Frank Fisher apartments

You can tell it’s fall when the calendar starts to fill up with must-do events. Here are four that should interest people intrigued by Chicago architecture and real estate.

• On Thursday night, October 4, the Encyclopedia Show, which bills itself as a “live variety extravaganza,” looks at the race to build the tallest skyscrapers. Participants will include Juan Betancur of Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture, which has designed supertall skyscrapers around the world; Emma Coleman, a Northside College Prep poetry slammer; and others. The event’s at 7:30 pm at the Vittum Theater, 1012 North Noble Street. Tickets are $9, or $6 for students.

• On Saturday, October 6, Chicago Dramatists is doing a staged reading of the latest draft of American Home, Stephanie Walker’s play about the foreclosure crisis. It’s a sharp and poignant script by someone who has actually been through foreclosure. Tickets to the 2 p.m. reading are $5. The theater is at 1105 West Chicago Avenue.

• Next weekend, October 13 and 14, Open House Chicago provides an all-access pass to dozens of Chicago’s architectural treasures. The Chicago Architecture Foundation lines up tours of the city’s familiar and unfamiliar architectural gems, including some distinctive homes and residential buildings. (Among them are the Frank Fisher apartments, pictured above right.) All tours are free, and no reservations are needed.

• Throughout October, Highland Park is celebrating the works of John Van Bergen, the prolific architect who built more than 50 homes in the town (as well as other buildings) in the first half of the 20th century. Van Bergen Month includes an ongoing exhibit at the local historical society; an October 14 panel discussion of Prairie-style architecture at the Highland Park Public Library; and a self-guided driving or biking tour. On October 21, there’s a house tour of five homes by Van Bergen, including one where is granddaughter still lives. Go to for more information. Tickets for the house tour are $35. The Highland Park Historical Society has posted a video that makes a good introduction to the sometimes-overlooked Van Bergen.