Open House Chicago sneak peek, family tours and Helmut Jahn walking tour

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SEPTEMBER 7, 2021 • ISSUE 45

Open House Chicago 2021 sites


Open House Chicago is back this October, with a multitude of ways to discover Chicago's greatest treasures. Enjoy behind-the-scenes access to architecturally, historically and culturally significant sites in over 30 neighborhoods on October 16-17.

Continue your exploration of the city throughout the month on the OHC app, which features neighborhood-based walking trails. There are more trails than ever before on the app this year, including music venues in the Uptown Entertainment District, sites of the Great Chicago Fire and buildings designed by Helmut Jahn in the Loop. The CAC will also host a suite of online programs in October as part of OHC 2021.

During OHC, CAC members receive:
• Special Members-only OHC virtual program that gives a first look at the app and OHC sites on September 28th
• Access to Members-only sites during October 16th and 17th
• Priority Access Pass to jump the line at OHC sites October 16th and 17th

Become a member today and enjoy these special benefits!


Open House Chicago 2021 Preview
Wednesday, September 29 at 5:30pm

Get a special sneak preview of the OHC 2021 mobile app, trails, sites and virtual programs. This is your chance to ask questions and get recommendations to maximize your OHC 2021 experience!

Open House Chicago Preview

Revisiting Learning from North Lawndale
Tuesday, October 5 at 6pm

Trace the 2021 Chicago Architecture Biennial back to its roots in the 2006 CAC exhibit Learning from North Lawndale: Past, Present and Future. Revisit the making of the exhibit and explore the richness of the North Lawndale neighborhood with scholars and community leaders.

Revisiting Learning from North Lawndale

An Open House Chicago tour the whole family can enjoy

Come celebrate Open House Chicago and commemorate Chicago’s Great Fire with this unique experience designed for families. Take a tour of the Chicago Loop with a trained Education Guide, exploring the lessons learned after the fire and relics that shaped the city. This tour is intended for children ages 8 and up and their families. Hourly departures begin at 11am on October 16th and 17th. Sign up at the CAC while visiting the Center!

OHC Family Tour


Stained Glass: Magic Spaces in Architectural Places
Wednesday, September 22 at noon

Stained glass can enhance an architectural space, as the light that passes through creates an animation of patterns on walls and floor. Join us as we explore architecturally significant buildings on Michigan Avenue that feature the magic of stained glass.

Stained Glass: Magic Spaces in Architectural Places


Helmut Jahn: Architecture in Real Life

PREMIER TOUR: Helmut Jahn: Architecture in Real Life

From CAC Docent Maurice Champagne

The late architect Helmut Jahn always referred to his designs as Modernist works, rejecting any suggestion that they might be Postmodern. However, there's no question that Jahn's buildings were a distinct departure from the modernism of Mies van der Rohe and his cohorts. The debate over labels aside, there's no denying Jahn was a prolific architect, designing 35 buildings in the 1980s alone. His work can be found all over Asia, Europe and the U.S., including right here in Chicago.

Explore Jahn's architectural legacy on the Premier Tour Helmut Jahn: Architecture in Real Life, which includes 5 of his buildings completed between 1980 and 1991. This tour traces the evolution of Jahn's designs and puts his work in context with other contemporary buildings designed by competitors. Afterward, make sure to visit the Chicago Architecture Center to view the exhibit Helmut Jahn: Life + Architecture, free when you take a tour.

Premier Tour: Wabash Avenue Arts Corridor

Discover a living urban canvas along the Wabash Avenue Arts Corridor in the South Loop. Explore the dozens of murals in alleys and parking lots along roughly a mile of Wabash Avenue and discuss the techniques used to create each work along the way. Learn about the local, national and international artists who have reclaimed and transformed these public spaces.

Wabash Ave Mural


Sounding Boards Garden

Sounding Boards Garden

Sounding Boards, founded by members of architecture firm Eastlake Studio, is a non-profit organization that amplifies the voices of progressive artists through public art. Inspired by Black Lives Matter demonstrations in the summer of 2020, Sounding Boards brought artists and business owners together to create murals on boarded-up storefronts. In collaboration with general contractor Redmond, Eastlake Studio has now started construction on Sounding Boards Garden, a semi-enclosed performance venue and memorial space adjacent to Harmony Community Church that utilizes the plywood murals as structural materials. The project will not only provide a platform for conversations, music and performing arts, but also a public space for the North Lawndale community to mourn, reflect and remember loved ones lost. The Garden will open with a celebration from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, September 18. Follow the link below for details.

This multi-purpose design intervention has been conceptualized for the Chicago Architecture Biennial and will also be a participating site in Open House Chicago on October 16th and 17th.


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 in the enclosed salon area onboard the vessels of Chicago’s First Lady Cruises.

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