Chicago | Through the Lens of an Architect

I believe that photography can be a tool to understand architecture!

As an architecture and landscape architecture student, I have always wanted to visit Chicago to study various buildings, differing in architectural styles and as developed by inspirational designers like Frank Llyod Wright (FLW), Mies Van Der Rohe (MVDR), Frank Gehry.  

The first stroll through the city was to find the Lake shore Apartments by MVDR in front of the great Lake Michigan.  The stunningly crisp glass with black steel structures was exactly what I was looking for in the building.  The precise use of Grid in the plan, in addition to the elevation where the sight resides; I could study this design expression for hours.  Later on in my journey, I discovered some resemblance of the inspiring Miesian style in Chicago’s skyline that never fails to capture and slow down moving and wondering eyes.  The Crown Hall at the Illinois Institute of Chicago was able to provide the same perception with the eyes moving horizontally.

During the second day of my visit, I learned more about FLW’s “Prairie” style of architecture that received its inspiration from the expansive Midwest landscape.  From the intentional brick size, to the roof overhangs of the Robie House, you cannot help but appreciate the horizontally expanding lines.  The grounded Robie House, designed for a human height of 5’7” (FLW and owner), certainly can make a 6’2” tall person (like me!) feel a bit squeezed; yet the massing and movement throughout the house is what awes you!  The FLW house and studio was yet another commitment to the stunning elevation.

Chicago’s river tour, as it passed by the Chicago Architecture Center, presented all of the highlights that Chicago’s architecture can offer.  Learning the history of the Chicago’s skyline and how it has evolved over time, from the ArtDeco style buildings, to the modern skyscraper (most of which has been designed by SOM) was an enriching complement to this design-filled journey.

In contrast to its stark contrast, Frank Gehry’s Deconstructivism is screaming out to the city as it exists in Millennium Park.  This renowned Park extends a distinct vibe in relation to all that the City has to offer!