Chicago: A Century of Architecture

September 2 – 7, 2018

Chicago! That most quintessential of American cities, Chicago continues to dazzle us with the vibrancy and excitement of its buildings. Both a museum and laboratory of architecture, the depth and variety of Chicago’s architectural heritage has earned the city its indisputable place as the world’s capital of modern architecture. Louis Sullivan, Frank Lloyd Wright, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe and many others designed strikingly original buildings here as they experimented with design and function. The innovation continues today as the imaginative shapes and diverse forms of post-modern structures demonstrate cutting edge ideas and provoke a range of responses. From Adler and Sullivan’s elegant Auditorium to Frank Lloyd Wright’s masterpieces to Frank Gehry’s exuberant Pritzker Pavilion in the city’s stunning Millennium Park, the range and breadth of the city’s buildings is unequalled. Join us for an insider’s view of Chicago’s venerable landmarks and newest architectural triumphs!

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guide expert

Lee Bey Architecture


Day 1
Welcome to Chicago

Arrive in Chicago and check in to the beautiful Hotel Palomar, located near Chicago’s Magnificent Mile. In the late afternoon, begin exploring the city on an architecture river cruise spotlighting more than 50 significant sites and landmarks. Pass beneath 24 bridges as you journey along three branches of the Chicago River.  Afterwards, celebrate the start of your Chicago experience at a welcome dinner.  (D)

Day 2

Post-Fire Chicago

Today will focus on Chicago’s rebuilding after the Great Fire of 1871 and the rise of the skyscraper. Take a guided walking tour with an architectural historian through Chicago’s Loop, seeing such architectural landmarks as Burnham and Root’s Rookery (1888), with its terra cotta revival exterior and recently restored Frank Lloyd Wright interior; Holabird and Roche’s Marquette Building (1895), an outstanding example of the Chicago School of design; and Holabird and Root’s Chicago Board of Trade Building (1930), one of the city’s most elegant Art Deco skyscrapers. Enjoy lunch together nearby. Take some leisure time this afternoon, then reconvene for a local music performance. (L)

Day 3

Frank Lloyd Wright’s Chicago

Few architects have had as strong an impact on Chicago as Frank Lloyd Wright. Today focuses on his life and work. Begin with a visit to his home and studio where the “Prairie style” was developed. As you explore his first home, learn from an expert about his personal and professional progress during these years. Stroll through the Oak Park neighborhood to see historic homes he designed including the Arthur B. Huertley House, the Laura Gale House, and the Frank Thomas House. Continue to the recently-restored Unity Temple for a guided tour of the interior. The Unity Temple is the only example of a public building in the Prairie style that still stands today and Wright considered it one of his primary contributions to modern architecture. This evening, take a twilight tour of Wright’s 1910 Robie House followed by a reception. (L,R)

Day 4

The City’s Modern Architecture

Explore Chicago’s modern architecture today as we focus on the post-war skyscraper. Sites visited will include the work of Mies Van der Rohe, Skidmore Owings and Merrill, and Bertrand Goldberg. Visit the French Market, an eclectic collection of fine local vendors. Take your pick—from sushi and seafood to pastries and vegan cuisine. After lunch, continue to Half Acre Beer Company, a local brewery that takes great pride in its small-batch beers. Learn all about the art of beer making with a tour and tasting. The evening is at leisure. (L)

Day 5

Contemporary Chicago

The day begins with a walking tour with an architectural expert from the Chicago Architecture Foundation. Walk through Millennium Park, Chicago’s critically acclaimed urban center for music, art and architecture. Learn the ways in which architects and designers came together to transform an uninspired lot into one of the most vibrant public spaces in the city. Next, tour the Modern Wing of the Art Institute of Chicago, designed by Renzo Piano. The Modern Wing was viewed by many critics as the perfect counterpoint to the original 1983 Beaux Arts building. Continue to Hyde Park this afternoon to see the elegant Gothic campus of the University of Chicago. Recent additions to the campus include Helmut Jahn’s futuristic Mansueto Library and the Logan Visual Arts Center by Tod Williams and Billie Tsien. Expert Lee Bey will discuss the complicated story of new Barack Obama Presidential Center currently under construction, located in Jackson Park and set to be completed in 2021.  Enjoy a festive farewell dinner tonight at a local restaurant to toast the end of your trip. (D)

Day 6

Travelers depart for the airport, or can extend their stay in Chicago.

trip details

Hotel Palomar
The Hotel Palomar is ideally situated near Chicago’s Magnificent Mile. This boutique property features stylish contemporary décor in all rooms. Guests can enjoy the indoor pool and various dining options including the 1940s-inspired restaurant and bar.
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