Amber had made reservations for us to go on the Chicago River Architecture Tour, something that I had considered any number of times while visiting Chicago, but never really had the time to do. But Saturday was a beautiful day and we had nothing but time on our hands, so the tour was a great idea. I think this particular Saturday was so beautiful that I would have loved meandering down the river even if I hated architecture. But I don't- so this was a real treat. Chicago has such a wide variety of buildings that represent a wide variety of architectural styles. As we left on the tour boat which started at Michigan Avenue, the number of different styles is pretty mind numbing. Our docent was amazing in that she described every building along the river, who designed it, what architectural style it represented and the history of who occupied it. There is no way to remember which were which and since architecture is not one of my strong point, I will only add pictures of the various buildings. The perspective of all of these will be from below, looking up, because we were on the river and these building all were located either on the river bank or near by.
As our boat moved down stream away from the lake (now that's another story) we passed an amazing variety of building styles, some that were built to take advantage of the river and others that were built to provide a specific function without regard to form. Below are twin apartment towers with the lower levels for parking. If you back too far into your parking space, your car falls into the river many stories below.
This next building has an amazing Greek columned top
The next two buildings were separated from each other, but both were built to emphasize the curve of the river and the blue of the water reflecting the surrounding..
The story behind this next apartment building was that the architect had always built structures using right corners and parallel lines, but decided to abandon that style for curves. At the base below the parking lot was a mooring site for residents boats.
But for the most part, architects stayed with those right angles and straight lines to produce a variety of different styles, which I know all have names, but for the life of me I can't remember any of them.
This next building is the Merchandise Mart, which claims to be the largest commercial building in the world with 4.2 million square feet of space.
Now it is important that what I know about architecture styles is even less than zip! Why we might judge it zippo minus- but the building on the above right is an "Art Deco" And that is my absolute favorite building style- And it is the style of my high school in Tulsa- So it has a particular fondness. So mostly as we meandered down the river I just kept looking for my favorites- I think maybe it is the only style I can actually identify with a modest degree of accuracy.
So after the boat tour we were off to dinner- pizza and beer- beer brewed right on site! You can check it out at: http://www.piecechicago.com.
And of course there was certainly desert - not with the beer- we headed for a restaurant called "Hot Chocolate" for the desert!
But the night was still young so it was off to the local bar to finish the evening.
This weekend wasn't quite finished though. On Sunday after breakfast out (Have I mentioned how wonderful breakfast out is in Chicago!). We traveled to the Chicago Art Institute to finish our visit here.
Don's favorite- the Impressionist Gallery.
But our final stop was a visit with the "original" American Gothic: