Learn about Black Leaders and the Chicago Buildings they inspired

Chicago Architecture Center

FEBRUARY 23, 2022 • ISSUE 57

Left: Children at the Ida B. Wells Homes; Right: Ida. B Wells, investigative journalist, educator & civil rights leader

Black Leaders and the Chicago Buildings They Inspired

The Chicago Architecture Center is proud to present a selection of significant buildings named for prominent Black Chicagoans–people who transcended injustice, prejudice, and racial violence to assume respected leadership roles in civic life. In these pages, learn about journalist and civil rights leader Ida B. Wells; prominent businessman and publisher John H. Johnson; and the first Black mayor of Chicago, Harold Washington.


join us in celebrating the 40th anniversary of the Newhouse architecture & design competition!

Did you know that the Newhouse competition has been the longest-running contest for teens at the CAC? It was founded in 1982 by Illinois State Senator Richard Newhouse with the goal of introducing architecture and related career fields to low income and minority students.



It's no secret that the pandemic has produced a lot of angst around the future of downtown Chicago. We have entered a period of prolonged change that demands new thinking and new investments to shepherd downtown to a place of resilience. Indeed, by many measures − including office development, population growth, tourism and green space improvements − downtown was doing quite well prior to the pandemic. This makes the present situation all the more jarring. Can we get creative with experiential retail and cultural attractions to fill vacant storefronts? How can design help reinvigorate streets and parks and retrofit buildings to meet today's needs? We have a real opportunity to make the Loop a dynamic neighborhood, rather than simply a destination for work and entertainment.

On March 24, our What's Next? thought leadership event explores ideas and interventions for getting downtown back on track. And for more on the subject, read our new Watch List report.


CAFC River Cruise


Mark your calendars: river cruise tickets go on sale March 1 and departures begin April 1! Be sure to grab your tickets early for this season of the Chicago Architecture Foundation Center River Cruise Aboard Chicago’s First Lady, voted the #1 Boat Tour in North America by the USA Today 10Best Readers’ Choice Awards.


INVEST South/West: Design Excellence For All


INVEST South/West: Design Excellence For All
Thursday, February 24 at 6:00pm

Join us for a review of Mayor Lightfoot's INVEST South/West initiative as it enters its third year. Speakers will recap key milestones and give in-depth updates on development projects underway.

Chicago's Most Endangered Buildings 2022

Chicago's Most Endangered Buildings 2022
Wednesday, March 9 at 12:00pm

What buildings in Chicago are most endangered this year? Find out at the unveiling of the 20th annual “Chicago 7,” a list from Preservation Chicago that identifies significant structures and public spaces preservationists hope to protect from the wrecking ball.

Sacred to Secular Transformations

Sacred to Secular Transformations
Wednesday, March 23 at 12:00pm

In the past decade, thousands of houses of worship have closed each year. But when the congregation leaves, what happens to the structures left behind? Join our discussion, where we will cover how these buildings are being adapted in new and creative ways.

Let's Talk About Land Acknowledgement

Let's Talk About Land Acknowledgement
Thursday, March 31 at 5:30pm

The Chicago Architecture Center stands on unceded Native land. Join us in a conversation about developing formal language and concrete actions to recognize Native peoples as traditional caretakers of the land and water near the confluence of the Chicago River and Lake Michigan.



Get ready for spring and join the CAC Education team for a Family Walking Tour for up to six members of your family! Enjoy a 45-90 minute walking tour with one of the CAC’s expertly trained Education Guides. With content curated specifically for youth ages 8 and up, the whole family will enjoy learning how Chicago grew and why it became a global capital for great architecture.

You can also book a My Social Circle walking tour to enjoy any of the CAC’s acclaimed routes as a private experience for up to eight family members or friends. Discover your new favorite neighborhood or gaze up at iconic skyscrapers, guided by your very own CAC docent.

For more information about Family Walking Tours and My Social Circle Tours, reach out to our Groups Sales team at groupsales@architecture.org.


Open House WorldWide Festival Returns

Online event Saturday, April 9

If you're eagerly awaiting Open House Chicago this October, check out this event from the Open House Worldwide network! As households the world-over change in size, composition, values and dreams, how should the architecture of our homes evolve to match? What lessons can the architects of tomorrow learn from the ingenious and indigenous domestic designs of yesterday?

Housing and the People is a daylong broadcast of tours of housing projects in Melbourne, Taipei, Buenos Aires, Oslo, London, New York and more. Explore bold housing estates and neighborhoods, meet residents and architects reshaping dwellings and join critical debates about the future of housing.



As a nonprofit, CAC relies on charitable donations to make the world of architecture and design within reach – for everyone. Your tax-deductible 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 edreke@architecture.org 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 in January-February, the Center will be open Friday-Monday from 10:00am-4:00pm.

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