Our Chicago Open House weekend started on Friday, before the official event started on Saturday. We made our own tour of places that were open.
James Thompson Center – Designed by Helmut Jahn, the Thompson Center is a 17 story curved glass building housing many government offices. From the interior all 17 floors are visible in the impressive atrium.
On the plaza in front of the building is a sculpture from Jean Dubffet called Monument with Standing Beast. Standing at 29’ high, the sculpture weighs in at 20,000 pounds.
Cook County Office Building – A classical 12 story office building located in the government section of downtown Chicago, to me it is most famous for where the Blues Brotthers went to pay the property tax for the childrens home (and yes the Cook County Assessors office is located in this building).
The building has the classic Art Deco look on the interior.
Chicago Temple – The First United Methodist Church of Chicago was the first church to be founded in the city, even before it was a city, in 1831. In 1838 it moved to it’s current location at the corner of Washington and Clark.
In the early 1920s with downtown Chicago rapidly developing the church debated selling their valuable land and moving out to one of the neighborhoods. Eventually they decided on a novel approach, build a skyscraper with a church included, and in addition, put a chapel on the top. The result was a 568’ tall building with what is to this day the highest church from street level in the world.
The first level has a traditional church.
Known as the Sky Chapel, it was part of the original building but not fully completed until 1952 as a gift from the family of the Walgreen’s Drug Store founder.
To this day the church is self funded by the rents paid by other tenants in the building, allowing it to fully focus on serving the diverse community it serves.
Outside is some unique art.
Marshall Field’s (Macy’s) Tiffany Dome – With over 1.6 million pieces it is the largest Tiffany mosaic in existence. Designed by Louis Tiffany in 1907, over 50 artisans worked on scaffolding for 18 months to complete this amazing masterpiece.
The Pedway hosts a collection of stained glass.
Some general scenes around the city.
A tourist boat on the Chicago River.
One of the lift bridge control buildings frame by a 60 floor building.
Classic Chicago – The Merchandise Mart with a Brown Line El train coming in.
Old street light and new skyscrapers.
Up Wells Street from the 10th floor of a parking garage.
A building along Madison Street.
Cloud Gate is a public sculpture located in Millennium Park. While the artists inspiration was liquir mercury, it is commonly referred to as The Bean. It is one of the most popular tourist attractions in the city.
The buildings along East Randolph Street.
Pritzker Pavilion – A Frank Gehry design, the pavilion is a band shell that hosts numerous events each year. For this mid October night it was quiet, but still stunning with it’s red lighting.
Art Institute of Chicago is one of the oldest and largest museums in the United States. From this part of the park, you get a great view of one of the modern additions along with the Michigan Avenue skyline.
tomorrow the official events starts.