Architecture tour offers sneak peek into hidden Chicago
Architecturally savvy people — or those of us who are just a little nosey — can tour sites that are usually off-limits to the public this Saturday and Sunday.
“There's no standard experience here,” said Bastiaan Bouma, the managing director of Open House Chicago. “Every one is unique. Every site is unique.”
Bouma says the tours go far beyond Chicago’s downtown by showcasing changing demographics and points of interest in its far-flung neighborhoods.
In the North Lawndale area, people can go into the former Sears, Roebuck & Co. tower where WLS-AM (World’s Largest Store) used to broadcast. They also can walk by the old Sears Administration Building. In its heyday, it sent out about 35,000 mail-orders a day.
Participants will also have the chance to check out LEED-certified buildings and sustainable designs by following a tour circuit called The Green Trail.
The free tours are self-guided, and people can build their own itineraries online at Open House Chicago’s website. Shuttles run between neighborhood hubs.
This is the first year for Open House Chicago, which was modeled after similar events in other cities.
It’s organized by the Chicago Architecture Foundation. Organizers hope to attract at least 50,000 people, and make this an annual event.