The day's architectural forecast: Much cooler by the lake

August 2, 2012

One of the cool things about living in a three-sided city is there is nothing east of downtown — or the North Side or much of the South Side — to block views of that magnificent skyline.
 
But as good as those views are, seeing the city from the lake itself is even better. From the lake, the city erupts from the shoreline; a staggering display of skyscrapers and tall buildings that, from that vantage point, seems to run uninterrupted from 31st Street to Hollywood Avenue.

In the above photo, the Willis Tower is visible to the left. And Trump Tower can be seen in the middle of the picture. The forest of tall buildings is also quite deep: There are skyscrapers behind skyscrapers. Look at this view taken in 1940 from almost the same spot. The younger Chicago looks kind of puny by comparison:

In the foreground of the photo below, a young woman reads a book while sitting on a pier as masts and lamppoles reach skyward around her. The 62-story One Museum Park at Roosevelt and Columbus is in the near center of the picture. In the background haze, the tower looks as if it were plucked from one of those future cities dioramas Norman Bel Geddes used to design back in the 1930s and 1940s. The building, completed in 2010, was designed by Pappageorge Haymes Ltd:

You get out far enough on the lake and the city and its architecture fall away rather quickly as attention is focused on the tranquil, distant horizon to the east:

Out of sight, but not of mind, however, is the way sky, water and architecture commune to create one physically impressive city.