Open House Chicago is the annual event organized by the Chicago Architecture Foundation in which over 200 buildings in various neighborhoods and communities of Chicago are opened to the public for free. In most cases, the “behind-the-scenes” activities of many tenants in the buildings are open for the public to see. We started with three buildings on Randolph St., then two on Michigan Ave., then two in the La Salle Canyon in the Loop and ended up in the Chicago Temple, also in the Loop.
Frequent photowalk buddy, Mark Marshall and I were at the Aon Center first (we were the first one to show up there, they were not even ready for the deluge). We planned to shoot the sunrise first before hitting the Open House, but it turned out to be an overcast day, so we arrived about twenty minutes before opening. Just like the previous years, they opened the 71st floor with a commanding view of Millennium and Grant Parks, albeit blanketed with low lying clouds.
From the Aon Center, we headed next door to the BCBS building. The view is the same as in the Aon but from a lower floor – the 30th floor and clearer because it was below the cloud cover. From there, we ended the Randolph Street leg of the walk on the deck of the One Prudential Plaza.
We then headed to anything open on Michigan Ave. On the avenue, we hit the Pritzker Military Library and Museum and then the Cliff Dwellers, a private club with a restaurant overlooking Michigan Ave.
Then on to lunch. At this time, it was pouring and I was very wet despite the plastic poncho I was wearing.
But we planned to see more buildings in the loop so we headed out there, first to the Wintrust Bank where they opened the no longer used bank vault in the basement. We were about to end our walk, but since we were there, and the Federal Bank of Chicago was just across the street, we decided to see what’s in the offing. I am glad that we went – they opened the money museum and got to see how much a million bucks look like!
We heard from people that the River Walk was flooded and we wanted to see that -. We started to walk from the La Salle Canyon to the river but somehow on our way there, we decided to just skip it and go home. So heading back to the Aon Center where Mark’s truck was parked, we passed by the Chicago Temple on Washington and Clark – and decided to check it out. It wasn’t that much. We climbed up 178 steps to the chapel in the sky, supposedly the highest place of worship, at least in North America, but didn’t stay long as it was too stuffy up there.
After that, we called it a day.