Archive for July 4th, 2010

Architecture Beyond Gargoyles

July 4, 2010

See the cool gargoyles?

I’m feeling quite sophisticated right now. Years ago, when Trina and Sondra were little, we would have immediately signed up for the “Wacky Pirate Cruise” along the Chicago riverfront. Now that they are past the stage of Wacky Pirates, Allan and I took the “Official Architecture River Cruise” as well as the “Highlights Bus Tour: Robie House” also sponsored by the Chicago Architecture Foundation.
My sense of architecture is to look at a church steeple and proclaim “Allan, look! A cool gargoyle!” Our tours offered way more than cool gargoyles. We knowingly nodded as our tour guide described buildings designed by William le Baron Jenny, Louis Sullivan and Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, (although didn’t have a clue who they were.) So in spite of my architectural ignorance, I love the buildings we saw. In fact, I’ve decided Chicago is my third favorite city behind my hometown area of Seattle and Vancouver BC.
It seems like every city block has a unique building ranging from a house with a two story turret to a massive building like The Rookery. From the outside, the Rookery looks like a might fortress. Then you enter the building and see glass ceilings, white marble and delicate ornamentation.
We “participated’ in an Andy Warhol piece called “Silver Clouds”, which consists of 70 silver mylar balloons floating around a large open room.
I have heard of Frank Lloyd Wright, so it was fascinating to visit his 9,000 square foot Robie House. Ask me a question about his Prairie Style and I’ll amaze you with my architectural knowledge. (Only because we had very informative tour guides!) If you are ever in Chicago, check out the 85 plus tours offered by the Chicago Architecture Foundation. http://www.architecture.org Can’t say I miss those Wacky Pirate Cruises!


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