Characteristic: With the 1st Chicago Architecture Biennial kicking off later on this week, Dezeen picks ten of the projects – past and existing – that have assisted shape the city that gave birth to contemporary substantial-rise architecture.

New York may possibly be North America’s architecture and layout capital, but Chicago is in which all of the great tips originally emerged.

In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, groundbreaking architects like Daniel Burnham and Louis Sullivan utilised the city as an open canvas to develop the steel-frame skyscraper, and to a wider extent, the modern American metropolis. Chicago was mostly destroyed by a fire in 1871, offering early contemporary architects an unprecedented opportunity to experiment and make their mark.

The city was fertile ground for Frank Lloyd Wright, who lived and worked there in the late 1800s. It was also a welcoming property for Global Style architects cast out of the Bauhaus. For Mies van der Rohe and other people like him, it was the best area to rip off the yoke of Beaux-Arts ornamentalism and commence fresh.

Chicago’s early 20th century rise as an architectural testing ground came from a wild convergence of immense wealth, accessible space and civic daring. The global Chicago Architecture Biennial, which opens three October and runs through January, will place the spotlight on this legacy. Here, we present ten of the city’s seminal tasks:

John Hancock Center, 1969, by Skidmore, Owings &amp Merrill (SOM)
875 N. Michigan Avenue

John Hancock Centre_dezeen_1sq Image courtesy of Shutterstock

The ideal way to strategy the John Hancock Center, 1 of Chicago’s tallest skyscrapers, is from the south, at the intersection of Michigan and Chicago Avenues.

On both sides of Michigan Avenue is the historic Water Tower and Pumping Station, a single of the handful of buildings that survived the 1871 Chicago Fire. Constructed in 1886, the station consists of crenellated towers that stood tall in excess of the neighbourhood in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Today it is an aperitif to the one,500-foot (457-metre) John Hancock Center (including antennas), one particular block north.

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The Hancock building has a single of the very best-acknowledged structural systems in the world. Conceived by SOM’s Bruce Graham and engineer Fazlur Khan, the tower’s exceptionally effective method of stacked steel X-braces eliminated the need for internal help columns. This  – combined with the tower’s basalt-black colour, progressively narrowing profile, and symmetrical antennas – helps make it the most strapping and muscular tower in a city that prizes itself on tall buildings.

The mixed-use skyscraper is made up of retail area, parking, offices, residences, and restaurants, and it meets the ground with a sunken elliptical plaza. On the 95th floor, a restaurant and bar are both higher and less costly to go to than the 94th floor observatory.

McCormick Tribune Campus Center at IIT, 2003, by Office of Metropolitan Architecture (OMA)
3201 S. State Street

IIT Student Center+ Koolhaas_Philippe Ruault_dezeen_sqa Photograph by Philippe Ruault

The McCormick Tribune Campus Center is one particular of only a couple of non-Mies developed buildings at the Illinois Institute of Engineering. It also was Rem Koolhaas’ initial American undertaking. The total complex squats beneath an elevated fast-transit rail line and contains a bookstore, auditorium and food court. A stainless steel tunnel dampens the roar of passing trains.

With its canted lines, bright orange-tinted glass, and totally free-kind intersecting planes, the building is straightforward to cast as an arrogant boom-era misfit. But regardless of Koolhaas’ intellectual Deconstructivist rigour, the structure shows accurate reverence for Mies van der Rohe’s university campus.

Mies’ rectilinear correct angles have broken apart and reconfigured to develop a procession of sculptural spaces, generating quiet study nooks, as nicely as brilliant public spaces. A tiny patch of prairie grasses on a depressed roof backyard – visible from the within – supplies relief from the building’s raw, rough resources and dot-matrix glass murals.

Aqua Tower, 2009, by Studio Gang
225 N. Columbus Drive

Aqua Tower_Jeanne Gang_dezeen_sq Photograph by Steve Hall, Hedrich Blessing Photography

The best 21st-century addition to Chicago’s skyline, Aqua Tower commences with a venerable and nicely-worn Chicago substantial-rise trope: the Modernist glass box. But Gang’s design and style adds sculptured whorls of concrete floor slabs that lengthen past the glass facade.

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These concrete slabs are fenced off as balconies for the building’s apartments, offices and hotel units. Every is custom-designed to give guests and residents much better entry to skyline views of the surrounding Loop and Lake Michigan. With each other across 82 stories, they appear to ripple like water (consequently the identify). They also get in touch with to mind the limestone rock landforms seen along the banking institutions of the Wonderful Lakes.

Marina City, 1967, by Bertrand Goldberg
300 N. State Street

Marina City Towers_Bertrand Goldberg_shutterstock_dezeen_sqb Picture courtesy of Shutterstock

Organised around a vertical circulation core, the twin Marina City towers attribute a tripartite plan. The towers sit on a rectilinear base that includes a multitude of retail and recreation opportunities, all hovering above the Chicago River. The initial 20 ranges contain a spiralling parking garage, and the leading forty floors are condos, each and every with their own semicircular balcony. Stacked one atop the other, the balconies resemble kernels on a corncob, the fantastic Midwestern signifier of the land.

Growing 587 feet (180 metres), Marina City was huge for its time. When it opened in 1967, it was both the world’s tallest apartment tower and the tallest reinforced-concrete constructing. It also was erected at a time when urban workers were more and more residing in the suburbs. Goldberg’s supposition was that folks would like to reside close to in which they perform, and would do so with the proper mix of amenities. So he additional a theatre, bowling alley and ice skating rink to the tower.

Artwork Institute of Chicago, 1893, by Shepley, Rutan and Coolidge Modern day Wing, 2009, by Renzo Piano Building Workshop
111 S. Michigan Avenue

Image courtesy of ShutterstockThe Modern day Wing at the Artwork Institute of Chicago. Picture courtesy of Shutterstock

The venerable Artwork Institute of Chicago has seen more than a half dozen renovations because it opened. The original wing, a grand if relatively flat Neoclassical design and style by Shepley, Rutan and Coolidge, was finished in 1893, the 12 months of the epochal World’s Columbia Exposition. More than twenty million guests flowed into Chicago for the fair, taking the image of this grand Greek temple back to their towns to reproduce in their banks, city halls and museums.

One particular of the number of everlasting buildings created for the fair, the Artwork Institute held its influence extended right after the event. Louis Sullivan complained that its emphasis on classical types set back American architecture more than half a century.

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In 2009, Renzo Piano Building Workshop produced the trumpeted Modern day Wing. Clad in glass and brilliant white limestone, the structure is an echo of the unique constructing. In addition to galleries, the interior functions a daylit court, educational amenities, public amenities and a backyard. The creating is linked to Millennium Park across the street by a lengthy, thin bridge. For the duration of the Chicago Architecture Biennial, the Modern Wing will feature a David Adjaye retrospective in its architecture galleries.

Robie Property, 1909, by Frank Lloyd Wright
5757 S. Woodlawn Avenue

Frank-Lloyd-Wright-Frederick-C-Robie-House_Frank Lloyd Wright Trust_dezeen_468_1

One particular of Frank Lloyd Wright’s most favoured projects, the Robie Property in Hyde Park is a culmination of his lengthy-simmering meditation on Midwestern landscapes, and precedes the moment when he departed off to a lot more abstracted experiments such as Fallingwater. It has turn out to be emblematic of the architect’s Prairie Type.

Made of artfully composed horizontal lines of red brick and limestone, the robust terraced layers resemble stratified rock. Inside is a classic Wright composition of dark wood, stained glass and customized-made substantial-backed chairs. The house was constructed for a bicycle and motorbike producer and was included on the quite 1st Nationwide Register of Historic Places list in 1966.

The Rookery, 1888, by Daniel Burnham and John Nicely
209 S. Lisle Street

Rookery_Burnham_renovation_Frank Lloyd Wright_James Caulfield_Frank Lloyd Wright Trust_dezeen_sq Photograph by James Caulfield, courtesy of the Frank Lloyd Wright Believe in

Created by Daniel Burnham  – creator of the famous 1909 Chicago masterplan proposal – and spouse John Properly, The Rookery is an 11-storey office building that was a single of the tallest in the globe when it opened. Featuring a red granite base with a Romanesque entrance arch, the building is primarily a cube with a hollow core. Its hybrid structural method uses each load-bearing masonry and steel framing.

Connected story: Burnham Pavilion by Zaha Hadid Architects

The building is possibly best recognized for its interior Light Court – a double-height atrium with a curving cast-iron staircase and world wide web of steel trusses that enabled organic light to attain office staff deep within the constructing. In 1905, Frank Lloyd Wright oversaw a renovation of the atrium, simplifying specific decorative components and installing white marble with Persian-fashion engravings. It really is a rare instance of Wright, at any stage of his career, operating on a developing by yet another architect.

Sullivan Center, 1903, by Louis Sullivan
1 S. State Street

Sullivan Center_Louis Sullivan_dezeen_sqa

This business behemoth by Louis Sullivan embodies numerous style traditions that have created Chicago an architectural epicentre. Formerly the Carson Pirie Scott and Co. Creating, the framework is clad in white terracotta. It is one of the very best examples of the city’s embrace of this fire-resistant materials following the Excellent Fire of 1871.

Substantial size has often been a Chicago architecture tradition, and Sullivan Center obliges, taking up practically an entire block. It was an early illustration of steel framing, climbing 12 stories with a light-weight and productive structural program. The design pairs vertical components, like the cylindrical entrance pavilion and tower, with horizontal bands of windows.

The ground floor is covered in a dark cast iron swirl of nature-inspired reliefs, creating a 3-dimensional mural of abstracted leaves, branches, and fruits. These days, the building’s tenants consist of a Target division shop, the architecture firm Gensler, and the College of the Artwork Institute of Chicago.

S R Crown Hall at IIT, 1956, by Mies van der Rohe
3360 S. State Street

SR-Crown-Hall_Mies_dezeen_sq Image courtesy of the Illinois Institute of Engineering

A floating apparition of glass with a number of whiffs of blackened steel, S R Crown Hall – the architecture college for the Illinois Institute of Technologies – was made by Mies van der Rohe whilst he was dean of the department. The column-free of charge, 25,000-square-foot (two,322-square-metre) building is huge adequate to house 5 basketball courts. With an exceptionally light steel frame, the constructing reveals what happens when mass is evaporated down to its skeletal essence.

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A broad travertine stair brings students to its glass walls and open-air drafting studios arrayed in the massive, airy area. Occasional oak partitions are the only components dividing the upstairs expanse, and these attain nowhere close to the 18-foot-high (5.four-metre) ceiling. This ceiling is suspended from 4 tall steel-plate girders, which precluded the require for interior columns. The building – an embodiment of the ideals of Worldwide Design architects – is regarded as a single of the ideal non high-rise buildings developed by Mies.

Millennium Park, 2004, by SOM (masterplan)
Randolph St. and Michigan Ave

Millennium Park Pritzker Pavilion_Frank Gehry_shutterstock_dezeen_sqd Picture courtesy of Shutterstock

Millennium Park is 1 of the most important public spaces designed in Chicago in the modern day era. Master-planned by SOM, the 24.5-acre (99,000-square-metre) park was developed over lively commuter rail lines and a parking garage. It attributes sculptures, a garden, and an outside amphitheatre.

From west to east, guests pass by Doric columns in the Millennium Monument in Wrigley Square, on their way to Anish Kapoor’s Clould Gate. The large, bean-shaped sculpture has a mirrored surface, stretching and distorting views of the surrounding cityscape.

To the east is the Pritzker Pavilion, made by Frank Gehry. The pavilion is composed of curled ribbons of stainless steel and looks out in excess of an elliptical area criss-crossed by a trellis system that contains speakers.

To the south is Crown Fountain by artist Jaume Plensa and Chicago architects Krueck &amp Sexton. It features a pair of 50-foot (15-metre) glass blocks that spit out streams of water although projecting faces of Chicago citizens. The southern end of the park also includes Lurie Backyard, designed by Kathryn Gustafson, Piet Oudolf and Robert Israel. The five-acre (twenty,200-square-metre) park has naturalistic plantings and pays homage to Chicago’s motto, Urbs in Horto, or City in a Backyard.

Zach Mortice is an architectural journalist based in Chicago. He was formerly the managing editor of the American Institute of Architects’ AIA Architect.



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