CAF 2015 Open House Chicago

This was my second year attending Chicago Architecture Foundation’s Open House, but after my delightful first year experience, I knew it would be a weekend I would not want to miss.

Like last year, I carefully selected and planned to visit two sites – the Congress Plaza Hotel and Convention Center and the Illinois Institute of Technology Chicago-Kent College of Law. I ended up seeing many more, in part because cabs were booked or on the opposite side of the street. As a result, I walked to the Congress Plaza Hotel and captured many other sites along the way – some open to the public and others impromptu street captures. In one day I saw not only the two planned sites, but unplanned architectural wonders, three weddings, a movie being shot on the streets of Chicago, and a Channel 5 News Truck out capturing footage.

Like last year, the Open House sites were accepting of photographers – although this year you could tell security was not terribly pleased about people showing up to photograph facilities. Every now and then in some of the photos you see security peeking out from a corner, keeping a close watch on those carrying cameras. In each location, however, the public was warmly welcomed by an official CAF member.

The first planned site was the IIT Chicago Kent College of Law on 565 W. Adams Street, architect Holabird & Root (1992). The library, ceiling, and main window was the visual draw. It is such a spectacular room, if I went there to study, I would find it difficult to look anywhere else but out the main window or at the stunning ceiling. (Be sure to click on each of the galleries to open up a full screen view of the images.)

The Congress Plaza Hotel and Convention Center on 520 South Michigan Ave, Architect Clinton J. Warren, 1893, is a structure I grew up seeing once a year at Christmas on the way to visit family on the North side of Chicago. I often wondered what it looked like inside. The gold ballroom is stunning and after seeing it, I would imagine The Congress Plaza Hotel (along with the W Chicago Midland Club Hotel) must be a top dream venue for every young Bride planning a wedding in Chicago. Although by the time I arrived other photographers had staked out the prime location and were not willing to venture from it too quickly, it didn’t matter too much as the beauty of the room’s details were revealed everywhere you looked.

Another breathtakingly beautiful site was the W Hotel at 172 W. Adams St., Karl M. Vitzthum, 1929. For some reason I expected contemporary architecture. What I found inside was visually overwhelming and an unexpected pleasure. If you are a new bride looking for a venue, look no further!

As you probably can tell from this post, Fall weddings in Chicago was the day’s secondary theme. I saw remnants of three separate Weddings in three different locations:

Many of the day’s other captures are provided here in this slideshow. Some captures I have to thank a very helpful Cab driver who, after I had walked as far as I could stand that day, drove me to other sites I only hoped to check out. Instead I was able to take a quick look at some new sites. Thank you so much for your help and patience.

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