Chicago Architecture Center’s Open House Chicago is just around the corner. The latest edition of the popular event, which invites participants to check out dozens of architectural treasures around the city, takes place this Saturday, October 13 and Sunday, October 14. Drawing more than 90,000 attendees in 2017, the free program is a must for fans of Chicago architecture. Highlights this year include sites in Austin and Beverly — neighborhoods that are making their Open House Chicago debut — as well as some stunning new skyscrapers.
Planning for the event is an annual ritual for Open House Chicago loyalists, who pore over maps, photos, and descriptions of each site to draft a weekend checklist. It can be difficult to narrow the list down, but Open House Chicago program manager Eric Rogers helped us choose some of the best new buildings to visit.
Bush Temple of Music
Steeped in history, this ornate French Renaissance landmark in the Gold Coast was dormant for decades until development firm Cedar Street Cos. overhauled it to create new residences. Formerly the home of the Bush & Gerts piano company and then later the Bush Conservatory of Music, this historic Chicago site retains much of its original architectural details in the lobby. Rogers notes that Open House Chicago will be “one of the first opportunities from the public to see inside this building that was mothballed for so long.”
Solstice on the Park
Having only recently welcomed its very first residents, the Studio Gang-designed apartment building makes its Open House Chicago debut this weekend. One of the city’s most architecturally striking high-rises, the 26-story Hyde Park newcomer boasts sweeping views and contemporary finishes and amenities. Open House visitors will have an opportunity to explore the ground-level spaces over the weekend.
Old Main Post Office
While the Art Deco behemoth is still mostly under construction, Open House Chicago visitors can glimpse the building’s restored main lobby. Note that this site is only available to Chicago Architecture Center members and volunteers, though Rogers suggests that those who purchase a CAC membership instantly get a priority access pass that can be used through the weekend.
465 North Park
One of the latest entries in the fast-developing Streeterville skyline is 465 North Park, a 535-foot-tall residence with curving glass walls that offers luxury amenities and sweeping views of the city. The tower’s sixth-floor deck will be open to visitors this weekend, and you can discuss its design with architects from its lead design firm, Chicago’s Pappageorge Haymes Partners.
Stewart School Lofts
Just one of the many former public schools shuttered by the city in 2013, the old Graeme Stewart Elementary School in Uptown is now upscale housing. Designed by noted Chicago architect Dwight H. Perkins and built in 1905, the former school was earmarked for closure due to declining enrollment and deteriorating conditions. Rogers highlights the landmark site for its unique Arts & Crafts facade and the quality of the interior residential renovation.