Chicago Architecture Center Building, CAC Illinois, Drake Family Skyscraper Gallery, USA Architectural News

Chicago Architecture Center

May 25, 2021

Chicago Architecture Center Building

Location: Chicago, Illinois, USA

Chicago Architecture Center Opens with New Exhibits and Tours
in Time for Memorial Day Weekend Summer Kick-off

New tours downtown, in neighborhoods and more departures on the Chicago River;

New exhibits spotlight changing Chicago neighborhoods and cutting-edge home designs that are affordable, accessible, and flexible for every stage of our lives

CHICAGO – With the Memorial Day Weekend summer kick-off just days away, the Chicago Architecture Center (CAC) has re-opened with all-new and updated exhibits in its 10,000 square feet of galleries full of scale models of new building designs from Chicago and around the world. The Chicago Gallery, home to the Chicago City Model Experience, is completely overhauled and all-new exhibits on Current Chicago Projects, Chicago Chicago’s neighborhoods and the new home design exhibit, Housing for a Changing Nation.

The “Building Tall” exhibition in the Chicago Architecture Center’s Drake Family Skyscraper Gallery features scale models of high-rise towers around the world—as well as picture-perfect views of Chicago’s own iconic skyline:
Drake Family Skyscraper Gallery Chicago building models
photo : James Steinkamp

These new exhibits cap CAC’s spring 2021 reopening that began with the April launch of new CAC Walking Tours and the Chicago Architecture Foundation Center (CAFC) River Cruise aboard Chicago’s First Lady. Both walking tours and the cruise have been popular options for Chicagoans and visitors eager to rediscover the beauty and inspiration of Chicago architecture.

“All CAC exhibits have been updated with new scale models of exciting architectural designs and we’ve created an all-new exhibit on cutting-edge, affordable, flexible home designs,” said Lynn Osmond, President and CEO of the CAC. “The new exhibit in the Chicago Gallery, Housing for a Changing Nation, highlights innovative architects who are creating homes for a diverse range of needs from live/work spaces to multigenerational families to cohousing.”

CAC EXHIBIT GALLERIES open May 22; Hours: 10m to 5pm, Thursday through Monday

The “Building Tall” exhibition in the Chicago Architecture Center’s Drake Family Skyscraper Gallery shows models of high-rise towers in the Windy City and around the world:
Drake Family Skyscraper Gallery Chicago building models
photo : James Steinkamp

THE CHICAGO GALLERY returns with new exhibits throughout.

• BRAND NEW FOR MAY 2021: Housing for a Changing Nation Exhibit is an entirely new installation, sponsored by AARP Illinois and the AARP Foundation, that explores how architects are replacing outdated 19th and 20th century housing with homes designed for fast-changing, diverse, multigenerational communities that need flexible, accessible and affordable housing:

o 100 YEAR LOT – a multi-generational home in Mexican and European influenced Pilsen by Canopy neighborhood splicing together a Chicago two-flat with a new two-story structure;

o MAKERS SPACE – a five-lot, live/work, micro-housing complex with shared community kitchen by Landon Bone Baker and retail marketplace and cottage-industry scaled workspace for South Chicago’s “maker” community;

o FLIP THE STRIP – strip malls and vacant storefronts transformed into flexible live/workspaces by UrbanLab—a contemporary update on the old concept of “living above the store”—for a new generation of small business entrepreneurs

o A NEW COURTYARD – a compact, pedestrian-orientated, affordable apartment building in Los Angeles that updates a familiar, sprawl-fighting California style by Brooks + Scarpa— a design that shares elements familiar to Chicagoans whose Chicago courtyard apartment buildings provided affordable housing to residents in the early 20th century.

• BRAND NEW FOR MAY 2021: The City in Change: Chicago Neighborhoods Exhibit introduces visitors to Chicagoans from some of the city’s 77 diverse, architecturally distinct and constantly changing communities.

• Chicago City Model Experience, featuring more than 4,250 buildings, returns with thirty new models of buildings under construction in 2020 and 2021—including St. Regis (Vista) Tower and Bank of America Building (110 North Wacker). Features a newly updated seven-minute video summarizing the city’s dynamic history, fascinating present and promising future.

• Current Chicago Projects Exhibit opens with new, cutting-edge Chicago projects and all new scale models.

The Chicago Architecture Center’s Drake Family Skyscraper Gallery exhibits a line of scale models along the windows, each of which was at one time the world’s tallest building:
Drake Family Skyscraper Gallery Chicago building models
photo : James Steinkamp

Projects include:

o 75th Street Boardwalk, The Nest, PopCourts! by ARC Community Design Initiative;
o Cabrini-Green Redevelopment by Gensler, JGMA and Studio Dwell;
o Steppenwolf Theatre Expansion by Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture;
o Auburn Gresham Healthy Lifestyle Hub by MKB Architects;
o The Obama Presidential Center by Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects Partners, Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates, Interactive Design Architects;
o Chicago Park District Headquarters and Park 596 by John Ronan Architects and site design group;
o Fulton East by Lamar Johnson Collaborative and Clayco;
o Tribune Tower Residences by Solomon Cordwell Buenz (renovation architect) and John Mead Howells and Raymond Hood (original architects);
o SURGE Esports Stadium & VR Arenas by KOO;
o KLEO Art Residences by JGMA;
o 800 Fulton by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM).

THE DRAKE FAMILY SKYSCRAPER GALLERY featuring “Building Tall” reopens with seven new scale models of towers from Bangkok, Chicago, New York, Taipei and Tianjin and other skyscrapers from around the world and “Race to the Top” featuring oversized scale models of skyscrapers that were each tallest in the world when built.

New scale models in the Skyscraper Gallery include:

o 1000M, Chicago, JAHN, est. 2022
o CTF Finance Centre, Tianjin, SOM, 2019
o King Power MahaNakhon, Bangkok, Büro Ole Scheeren, 2016
o NEMA Chicago, Rafael Viñoly Architects, 2019
o Sendero Verde, New York, Handel Architects, est. 2022
o Solstice on the Park, Chicago, Studio Gang, 2019
o Taipei 101, C.Y. Lee & Partners Architects / Planners, 2004

In April, the CAC rolled out its downtown and neighborhood CAC Walking Tours for Chicagoans eager to rediscover their city’s classic architecture and diverse neighborhoods. The popular, always changing walking tours and CAFC River Cruise are led by a corps of 400 expert CAC docents, who in June 2021 celebrate the 50th anniversary of the 1971 first CAC docent class.

CAFC RIVER CRUISES departures Thursday through Monday starting May 22

On April 17, the #1 boat tour in Chicago based on TripAdvisor user reviews and the only Chicago finalist for Best Boat Tour for USA Today’s 10Best Readers’ Choice Award, Chicago Architecture Foundation Center (CAFC) River Cruise aboard Chicago’s First Lady (CFL) launched its 2021 cruise season along Chicago River’s canyon of architecture. Led by CAC docents, guests will hear stories of the visionaries who have designed more than 50 architecturally significant buildings along the Chicago River as well as the Chicago Riverwalk and the 13 bascule bridges on the cruise route.

The 90-minute CAFC River Cruise is the most in-depth, authentic architecture river cruise available and is lauded as a “must-do” activity when visiting Chicago. Exciting new buildings with cutting edge design elements continue to rise along the river including the recently completed St. Regis (Vista) Tower, the city’s third tallest structure, and the refurbished riverfront Old Post Office. Tour guests will leave the cruise inspired by the city’s wide variety of architectural styles—– which glide by as you travel up and down all three branches of the Chicago River—including art deco, neoclassicism, mid-century modernism, and postmodernism.

Chicago’s First Lady’s luxury fleet is the finest on the Chicago River and now includes the new, brass and mahogany trimmed Chicago’s Emerald Lady. Full-service bars on board each vessel. Cruises will initially limit capacities following the guidelines from federal public health officials. As passenger vessels under federal jurisdiction, cruises follow the current federal face covering mandate. Reservations are recommended and tickets are available at

CAC WALKING TOURS departing from the CAC, Thursday through Monday starting May 22

Favorite Downtown CAC Walking Tours returned April 17 include:

– Art Deco Skyscrapers: The Loop Art Deco masterpieces built in Chicago’s financial district during the Roaring ’20s
– Chicago Architecture: A Walk Through Time Chicago’s early skyscrapers to supertall high rises
– Must See Chicago Chicago’s most famous buildings and more: Wrigley Building, Tribune Tower, Art Institute, Willis Tower
– Historic Treasures of Chicago’s Golden Age architectural landmarks of Michigan Avenue and State Street 1890 to 1930
– Chicago Icons: Connecting Past and Present see how architectural styes from the 1890s connect to today’s skyline
– Mid-Century Modern Skyscrapers Chicago’s modernist masters, Mies, Goldberg and Graham, set the stage for the modern city center
– Lights, Camera, Architecture! see architecture that starred in Ferris Bueller, Batman, the Blues Brothers and other films

Neighborhood CAC Walking Tours returned April 17 include:

– Fulton-Randolph Market 150-year evolution from food wholesaling and meatpacking to gourmet restaurants, technology hubs and boutique hotels
– Northwestern University Campus a stunning, wooded campus on Lake Michigan with 19th Century Collegiate Gothic to cutting-edge designs
– Kenwood the stately neighborhood, home to early industrialists, modern-day innovators and President Barack Obama
– Hyde Park home to the 1893 World’s Fair, the University of Chicago and Frank Lloyd Wright’s masterpiece, Robie House, pre-Chicago Fire houses and the famous Midway.
– Evanston Along the Lake one of Chicago’s most desirable suburbs, with many homes and churches with notable designs, where Daniel Burnham established his “country retreat”

Drake Family Skyscraper Gallery, Chicago Architecture Center, Illinois – Building Information

Drake Family Skyscraper Gallery images:

The Chicago Architecture Center’s spacious Drake Family Skyscraper Gallery reopens with seven new models on display, on loan from acclaimed design firms worldwide including

Chicago’s forthcoming 1000M by JAHN:
Chicago 1000M tower building design by JAHN
rendering courtesy of JAHN

King Power MahaNakhon in Bangkok, Thailand by Büro Ole Scheeren:
King Power MahaNakhon in Bangkok, Thailand
photo by Wison Tungthunya

NEMA Chicago by Rafael Viñoly Architects:
NEMA Chicago by Rafael Viñoly Architects
photo courtesy of Rafael Viñoly Architects

Taipei 101 by C.Y. Lee & Partners Architects / Planners:
Taipei 101 by C.Y. Lee & Partners Architects / Planners
photo courtesy of the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Chicago

Sendero Verde in East Harlem, New York City:
Sendero Verde in East Harlem, New York City
rendering by Volley, courtesy of Handel Architects

Chicago Architecture Center (CAC) images / information received 250521

Location: Chicago, IL, United States

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