What’s That Building? Open House Chicago

The atrium of the Yale Building in Chicago’s Englewood neighborhood. Today the building offers affordable housing for seniors, but it was originally built to house visitors to the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition.
The atrium of the Yale Building in Chicago's Englewood neighborhood. Today the building offers affordable housing for seniors, but it was originally built to house visitors to the 1893 World's Columbian Exposition. Eric Allix Rogers / Courtesy of Open House Chicago
The atrium of the Yale Building in Chicago’s Englewood neighborhood. Today the building offers affordable housing for seniors, but it was originally built to house visitors to the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition.
The atrium of the Yale Building in Chicago's Englewood neighborhood. Today the building offers affordable housing for seniors, but it was originally built to house visitors to the 1893 World's Columbian Exposition. Eric Allix Rogers / Courtesy of Open House Chicago

What’s That Building? Open House Chicago

This weekend, Chicagoans will have a chance to look inside more than 200 buildings that are usually closed to the public as part of Open House Chicago, a project facilitated by the Chicago Architecture Foundation.

“It’s an opportunity for visitors to get out, see their neighborhood, see places that they’ve been curious about, and also neighborhoods that they’re not usually exploring,” Garrett Karp of the Chicago Architecture Foundation told Morning Shift.

Don’t have time to wander through all 200 doors? Karp and Crain’s Chicago Business real estate reporter Dennis Rodkin shared a list of highlights:

The Yale Building was originally one of three similar designs, which included the Brewster Building in Lincoln Park. (Eric Allix Rogers/Courtesy of Open House Chicago)

Yale Building

6565 S. Yale Ave. in Englewood

Built in 1892, this building originally was a place for visitors to the World’s Columbian Exposition of 1893.

“It looks kind of like you’re in the French Quarter in New Orleans,” Karp said.

Today, the apartment building serves as affordable housing for seniors.

A peek inside St. Benedict the African Roman Catholic Church, the design of which is inspired by traditional African huts.  (Eric Allix Rogers/Courtesy of Open House Chicago)

St. Benedict the African Roman Catholic Church

340 W. 66th St in Englewood

While the entire church — which was named for a slave who followed St. Francis of Assisi — won’t be open for viewing, Rodkin said the sanctuary alone is worth it.

“It’s an amazing space,” he said. “You actually feel as if you’re in some sort of desert village worshipping.”

The 71st floor of the Aon Building is still a raw space, and not rented out, which is why it's been an Open House Chicago staple. (Garrett Karp/Courtesy of Open House Chicago)

Aon Center

200 E. Randolph St. Downtown

This 83-floor building is the third tallest building in Chicago, which makes it a popular Open House destination. Last year, Karp said about 10,000 visitors took a trip up to the 71st floor, which offers a better view than the top floor anyway.

“When you’re up on [the top floor] you don’t see quite as much [as] when you’re down in the 60 to 80 range,” he said. “It’s a really great view since you’re closer to Grant Park, Millennium Park and the lakefront and the confluence of the Chicago River.”