Remembering two great architects, Center reopening info and family activities  

Chicago Architecture Center logo

MAY 18, 2021 • ISSUE 37




The Center will reopen this Saturday, May 22! When we reopen, you’ll notice we’ve taken full advantage of our temporary closure by making several improvements and updates. Be sure to look for our two new exhibits, and keep an eye out for exciting updates to fan favorites like the Chicago Model and the Skyscraper Gallery. Learn more about our new exhibits and mark your calendars!

  • Through Friday, May 21, the CAC Box Office and Design Store are now open Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 10am–4pm.
  • Guests can also explore our new exhibit—Hyper Green High-Rises: Towards a Zero-Energy Skyscraper—in the John and Kathleen Buck Atrium.
  • Beginning May 22, the CAC Box Office, Design Store and galleries will be open Thursday through Monday from 10am–5pm.
CAFC River Cruise


Hop aboard the Chicago Architecture Foundation Center River Cruise aboard Chicago's First Lady this Memorial Day weekend. Enjoy the awe-inspiring views while discovering 150+ years of Chicago history from our expert docents. Don't miss out on the city's official architecture river cruise—get tickets today!


Celebrating 50 Years of CAC Docents
Wednesday, May 26 at noon

Join us as we commemorate 50 years of the CAC Docent program. Enjoy reflections from a panel of docents as they revisit memorable chapters and look towards the future.

Docent program

This program is supported by a gift of the Gary family in memory of Myra Gary and in honor of the Docents’ 50th Anniversary.

Architect Talk: Lawrence Scarpa with Planning Commissioner Maurice Cox
Thursday, June 3 at 6pm

In an original film screening followed by live Q&A, Brooks + Scarpa founding principal Lawrence Scarpa explores how design can revolutionize housing for communities in need. Maurice Cox, Commissioner of Chicago's Department of Planning and Development, joins Scarpa in conversation.

Architect Talk

This program is offered in conjunction with the CAC’s upcoming exhibit, Housing for a Changing Nation, sponsored by a generous gift of AARP Illinois and the AARP Foundation.


The Future of the Urban Middle Class
Tuesday, June 15 at noon

Research shows Chicago has become more segregated by income over time with growing pockets of extreme wealth and extreme poverty. This special hour-long event tackles the challenges of rebuilding the middle class as we mount recoveries in our cities.

What's Next program

What's Next? Designing the Future City is generously supported by Sandra Helton and Norman Edelson.


Summers at the CAC


This summer, bring the whole family to the CAC to explore our updated exhibits and participate in several exciting kid-friendly activities:


Take a family walking tour with one of the CAC’s expertly trained Education Guides. You'll learn the secrets and stories behind some of the city’s most famous buildings, with content curated specifically for youth ages 8 and up.

Be an Architecture Explorer

Think you have what it takes to find all of the architecture clues hidden throughout our exhibits? Become an architecture explorer during your visit to the Center with our revamped Eye-Spy challenge. Once you’ve completed all the tasks, return to the Box Office for a fun prize. Perfect for children ages 6–10. Free with admission.

Newhouse winners

CELEBRATE THE Newhouse Winners

Congratulations to the 39th Annual Newhouse Architecture + Design competition winners! Teens researched and designed projects to support three INVEST South/West neighborhoods. We are especially proud of the participants’ creativity and perseverance during a challenging school year.

This year’s overall grand prize is shared by two projects. Nick Lorenzen (Lyons Township High School, La Grange) designed an energy-independent, multi-family home for the Austin neighborhood that balances affordability with aesthetics. A team of students including Alex Hoffman, Jasmin Hernandez and Nina Morrelly (Bennett Day School, Chicago) designed a community garden—and associated promotional pieces to engage youth—for the Englewood neighborhood.

Additional winners include: 1st Prize, Architecture Division: Samuel Minin (Adlai E. Stevenson High School, Lincolnshire). 2nd Prize, Architecture Division: Casius Palacio (Gwendolyn Brooks College Preparatory Academy, Chicago). 3rd Prize, Architecture Division: Andrew Emmerson and Owen Mathes (Loyola Academy, Wilmette). 1st Prize, Construction Division: Joyce Lin (Whitney Young Magnet High School, Chicago). 1st Prize: Open Design + Build: Will Cassady (Loyola Academy, Wilmette). 2nd Prize: Open Design + Build: Wynton Wright, Aaron Latman, Lucas Bouchie (Homewood-Flossmoor High School, Flossmoor). 3rd Prize: Open Design + Build: Reagan Butler (Loyola Academy, Wilmette).


Helmut Jahn
Art Gensler

Helmut Jahn, 1940–2021

Art Gensler, 1935–2021

CAC and the entire design community mourns the loss of two titans of architecture, Helmut Jahn and Art Gensler. Though these men took different approaches to the art of building, each had immeasurable influence.

Jahn was a brave and independent Modernist who dabbled in Postmodernism and blazed a trail all his own. An expressive genius with steel and glass, his buildings inspired new trends in architectural design. This includes his United Terminal at O’Hare, the J.R. Thompson Center and Post Tower in Germany, which combined a double skin, sky gardens and natural ventilation to become the most sustainable high-rise of its era. Post Tower is also a great representation of “archi-neering,” a term Jahn coined to describe the marriage of architecture and engineering in his design process. In recent years, Jahn continued to innovate with subtle works that elevated the humble campus dorm (IIT’s State Street Village), the mechanical building (South Campus Chiller Plant at the University of Chicago), supportive housing (the Margot & Harold Schiff Residences) and even the suburban office park (the former HA-LO Headquarters in Niles).

Gensler founded the world’s largest architecture firm, with 5,000 employees in 50 cities. A selfless and pragmatic leader, when once compared to Ayn Rand’s heroic Howard Roark character, his retort was, “You’ll never see an ‘Art Gensler’ building.” In the 1960s, Gensler wisely targeted areas of practice, like corporate interiors, that other large firms had neglected. Success brought an expanded portfolio, and soon the firm was designing airports, stadiums, hospitals, Apple stores, global supertalls like Shanghai Tower and everything in-between.

The legacies of Jahn and Gensler are certain to endure in Chicago and around the world. To learn more, read Jahn’s New York Times obituary, Gensler's Architectural Record obituary or watch Jahn's 2017 CAC talk.


Select CAC walking tour departures are now available for purchase. Please note that advance reservations and face coverings are required for all CAC walking tours. Those who attend CAC walking tours departing through April may request vouchers for complimentary Center admission once exhibits reopen in May. The Chicago Architecture Foundation Center River Cruises aboard Chicago’s First Lady are now running. All CAC tour attendees are prompted to acknowledge and accept the CAC’s safety policies supporting recommendations from public health officials from the CDC, the State of Illinois and the City of Chicago. Located at 111 East Wacker Drive in downtown Chicago, the Center's galleries remain temporarily closed to visitors until May 22. 

Twitter Facebook Facebook

The Chicago Architecture Center inspires people to discover why design matters.

CAC footer