Chicago Architecture Foundation
Tribes: Who likes this place?
What the scores mean:
These scores tell you how well-liked a place is in each Tribe. Gogobot Tribes are groups who share a certain travel style, like Family Travelers or History Buffs.
Which Gogobot Tribe do you belong to?Join now
- 98%History Buffs
- 79%Art & Design Lovers
- 61%Family Travelers
- 51%Green Travelers
Member Reviews (14)
- Chicago Architecture FoundationMember ofLocal CultureFoodiesHistory Buffs+ 1Aug 15, 2013
Chicago is not only the birthplace of the skyscraper, it is also where most of the innovations in early skyscraper design and technology originated . We were interested in learning about some of the building seen in downtown Chicago and also learning a bit of Chicago history so took a walking tour with the Chicago Architectural Foundation.
The CAF tours start in the Santa Fe building just across the street from the Art Institute of Chicago. The tour we took started at 3:00 p.m. and cost $15 as non-members of the CAF. There are also happy hour tours for $16, and discounted tour costs for students and seniors. Reservation online is possible (www.architecture.org/tours.aspx) but I was told that weekday tours are not usually full and arriving 15 minutes ahead is sufficient to get into a tour.
The group we were in was about 10 people. Ours was mostly Canadians but a few locals as well. We were given headsets to amplify the docent guiding the tour.
The docent first gave us a little Chicago history, the most significant event being the Great Chicago Fire and then described the building we were in, the Santa Fe, as an example of early Chicago architecture.
The walking part of the tour started with looking at the Art Institute of Chicago as a contrast to the developments of the Chicago buildings we would be looking at. We then moved on a few blocks away to Holabird and Roche’s Marquette Building (1895), an outstanding example of the Chicago School of design. Nearby was the Field Building (1934) by Graham, Anderson, Probst and White, the most recent of the buildings we looked at and distinctively Art Deco both in design and interior decor and the last building completed during the Great Depression.
We also looked Burnham and Root’s Rookery (1888) with its Moorish revival exterior and restored Frank Lloyd Wright interior; Holabird and Root’s Chicago Board of Trade Building (1930), one of the city’s most glamorous Art Deco skyscrapers; the Old Colony Building by Holabird & Roche (1894) with its rounded corners; the Leiter II Building (1891) an early skeletal frame commercial building by pioneer skyscraper architect, William Le Baron Jenney, and Adler and Sullivan’s Auditorium Building (1889) a masterpiece of engineering, design and acoustics.
I think my favourite was the Monadnock Block with the north half (1889-91) designed by Burnham & Root and south half (1891-93) designed by Holabird & Roche. The north part–famed for its lack of traditional ornamentation–is a masonry, wall-bearing structure, the last skyscraper to employ this method of construction, with six-foot thick walls at the base, and yet it looks modern enough when contrasted with the Mies van der Rohe building across the street.
The docent, whose name I have unfortunately forgotten, was not only informative but communicated his enthusiasm for the subject. I wanted to immediately go on the next tour of skyscrapers which started with the Prudential Building built in 1955 after the Great Depression and World War II which caused a hiatus in skyscraper building. Too bad we did not have enough time for another tour.
- Chicago Architecture FoundationMember ofLocal CultureOutdoor EnthusiastsBudget Travelers+ 6May 09, 2013
The Chicago Architecture Foundation was founded in 1966 as the Chicago School of Architecture Foundation, to save H. H. Richardson's Glessner House, one of Chicago's oldest residences. In 1971, it began to offer lectures and volunteer-led tours to the public.
The Chicago Architecture Foundation is located within The Loop's historic Santa Fe Building and conveniently across the street from the Art Institute. It offers exhibitions about architecture, infrastructure, cities, and design. Lectures, panel discussions, education programs, architecture tours, and digital experiences are also featured. The Gift Shop is also worth some extra time due to its engaging and unique subject-specific selection.
The Chicago Architectural Foundation is the most interesting and educational way to see Chicago. Hands Down. When I come here, you'll find me on one of the boat tours, as that's one of the more interesting and efficient way to see Chicago and learn a little history as a bonus. However, I'd recommend any of their other tours, as I don't think there's a clinker in the bunch. The volunteer Tour Guides are also top notch and with a wealth of knowledge and enthusiasm that can be contagious. And every time I'm in Chicago and I have time - I'm Back!
- Chicago Architecture FoundationJul 05, 2012
This was probably one of the best tour stops on the trip. I had such a fun time through this 90 minute cruise to learn all about the innerworkings of Chicago skyline and all the amazing historical and new architecture that has since adorned the skyline of Chicago.
I never knew how culturally rich Chicago was, and this tour really showed me what I was missing. This tour does mainly go over architectural marvels but even more, it's a history lesson on Chicago itself. It's entertaining, fun, and the tour guides are extremely knowledgeable on all aspects of Chicago history beyond the architecture themselves. It's an easy going cruise that will allow you to see a lot of the city in a short amount of time, probably less than what you would pay for a taxi to go to those places too!
This is probably one of the most recommended to-do list items for me if you were to visit Chicago.
- Chicago Architecture FoundationJul 05, 2012
Tremendous very reasonable cost walking, bus and boat tours. HUGE VARIETY!!! Gift shop has many souvenirs, books, art, intelligent games and more! I love the walking tours. You go in many of the buildings and learn so much about Chicago's well known and lesser known architectural gems!
- Chicago Architecture FoundationJul 04, 2012
The tour was great, but I didn't have time to thoroughly explore the architecture foundation. I found the gift shop to be trendy and to touristy. I would have preferred to see more architectural unique items to Chicago than famous quotes on t-shirts.