Stephen Rees's blog

Thoughts about the relationships between transport and the urban area it serves

Chicago: River Cruise

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The Chicago Architecture Foundation Centre (now known as the Chicago Architecture Center) offers a guided tour by boat along the Chicago River. The guide was a retired architect – and a volunteer – who talked throughout the tour about 90 minutes. “More than 450 Chicagoans volunteer to be CAC docents, extensively trained guides who are certified to lead architecture tours.” There are other tours offered by other companies but the general consensus seems to be that these are the best on offer. Of course I wasn’t taking notes but I did keep the pamphlet from which most of the quotes in this post are taken. You can also take the tour by using Streetsview on Google Maps.

Chicago Architects' Boat Tour

River Point (2017: 52 storeys) at the confluence

Chicago Architects' Boat Tour

The second photo taken closer to the building to show the lower levels. “The building sits back from rail tracks concealed in a tunnel on top of which is a public park.”

Chicago Architects' Boat Tour

The Merchandise Mart (1930) “designed by Graham, Anderson, Probst & White, was originally conceived as a distribution center for Marshall Field & Company” Art Deco

Chicago Architects' Boat Tour

600 West (1908) Warehouse for Montgomery Ward designed by Schmidt, Garden and Martin

Chicago Architects' Boat Tour

The Civic Opera Building (designed by Graham, Anderson, Probst & White) turns its back to the river: when constructed in the 1920s the river was for transportation and not regarded as an amenity. This is now changing with a variety of treatments to the waterfront to improve pedestrian access.

Chicago Architects' Boat Tour

Another Bertrand Holberg building – designer of Marina City – at the far end of the tour.

Chicago Architects' Boat Tour

Willis Tower 1974 (formerly Sears Tower) Skidmore, Owens & Merrill for 24 years the world’s tallest building “Bundled tube” construction

Chicago Architects' Boat Tour

This building did not get a mention on the tour: it is the Reid-Murdoch Building.

Chicago Architects' Boat Tour

Marina City 1967 Bertrand Holberg – a multi-use complex with residential condos over parking, a marina, restaurant, theatre, shops and a hotel.

Chicago Architects' Boat Tour

Lake Point Tower 1968

Designed by Schipporeit and Heinrich. The City has now decreed that no more high towers will be permitted east of Lake Shore Drive.

The boat turned back here in front of the locks which are designed to prevent too much lake water being drained to the Mississippi.


Written by Stephen Rees

October 26, 2018 at 10:51 am

Posted in architecture

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