Hidden Architecture Revealed at Open House Chicago

I attended Open House Chicago for the first time this year. I don’t know why I haven’t gone sooner. It’s such a great opportunity to go out and see parts of Chicago you’d never normally get to see. Sure, there are the standard sites like the Sears, I mean Willis Tower, or Hancock building — but there are also great gems that are normally closed to the public. The first site on my trek was The Yale Building, (pictured below) “This seven-story Richardsonian-Romanesque building originally offered luxury apartments for visitors to the World’s Columbian Exposition of 1893″ and was renovated in 2003 into senior living apartments. The light filled atrium and hanging vines wowed me as I tried to imagine what it would have been like living there 130 years ago. I went next to the Stony Island Arts Bank. “The gray terra cotta structure, originally the Stony Island Savings and Trust, was built in 1923 with a dramatic vaulted banking lobby” (pictured above). Thankfully, Theaster Gates saved this building from demolition and has filled it with arts and culture treasures, one of which is the library of the Ebony and Jet magazines – pictured below. I ended my tour at the Coastland residences. This 1920’s “13-story building is in the Renaissance Revival style,” was built literally on Lake Michigan. Landfill from the excavation of the water pumping station expanded the lot and allowed the building to have its own private beach. As luck would have it some the residents opened up their Co-ops and revealed their stunning views of the lake. Open House Chicago was a great way to explore a neighborhood I seldom visit and I consequently fell in love with architecture all over again!

-Dominic Garascia