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DECEMBER 28, 2021 • ISSUE 53

The Year That Was/The Year to Come in Chicago Design and Development


The Year That Was/The Year To Come In Chicago Design & Development
Thursday, January 20, 2022 at 12:00pm

Join us for a special program with CAC President and CEO Lynn Osmond. Hear about 2021’s most inspired design, development and preservation efforts as Chicago gradually recovers and recalibrates in the wake of the pandemic. Then, consider what awaits us in 2022 and beyond.

This talk will assess the progress made under Mayor Lightfoot’s INVEST South/West and other initiatives helping to drive greater equity. We will also explore big ticket items like local climate resiliency, the creation of a Chicago casino, the redevelopment of James R. Thompson Center and the forces of change reshaping downtown Chicago.


The Old Post Office


Due to popular demand, more dates for The Old Post Office have been added through March 2022! The newest CAC walking tour takes visitors to one of Chicago's most famous buildings. The Old Post Office tour demonstrates how the collaboration between farsighted developers and inspired architects can transform an abandoned building into a modern office that retains hints of the past. Included in the tour are the Art Deco lobby and 80,000 square feet of tenant amenities.

This popular tour sold out in a single day after the first dates went on sale, so don't delay on your chance to see this iconic building!


Chicago Public Library

The Chicago Public Library Through An Architectural Lens
Wednesday, January 12 at 12:00pm

Join us as we explore the buildings of the Chicago Public Library, from its beginning in the 19th century in an unused water tower, to its dazzling 21st century neighborhood branches.

Sears Home Kit

Homes Delivered: The Story of Sears Home Kits
Thursday, January 27 at 12:00pm

Shoppers flocked to mail-order retailers during the 20th century, even going so far as to order their homes through the mail. Between 1908 and 1940, the Chicago-based retailer Sears sold over 70,000 customizable home kits, making it the largest & most famous retailer in the business. Join us for a talk about Sears Home Kits, which you can still find across the country.


Teen Fellows Showcase


On December 18, 14 high school students from across Chicago showcased the work they’ve accomplished through the CAC's Teen Fellows Program. Along with Harold Washington City College and After School Matters, the Fellows shared their conceptual models, photos and drawings, which they accomplished using hand sketching, Rhino, Grasshopper, InDesign and Photoshop. There was a great turn out of support, and we are very proud of the Teen Fellows. We are excited to continue working with this group after the New Year to further develop their concepts.


Be the first to know what's happening in the upcoming 40th annual Newhouse Competition, sign up for notifications. This year's projects will center around participants creating a youth-friendly Chicago. The Newhouse Competition is free to all Chicagoland youth and will culminate in the spring with professional jurors reviewing projects and awarding prizes.

Girls Build! Day


We are so excited that our Spring Girls Build! session will be starting at our new home in IIT’s Crown Hall. This location allows our students access to materials, support and mentorship in a whole new way. Our spring session, Take Up Space, will be focused on interior architecture, empowering our students to learn about space planning, color theory and how the interior environment affects behavior.

Once the weather warms, we will be embracing sustainable architecture with our week-long camp, Treetop Designers. The relationship between climate change and architecture is an urgent conversation happening all over the world and affects us all. We will learn about responsibly sourced materials as we plan, design and build a model of a sustainable treehouse. All of our Girls Build! Programs culminate in a showcase of student work. We hope that you’ll join us to learn and celebrate soon!


Docent activity


This year, our dedicated docents, guides and volunteers worked tirelessly to share Chicago's architecture and story. The mission of the CAC would not be possible without their passion and knowledge. Check out some of their achievements from 2021, and please join us in thanking all of our docents and volunteers!

IN Remembrance

Richard Rogers
Chris Wilkinson

In Remembrance: Richard Rogers (1933-2021) & Chris Wilkinson (1945-2021)

Two giants of architecture passed away recently. Pritzker Prize-winning architect Richard Rogers was a pioneer of high-tech design exemplified by the unforgettable “inside-out” Pompidou Centre in Paris and Lloyd's Building in London. He wasn’t afraid to put a building’s “guts” on display, yet did so with great attention to fostering a sense of place. The public came to embrace his most brazen work after a sometimes chilly critical reception (Pompidou Centre saw more visitors in its first year than the Eiffel Tower and Louvre combined). Famously, Rogers defended modernist design from Prince Charles’s attacks, and the two traded barbs for years. He also helped spark London’s 1990s urban renaissance through dense mixed-use redevelopment of brownfields on the Thames riverfront. Rogers worked with Norman Foster and Renzo Piano before founding Richard Rogers Partnership in 1977, which continues today as Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners.

Chris Wilkinson also contributed a great deal to urban revitalization. With his firm WilkinsonEyre he brought innovative projects to the British capital, such as Kings Cross Gasholders which ingeniously used Victorian-era cast iron columns to frame new park and residential space. Wilkinson designed the iconic Gateshead Millennium Bridge in Newcastle, England, affectionately known as “the blinking eye,” and in Singapore he co-created the Gardens by the Bay waterfront park. Wilkinson was a lifelong painter, and his art influenced his architecture.



As a nonprofit, CAC relies on charitable donations to make the world of architecture and design within reach – for everyone. Your tax-deductible, year-end donation provides critical resources so that the CAC can educate, inspire and engage young people about the importance of good design in building the sustainable and livable communities we want, need and deserve.

Interested in making a Qualified Charitable Distribution (QCD) through your IRA? Would you like to make a gift of stock or make an ACH transfer? Contact Emily Dreke, Vice President of Development at or (312) 561-2119.


Updated Mask Policy

Effective Friday, August 20, the Chicago Department of Public Health requires that everyone 2+ wear masks in public indoor settings, regardless of vaccination status. This includes in our Center, anytime a walking tour goes indoors and aboard any enclosed transportation including the enclosed salon area onboard the vessels of Chicago’s First Lady Cruises.

Updated Center Hours

Please note that the Center closes at 3:00pm on New Year's Eve (December 31) and will be closed New Year's Day (January 1). In January-February, the Center will be open Friday-Monday from 10:00am-4:00pm.

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