chicago is the Best American City.

Yeah, I said it. I think New Yorkers go on and on about their city like it's the center of the universe because, secretly, they know they're not living in Chicago. Classic defensive posturing.


And this is how the Windy City acquired it's nickname. Who's posturing here?

Just teasing. I like Chicago too.
posted by GalaxieFiveHundred at 8:11 AM on November 28, 2012


Seventeen years and nine months ago I moved to Chicago; I chose this city to live in because of the art and architecture, two of its greatest assets. It always strikes me as funny/odd at first that people don't love it as much as I do, but it makes sense when I consider how few people I've met in my lifetime actually give a real shit about art and architecture! Most residents don't even seem to notice it or care to know much about it. It's totally understandable; I'm sure if they met me they'd wonder why the hell I don't care about fancy cars, money, Hollywood movies, or churning out babies by the diaperload. People focus on different things.

I'm less impressed by celebrity culture than I am by Bertrand Goldberg's or Mies van der Rohe's buildings. I'm terribly impressed by the fact that Mies designed the Federal Center Plaza so that the seams in the floors and pavement outside match up perfectly with the mullions of the buildings! (See the video at approx. the 20-minute mark.) This matters more to me than how the Bears are doing this year. Heh, for some of us Bauhaus is also a band; first, it's an entire world of art and sensible, beautiful, clean design that works its way into our souls and becomes a part of how we view the world.

When I hear the word "canyon," my go-to visual is of the LaSalle Street canyon, discussed in the second chapter of the video at the 24-minute mark. By zero happenstance, my dentist's office is in the Board of Trade building, which forms the short wall of that urban canyon. My dentist is awesome, but I freely admit that the real reason I've stuck with him for so long is that I enjoy the ride and walk to and from his office. Also, the view from his floor is quite nice. He says he loves that building partly because he's sometimes able to watch the inmates shoot hoops on the rooftop of their skyscraper jail, shown at the 21-minute mark in the video. Ha!

My bank is the Chase Bank at Madison and Dearborn. Why? The building (self-link, flickr image). It's just so damn interesting! Why would I walk six short blocks to the single-story, ugly little Chase branch in my 'hood, when I can instead take a bus downtown to the Loop — or, better yet, walk ten blocks to an el train that drops me off at the beautifully designed Thomson Center (video: 52-minute mark) — then walk a few blocks to do my banking, then step out back to be blown away by the stunning Marc Chagall mosaic mural, a gift to the city that exists simply to make people happy? That's beautiful. I live in this city on purpose.

I get that some people's criticism of Chicago is that it's a political cesspool (I wouldn't argue that) and isn't chock full of glamour and people who reflect the currently preferred physical aesthetic, and that we don't all have the klassy wardrobes of those in NYC or LA. But come on, surely you can understand by watching that video why I've fallen so in love with my city that I'd be perfectly ecstatic to live here for the rest of my natural life. It's saturated in mind-bendingly great art and architecture. This city is insanely gorgeous.
posted by heyho at 10:51 AM on November 28, 2012 [32 favorites]


heyho: flagged as fantastic. well said.
posted by IvoShandor at 11:38 AM on November 28, 2012


heyho: The Lasalle Street canyon, the skyscraper jail, the Federal Center Plaza. You're making me miss Chicago so much! I left 2 years ago and produced this timelapse love letter to the city on my way out the door. Lots of those buildings make cameos.
posted by azzardo at 11:59 AM on November 28, 2012 [3 favorites]


Chicago Architecture
posted by caddis at 1:37 PM on November 28, 2012


As a former employee of Shepley Bulfinch Richardson and Abbott architects -- the direct descendent of H. H. Richardson's practice, who built some of Chicago's biggest and awesome-est buildings -- I have to take exception to the characterization of Chicago as "a town full of what country bumpkins thought was great architecture."

I love that city and its buildings, and I am extending a raised middle finger to you right now.
posted by wenestvedt at 1:38 PM on November 28, 2012


I missed this the first time around but Best Of led me to heyho's lovely comment and then to watch the video. Thanks for posting Brandon. It was fascinating.
posted by SweetTeaAndABiscuit at 7:02 PM on November 29, 2012


« Older Pianist Arthur Rubinstein teaches the Chopin Balla...  |  Her Majesty the Queen... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments