Chicago Architecture Foundation 2014 Open House

Accessing Magnificent Architecture Up Close

This year was the first time I attended a Chicago Architecture Foundation 2014 Open House. I’ve read about it over the years and always wanted to, but typically another issue would rear its head. Not so this year. And I was so glad I attended at least one of the days.

It takes a little planning to make the most out of a visit. The Chicago Architecture Foundation (CAF) showcases / opens well over a hundred and fifty buildings to the public for two days a year, and many allow photography. Some buildings even provide access to areas normally closed off to the public. 

I knew I’d have to plan my day well and narrow selections to two buildings at the top of my undocumented architectural photography bucket list. It is simply not possible to visit all the buildings or even most that are available. 

Two structures stood out as an immediate draw to me for their unique and edgy architectural designs – the new Godfrey Hotel that opened in 2014 and the lakefront glass marvel, the Spertus Institute completed in 2007. Between the two inspiring architectural feats were other buildings I was interested in, and I was able to visit them after photographing the planned sites. This made for a beautiful day of photography. Even the weather cooperated. Blue skys and a few clouds provided artistic accent. The landscape panoramic views from the typically off-limit heights revealed once-in-a-lifetime memories.

Enough chat. Here are a few of the planned and unplanned architectural treasures. Each felt like a gift from CAF. Another surprise was how accepting people were to photographers, something rare these days. Thank you to all who planned the event and to those who opened their doors and warmly welcomed the public.

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