If you love architecture and Chicago, like I do, and you haven’t been on the Chicago Architecture Foundation River Cruise, I definitely recommend it.
I took a mini-vacation recently and spent a few days in Chicago. I’d been on the architecture cruise once before, but wanted to do it again (this time when it wasn’t raining).
The tour offers not just great views of some of the city’s coolest buildings from the water, but also some interesting information about their histories and the architects who influenced Chicago’s skyline.
For example, the iconic “corn cob” buildings – Marina City is the actual name of the towers – just west of the Wrigley Building and the new Trump tower. They are supposed to resemble trees, not corn cobs.
What I found interesting was the architect, Bertrand Goldberg, was mentored by Mies van de Rohe, who designed the minimalist IBM high rise next door. Goldberg also designed the River City complex on the South Branch of the river – structures that are also full of curves, so unlike Mies van de Rohe.
Several of the buildings with curving facades were built that way to echo the curves of the river, including the building at 333 W. Wacker Drive whose glass exterior is green to match the river’s color.
A couple of my favorite buildings are where the river bends to the north. There’s Fulton House, originally a cold-storage warehouse that is now condominiums. I love the pink-toned brick and the stars on the building.
And my absolute favorite – not a skyscraper along the lakefront, but the river cottages tucked away on the North Branch of the river, next to the Fulton House. I love the backwards slant of the river-side of the building, the tiny little gardens planted in front and the steps down to the water. I could live there.
Trump Tower (right)
333 W. Wacker Drive
Marina City (left) and 330 N. Wabash (right), Mies van der Rohe's last design for an American office building before his death (formerly called the IBM building)