Showing posts from April, 2017

Chicago, day 1, a park, a pavilion and a bean

Getting slightly footsore we made our way to Millennium Park. The citizens of Chicago are fortunate to have a green sward that runs 23 miles from the city's southerly end to it's northern suburbs, along the shore of Lake Michigan. Millennium Park is a part of this within the Loop area of the city. It was February and supposed to be cold. I had brought a heavy winter coat with me, but a lot of the time we were walking round with bare arms. Nevertheless the ice rink was running still.

In the summer the park boasts flowers and fountains, although now it was all looking rather bare. But Chicago being Chicago, there are still things to look at. We went first to admire the Jay Pritzker Pavilion, designed by Frank Gehry and built 1999-2004. It is a beautiful arrangement of steel and home to the Grant Park Symphony Orchestra. It is also used for more popular music and can accommodate a mere 11,000.

One of the other attractions in the park is a giant installation by Anish Kapoor, Clou…

Chicago day 1, still in the Loop

We moved away from the heart of the financial centre but were still in the downtown Loop of Chicago so that Michael could show us some more iconic buildings.  The Monadnock building consists of 2 parts, one built in 1891 and the other in 1893. The first part was designed by John Root who pushed the building to an incredible height of 16 storeys and designed large bay windows to let in light and air. At the base, masonry walls 16 feet deep were needed to support the structure.  The second part, built only 3 years later after Root's death, was designed by Holabird and Roche and used the new fangled steel framing to support the building and so the brickwork was far less extensive. The two parts were designed to match, it is only the depth of the brickwork which gives away the earlier building method. There was rather a nice hat store at the base of the building.

We then went on to see the Fisher Building (1896) and the Manhattan Building.The latter built in 1891 boasted a steel fram…

Chicago day 1, back to the Loop and some marble halls

On our return to the Loop we had some lunch and then went for a tour around the financial district in the heart of Chicago. Here is a view looking down LaSalle Street towards the Chicago Board of Trade, a 45 storey art deco building with a statue of Ceres at the top, showing the importance of the vasty fields of grain to the wealth of Chicago.

The Board of Trade was designed by Holabird & Root and built 1929-30. A 24 storey wing by Helmut Jahn that was added in 1980.
I shall now show you the tour, as we took it, courtesy of Michael. A little meandering, but very accomplished. Michael wanted us to see the inside of some of the buildings, especially the banks which were resplendent in brass and marble. The first one we visited was the One North LaSalle Building. A fantastic art deco building erected in 1930 with design by architects Vitzthum & Co and John Burns. It cost , for the time, a staggering amount of 30 million dollars.

We passed the Burnham Building, also known as the …