We all know Chicago is famous for its architecture. The number one tourist activity suggest to visitors by locals is an architectural boat cruise. And the big name "Frank Lloyd Wright" will inevitably come up as well. Chicagoans rave about our "magnificent skyline." All cities have buildings, and all buildings have architects, so what makes Chicago so special?
On a most primary level, the architecture of Chicago strikes visitors (and locals, too, for that matter) due to its scale. The size of the skyscrapers and the amount of them offers a landscape, which for most of us completely contrasts with the regular, more horizontally oriented spaces where we live and work. Buildings that stretch to the sky, such as Trump Tower, Willis Tower or the Hancock, impress us visually as works of art, and when we try to comprehend their scale we are impressed by the engineering of such magnificent structures. We think, "How in the world did they do that?"
Lastly, the quality of the architects here in Chicago contribute to the caliber of the building designs. We have world famous architecture firms like Holabird & Root and Skidmore, Owings and Merrill. We have great schools for urban planning, like the University of Illinois at Chicago, and for architecture school, like Illinois Institute of Technology. We've had grand innovators in architecture, such as Frank Lloyd Wright, Mies van der Rohe, and Helmut Jahn, call the Chicago area home.
This first post in the new architecture blog for Choose Chicago introduces Chicago architecture, and in the future I'll share tips for visiting works of Chicago architecture and the fascinating background of the city's architectural highlights.