DIY bike tour, new programs and famous kitchens

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MAY 21, 2020 • ISSUE 08


Since we temporarily closed the CAC in mid-March and suspended in-person activities, 717 individuals like you have made contributions totaling $332,770 to sustain our organization. We’re deeply honored by this show of support and grateful not only for every donation, but for the steady stream of encouraging messages we’ve received by mail, email and social media.

Celluloid Skylines



The CAC and Chicago’s Music Box Theatre are excited to present Celluloid Skylines, an at-home film festival, this holiday weekend. Each day features a design-centered film, a post-screening discussion with CAC Director of Interpretation Adam Rubin and a guest expert—and a special cocktail crafted exclusively for the festival by food and travel writer Jennifer Hope Choi. Join us all four days for the price of three and save even more if you’re a current CAC or Music Box Theatre member. Deadlines to register are now extended until 5pm Central Time for each evening’s discussion beginning at 8pm.


“The Kitchen” Book Talk
Wednesday, May 27 at noon

On a mission to design the perfect kitchen of his own, Canadian architect, author and historic preservationist John Ota visited—and cooked in—the kitchens of Louis Armstrong, Thomas Jefferson, Georgia O’Keeffe and other famous figures, as well as the more humble abodes of pilgrims and turn-of-the-last-century tenement families.

The Kitchen Book Talk

Chicago Architecture, Page by Page
Wednesday, May 27 at 7pm
Saturday, May 30 at 1pm

Chicago’s distinctive architecture illustrates the works of numerous writers, from novelist Theodore Dreiser to poet Carl Sandburg to graphic novelist Chris Ware. Join us as CAC docent Leanne Star explores intersections between Chicago architecture and literature, revealing how each art form continues to enrich the other.

Chicago Architecture, Page by Page


Contemporary tour

Tuesday, May 26 at 5:30pm
Sunday, May 31 at 1pm

Chicago experienced a construction boom in the early 21st century that utilized a variety of design approaches. This live, 45-minute tour with CAC docent Mike McMains describes influences on recent projects and explores the forms and materials presented in contemporary architecture. Get to know several buildings—and the architects who designed them—from the past two decades.

CAC Live brings the world of architecture and design to you—wherever you are—through timely discussions with industry leaders, talks with acclaimed authors and experts, virtual tours focused on landmarks and historical styles, building and neighborhood stories with CAC docents, and more! Visit to browse and register for upcoming events.


Architecture Essentials


For this week’s episode of Architecture Essentials and its at-home activity, we’re learning how architects, builders and designers use scale to fit entire buildings on sheets of paper. Join CAC Senior Manager of Education and Experience Angela Esposito in the Chicago Gallery at the CAC to learn more.

Neighborhood Strollers


Georgian Revival is named not for the U.S. state of Georgia, but for four kings of England who all had the same name. The first Georgian period in architecture spans the years those four Georges reigned: 1714 to 1830. When the style came back in the late 1800s and early 1900s, it was called the “Georgian Revival.”


Previously on “Storytime with the CAC,” Senior Manager of Education and Experience Angela Esposito told “The Three Little Pigs: An Architectural Tale.” This Friday, May 22 at 12:30pm Central Time, tune into the CAC’s Facebook page to read 2019 Pura Belpré Honor Book for Illustration “Islandborn,” by Dominican-American author Junot Díaz and artist Leo Espinosa.


CAC Recommends


This Memorial Day—in addition to discussing great films with design experts—we’re taking time to appreciate the ways in which architects support the act of remembrance. Watch and listen to our recommendations about some of the country’s finest, most successful memorials.


CAC Program Operations Specialist Ian Spula typically plays the role of interviewer, talking recently with Julia Bachrach, Casey Jones and Anna Munzesheimer. This week, he trades his tape recorder for a bicycle to explore buildings and green spaces on two wheels.

Bike tour

One of our closest neighbors at the Center is the DuSable (Michigan Avenue) Bridge, which turned 100 years old on May 14. Learn about the design and history of the bridge at, read more in the latest issue of StreetWise, and watch videos from the Magnificent Mile Association on Facebook and the McCormick Bridgehouse and Chicago River Museum on YouTube. Happy birthday to this landmark spanning the Chicago River—and now a century, too.

Miss the Center and its spacious galleries? So do we—but rest assured, they’ll reopen as soon as is safely possible. In the meantime, enjoy this “virtual visit” from Chicago Tonight producer Marc Vitali, aired May 6 on WTTW.

WTTW video



Our thanks to the design leaders who joined us on International Museum Day for Advancing Equity through Partnership: Cultural Nonprofits and Industry Stakeholders. As panelist Kimberly Dowdell, Director of Business Development at HOK Architects and 2019−20 National President of the National Organization of Minority Architects, noted, “I often quote Dr. Marian Wright Edelman, who once said—or maybe said more than once—that ‘You can’t be what you can’t see.’ I think it’s so critical that young people are able to see themselves in professions that are not necessarily, traditionally available to them.”

Our thanks to the more than 500 families who participated in our first-ever CAC For the Family: Design Club this month and shared their experiences with us. “Thank you so much for doing this,” wrote parent Shelley McDowell, whose son Avery is seen here hard at work using the Design Process. “My family has been members for years, and my son has attended countless LEGO workshops, family tours and programs, so this is a wonderful idea to bridge the gap at home.” Stay tuned for more at-home CAC For the Family programs we’ll announce soon!

Design Club participant

Photo of Avery McDowell by Shelley McDowell.


The CAC is committed to providing a safe experience for its entire community of members, staff, visitors, volunteers and tour attendees. Visit our COVID-19 information page for the latest updates.

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