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AIA Guide to Chicago

AIA Guide to Chicago

Introduction by Perry R. Duis
Preface by Geoffrey Baer
Alice Sinkevitch Editor
Laurie McGovern Petersen Third Edition Editor
Copyright Date: 2014
Pages: 624
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  • Book Info
    AIA Guide to Chicago
    Book Description:

    An unparalleled architectural powerhouse, Chicago offers visitors and natives alike a stunning survey of styles and forms. The third edition of the AIA Guide to Chicago brings readers up to date on ten years of dynamic changes with new entries on smaller projects as well as showcases like the Aqua building, Trump Tower, and Millennium Park. Four hundred photos and thirty-four specially commissioned maps make it easy to find each of the one-thousand-plus featured buildings, while a comprehensive index organizes buildings by name and architect. This edition also features an introduction providing an indispensable overview of Chicago's architectural history.

    eISBN: 978-0-252-09613-6
    Subjects: Architecture and Architectural History

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
    (pp. vii-viii)
    (pp. ix-xii)
    (pp. xiii-xiv)
    (pp. xv-xvi)
    (pp. 1-20)

    Chicago holds a special place in the history of American cities.

    It frequently assumes the role of the great American exaggeration, the place where common characteristics are stretched to their limits. Other cities grew during the nineteenth century, but Chicago mushroomed. Every town had its boosters, but the Windy City’s were obstreperously boastful. Crime and political corruption were everywhere, but in Chicago they seemed to be elevated to an art. More positively, Chicago became a synonym for “the new” and “the first,” leading the way in architecture, literature, and social reform—in part because, as a brash upstart, it possessed...

  8. Key to Maps
    (pp. 21-22)

    • THE LOOP
      (pp. 24-97)

      The Loop is quintessential Chicago! Here the City of Big Shoulders flaunts its continuing vitality with an unequaled display of dazzling towers and crowded streets. Jammed with a medley of cars, trucks, buses, and darting pedestrians, the Loop is an urban canvas framed by its famous El. It is home to banks, national and international corporate headquarters, stock and commodities trading centers, and a myriad of shops, restaurants, and other support services.

      The small tongue of land on which the Loop is situated, bounded by Lake Michigan on the east and the Chicago River on the north and west, determined...

      (pp. 98-124)

      As one of Chicago’s earliest settlements, the South Loop was among the first areas to experience the typical urban cycles of prosperity, decay, and renewal, and it now contains the city’s most intensely polyglot collection of buildings and neighborhoods. Its shifting boundaries testify to the area’s increasing vitality. Originally thought of as bounded by Congress and Roosevelt, east of Interstate 90/94, it is now considered to stretch all the way south to the Stevenson Expressway. It is home to the conventioneers’ mecca of McCormick Place, cultural and educational institutions, and a variety of housing from rehabbed factories to new town...


      (pp. 126-148)

      In a city notable for dramatic transformations, the story of North Michigan Avenue/Streeterville deserves a special place. It is amazing to contrast a picture of today’s densely built-up neighborhood with an aerial photograph taken in 1926. Then, apart from a handful of scattered buildings, the roughly squaremile area was a gigantic vacant lot awaiting development. More remarkably, forty years earlier, there had been little land there at all. Lake Michigan then covered virtually all of Streeterville, from the east side of N. Michigan Ave. (then Pine St.) reaching from Chicago Ave. north to Oak St. The scruffy land south of...

      (pp. 150-171)

      River North is the newest name for one of Chicago’s oldest neighborhoods. In the 1970s, the long-forgotten area north and west of the towers that border the Chicago River and N. Michigan Ave. featured open blocks of surface parking in its southeastern sector, with ranks of mill-construction factory and warehouse buildings, many dating from the 1880s, in other parts of the neighborhood. Loft conversions to commercial and residential use brought new life and a new name, and by 2000, new construction had filled the parking lots with high-rise apartments, multistory garages, and retail complexes.

      The poorest part of the city...

      (pp. 172-195)

      Throughout most of their history, the neighborhoods of the Gold Coast and Old Town presented a sharp contrast between rich and poor, elegance and squalor. Today, however, their demographics are surprisingly similar. While many Gold Coast mansions have been replaced by high-rises or subdivided into smaller but still desirable apartments, a tidal wave of money has swept over the workers’ cottages and flats of Old Town, many of which have been converted into expensive single-family residences or sold as tear-downs.

      The streetscapes of the two communities are still worlds apart. Old Town is filled with charmingly restored cottages, row houses,...

      (pp. 196-219)

      No other Chicago neighborhood has witnessed as dramatic a resurgence as Lincoln Park. The 1950Local Community Fact Book, the city’s decennial oracle of sociological trends, predicted “the end of much of Lincoln Park as a residential community.” Today, however, many people see it as the city’s most desirable neighborhood—with real estate prices to match. The density and congestion that constitute its chief drawbacks are the inevitable side effects of its popularity. Yet unlike the Gold Coast, the only neighborhood with higher median home values, high-rise construction has invaded only a small area of Lincoln Park, and the vast...

      (pp. 220-243)

      Over time, the North Side communities of Lakeview, Uptown, and Ravenswood carved themselves out of a much larger government entity, the township of Lake View. When organized in 1857, Lake View Township extended north from Fullerton Ave. to Devon Ave. and from the lake to Western Ave. Today, the name survives in that of just one of the many neighborhoods developed in the township. Lakeview extends from (roughly) Diversey Pkwy. to Addison St. Communities to its north include Wrigleyville (Addison to Irving Park Rd.), Buena Park (east and west of Graceland Cemetery), Uptown (north of Montrose Ave.), and Ravenswood (west...

      (pp. 244-262)

      The story of Edgewater and Rogers Park is a tale of metamorphosis from genteel suburb to urban neighborhood. As usual, the catalyst was the extension of a transit line that made the community more accessible to legions of Loop office workers. Highway construction brought further changes, turning quiet streets into congested thoroughfares. But behind the row of Sheridan Rd.’s high-rises are pockets of elegance that hint at the area’s enduring appeal.

      Edgewater and Rogers Park began as farming communities but originally belonged to different townships, separated at Devon Ave. Edgewater joined the city as part of the Lake View annexation...

      (pp. 264-282)

      The Northwest Side comprises disparate neighborhoods united by the important artery of Milwaukee Ave. Like many of Chicago’s diagonal streets, it began as an Indian trail, was developed as a plank road and streetcar route, and remains a heavily traveled commercial thoroughfare. The many changes in neighborhood names and boundaries along the Milwaukee Ave. corridor reflect the area’s shifting populations and their various motives of ethnic pride, historical interest, and real estate promotion.

      The major community areas, which extend west from the north branch of the Chicago River for about two miles, are West Town, from Kinzie St. to about...

      (pp. 284-290)

      In June 1942, the federal government bought 1,000 acres surrounding the small Orchard Place Airport to establish the Douglas Aircraft Co. factory, which built C-54 transport planes there during World War II. In 1945, an urgent search to replace Midway Airport, then the world’s busiest, led to this wartime factory site. Although it was located fifteen miles northwest of the Loop and would require changes to the existing infrastructure of streets and railroads, it offered the best chance for rapid development. The federal government gave the site to the city, retaining 280 acres for the Army Air Force, and the...


      (pp. 292-314)

      The Near West Side is a patchwork of past and present, with historic blocks separated by vast stretches of urban renewal and pockets of blight. From a Civil War–era residence and church to converted industrial lofts and modern institutional complexes, the area displays the cycles of growth, decline, and rebirth that characterize mature industrial cities. Exclusive Victorian residential districts that devolved into blight have been reborn, while immigrant ghettos have yielded to modern university buildings.

      The area is split east–west by the Eisenhower Expressway (I-290), completed in 1960. To the south, the former immigrant area around Hull House...

      (pp. 316-333)

      To those traveling from Western Ave. to the city limits—past empty lots, crumbling six-flats, well-maintained graystones, battered retail areas, and sturdy churches—the suburban origins of these neighborhoods may seem remote and invisible. But the area from Western Ave. to Harlem Ave. in Oak Park and from North Ave. to Pershing Rd. was once Cicero Township, an independent political entity founded in 1857. Its villages, which grew up along the train lines, were coveted by Chicago politicians eager to add their public properties and tax assessments to the city’s holdings.

      In 1869, a seminal year for the West Side,...

    • OAK PARK
      (pp. 334-356)

      Arriving in waves after the Chicago Fire, settlers came to Oak Park by the thousands to build homes: freestanding, sun-filled, hygienic, secure. Fleeing the city’s crowded, combustible flats and row houses, cholera epidemics, and corruption, they sought to create a community in harmony with God and with the help of like-minded souls.

      Today, tens of thousands of visitors come to tour those houses, for it was in Oak Park that the modern American home was born. Twenty-seven designs by Frank Lloyd Wright still stand, among them fanciful experiments from his early years, his own home and studio, and mature Prairie...

      (pp. 358-374)

      The communities of Pilsen, Heart of Chicago, Little Village, and Lawndale grew up with Chicago’s industry, thriving in the 1870s when the city was becoming an industrial powerhouse and declining a century later as the manufacturing base withered away. The flats, cottages, and commercial buildings that met the needs of generations of factory workers suffer from decay and neglect, but lively areas persist in the immigrant neighborhoods, which continue to attract new arrivals.

      Pilsen, the oldest community, is bounded on the south by the Illinois & Michigan Canal (1848) and was developed with lumberyards and breweries; on the north, Pilsen...


      (pp. 376-395)

      The Near South Side offers striking examples of urban renewal on a variety of scales, from multiacre developments to individual houses. It has some of the city’s earliest residential neighborhoods, which were also among the first to be leveled and rebuilt as part of grand schemes in the 1940s. Sandwiched between the redeveloped areas is a neighborhood known as the Gap, which retains a nineteenth-century character that is especially notable on Calumet and Giles Aves. between 31st and 35th Sts. Renewed interest in Bronzeville recalls a time when this was a hub of African American business and culture second only...

      (pp. 396-409)

      “They were left standing upon the corner, staring; down a side street there were two rows of brick houses, and between them a vista: half a dozen chimneys, tall as the tallest of buildings, touching the very sky—and leaping from them half a dozen columns of smoke, thick, oily, and black as night . . . stretching a black pall as far as the eye could reach.” The great smoking chimneys that so awed and ultimately overwhelmed the young Lithuanian immigrants in Upton Sinclair’sThe Jungle(1906) no longer blacken the sky over this industrial neighborhood. But church spires...

      (pp. 410-427)

      The residential development of this area reflects two contrasting ideals: the urban boulevard house and the country retreat. Chicago’s earliest boulevards were established just north of Washington Park, and their popularity with wealthy homeowners set the pattern for other areas. Along the lake, Kenwood’s large wooded lots created a secluded suburban setting that contrasted with the see-and-be-seen urbanity of the broad streets to the north and west. The fate of these neighborhoods began to diverge sharply as early as 1900, and today they have little in common. While the boulevards offer examples of past grandeur in decayed circumstances, the enclave...

      (pp. 428-469)

      The World’s Columbian Exposition of 1893 had a powerful and lasting impact on Chicago’s urban development, and nowhere were these effects felt as strongly as in Hyde Park. The enormous annexation of 1889, in which the city swallowed up huge townships like Lake View, Jefferson, and Hyde Park, was prompted in part by the theory that the larger the city’s population, the better its chances of being named the site of the fair. In April 1890, after Chicago had won this prize, civic pride demanded the creation of institutions befitting the nation’s second-most-populous city. One of these new institutions was...

      (pp. 470-481)

      If communities still adopted Latin mottos, Beverly—Morgan Park might bill itself asSuburbia in Urbe. With its towering trees, broad lawns, and sprawling old houses, it looks more like an affluent North Shore suburb than a Chicago neighborhood. The hilly topography and winding streets also set it apart from the flat urban grid to the east. The small rail stations, which retain much of their charm despite heavy-handed remodelings, recall the area’s origins as a commuter suburb.

      Morgan Park is the older community. In 1844, an Englishman named Thomas Morgan bought a large tract of land along the Blue...

      (pp. 482-488)

      In 1878, the swampy land now locked between the Dan Ryan and Calumet Expressways contained a few Dutch farms in the community of Roseland, high ground along what is now Michigan Ave., and fewer than twenty houses in the village of Kensington, centering on the railroad junction at 115th St. and Cottage Grove Ave. Five years later, the population had soared to seven thousand, most of them laborers drawn by new industry. The leading attraction was the company town of Pullman, begun by railroad car manufacturer George M. Pullman in April 1880 on five hundred acres between the western edge...

    (pp. 489-492)
  14. INDEX
    (pp. 493-550)
  15. Back Matter
    (pp. 551-552)