After the Great Fire of 1871, Chicago was practically a “blank canvas” for prominent architects to showcase their artistry and designs. A new method of building taller buildings using steel beams and glass gave birth to the “skyscraper”. Chicago’s Architectural Foundation River Cruise is a relaxing and awe- inspiring tour of Chicago’s pioneering history, plus a fantastic opportunity for photography nuts.
Chicago Tribune Building-Built in 1922, its façade contains bricks and relics from Roman ruins, the Great Wall of China, World Trade Center and other famous world landmarks.
Wrigley Building- Still occupied by the Wrigley company since its construction in the 1920s, it features a two story tall clock in its South Tower.
Marina City, dubbed the “corn cob” buildings, is a self-contained living area with residential apartments, office space, retail and entertainment, including the House of Blues.
Trump International Hotel and Tower- doesn’t every major city have one?
The Carbide and Carbon Building is an example of the art deco era of 1929. Originally the black granite building with its green terra-cotta tower and gold leaf detailing was an office building, but was converted to the Hard Rock Hotel in 2004.
The Merchant Mart is the world’s largest certified LEED-EB (Leadership in Energy and Environment and Design for an Existing Building) commercial building. With over 4 million square feet of office, retail, and showroom space, it also boasts its own zip code.
333 West Wacker Drive is a high-rise office building with a green glass curvature façade that beautifully reflects the bend in the river.
Using triangular forms, architect Harry Weese emphasizes a nautical design at the River Cottages at Wolf Point Landing.
The Montgomery Ward Building was built in 1908 to accommodate its office and mail order house. Today, it’s a center for businesses, restaurants, and condominiums.
The Civic Opera House, built in 1929, contains a 3600 seat theater and today is the home of the Lyric Opera of Chicago.
The Sears Tower, officially the Willis Tower, was the tallest building constructed in 1974, only to be surpassed in 1998 by the Petronas Twin Towers in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Its glass floor Skydeck offers outstanding vistas of the city.
River City is another unique condominium design offering its residents fantastic views of the city and river, modern conveniences, a marina, and free gym and parking.
These are just some of the many highlights on Chicago’s Architectural Boat Tour. To learn more, visit www.architecture.org, the official Architectural Foundation River Cruise.