Liah from Chicago!

What do you like about Liah?

I like that I have cool clothes. I can do the monkey bars and skip one monkey bar. I like that my brain gives me great ideas.

What do you like about architecture?

I like my daddy's building because it's really tall (200 S. Wacker). I like buildings that have windows that reflect the blue in the sky.  It makes them look blue. I like how you can see the offices in all of the tall buildings and how they all have their own windows.  My dad showed me a picture of the Spire (that was going to be built along the river). I like it because it looks wiggly and I want it to be a real building that people work in. Especially my dad.

What do you want to work on?

Listening to directions.

. . . . .

Dearest Archie Architecture,

How embarrassed am I to tell you that I have not been to Chicago yet.  

Please forgive me friend. At 28 yrs young, I definitely haven't been able to fit it all in. However, I can tell you that I am excited to cruise the Chicago River and see your beautiful city, not to mention dine at Charlie Trotters, Frontera Grill & Tru.

Yet Archie, what I do know is that without a doubt, in the realm of architecture, I am a sucker for some Spanish Colonial Revival. Furthermore my dear friend, let me share with you that my knees get weak as I approach 1100 Anacapa Street which is home to the Santa Barbara Courthouse.       
The SB courthouse occupies an entire city block and was built in 1929 after an earthquake had leveled much of the city. This gorgeous courthouse is surrounded by gardens & lawns. Details like the gorgeous hanging light fixtures truly encapsulate the history and create wonderful timely touches. Just when you think you've had enough, the murals inside the courtrooms and the bell tower elevate you to a whole other level. The murals show the rich history of California while the Bell Tower shows off the dramatic views of what can truly be described as one of the most beautiful cities in the country.

Archie, the excitement that the SB Courthouse evokes is the same giddiness I feel when I approach a California Mission. I am a history nerd so the mixture of history & culture draw me in.  The sight, the smell of the old adobe & stucco and clay....they cast a spell...and sometimes, if i close my eyes, I'm transported back.  That's the magic of California's architectural gems, the history they hold.  Have you ever seen a girl swoon over an arch or a doorway?  Oh Archie, come see me in California.....wonderful things await you ; )


Luz-Maria from San Diego

 . . . . .

I have a handful of friends in Chicago who are, in my mind, Architecture "experts".  They've trained at a place called the Chicago Architecture Foundation, which is a great organization that offers architecture tours, programs for kids and adults, great Chicago and architecture-related merchandise, and even a school curriculum (on Architecture, of course)!


My friend Huette Kaplan is a docent there.  A docent is a person who volunteers as a tour guide at places like museums (or Architecture Foundations).  Huette has given many tours in her many years as a docent.  I once took her tour of the old Marshall Field's Building on State Street.  It was a great time!


I asked Huette to share some thoughts on her favorite Chicago buildings.  So without any further ado, here are Huette's words:


"I am a native-born Chicagoan and I love this city and being a docent for the Chicago Architecture Foundation.  How lucky I am to be able to show off the city's world-class, outstanding architecture and history to other Chicagoans, suburbanites and tourists from the U.S. and the world.  I never cease to be awestruck at the beauty of this special city. And, tourists share that feeling.


As a docent, I am a member of one of the most respected volunteer groups in the world.  My colleagues and I have varying backgrounds, though we we all share the commonality of love and appreciation of Chicago.  


Tourees often ask me what my favorite building and/or tour is.  And, frankly, it is difficult to single out any one in either category.


Every Chicago skyscraper contributes its distinctive profile to the dramatic skyline that is Chicago.  All of our tours reveal Chicago's splendid architecture and rich history and so I'll cite a few favorite tours and favorite buildings seen on them.


By boat, our river cruise is the best in the U.S  It is 90 minutes of at least 50 sites and buildings.  It's a tour I don't give, but which I've taken many times.  When I have out-of-town guests it is a must on the to-do list. The gleaming facade of 333 W. Wacker  is one of the most exciting buildings on the tour.  Its energy-efficient green-glass curtain wall reflects the river, the sky, and the surrounding buildings.


By bus, it's the Devil in the White City Companion Bus Tour.  Like millions of of readers, I read The Devil and the White City--and I loved it!  This tour (another I don't give) complements Erik Larson's best seller.


By land and on foot, I have two favorite tours, both of which I give.  The first is Historic Downtown (north loop)Treasures of Culture and Commerce.  This tour visits buildings from the late 19th century and early decades of the 20th.  It focuses on two major streets:  Michigan Avenue and State Street. These streets and some historic buildings on them explore innovative designs for commercial and cultural use.  Favorites buildings on this tour:  Art Institute of  Chicago,  Chicago Cultural Center and the Sullivan Center (formerly Carson Pirie Scott ). 


The second favorite is Millennium Park Revealed.  This cultural landmark and people's park is pure delight with its permanent structures - Cloud Gate (The Bean), Crown Fountains, Pritzker Pavillion, The Peristyle, Harris Theater and Lurie Gardens.  How much fun it is to see butterflies, nesting blackbirds, squirrels, and rabbits inhabiting this crowded, downtown environment.  My favorite here...Cloud Gate.


What's my favorite Chicago building?  Wow, that's tough, too.  The Wrigley Building  (1919-24) was the first major hi-rise building north of the Michigan Avenue Bridge.  Its cream-white terra cotta facade is striking and it welcomes visitors as they cross the bridge, heading north on Michigan Avenue.


But Number One, would have to be the Romanesque-style Rookery (1895), featuring masonry load-bearing walls and skeletal frame construction.  The lobby is a gem, too-- a square, central light court, cantilevered, cast iron staircase from the second floor to the top, and a grand staircase from the lobby to the second floor.


Chicago's architecture offers something for everyone.  I invite you to take part in the ongoing adventure that is Chicago.  To quote Mark Twain, 'Chicago is always a novelty, for she is never the Chicago you saw when you passed through the last time.'"  -Huette Kaplan


 . . . . .

Name: Joshua S.
City: Chino Hills, California
Age: 6

What is your favorite city?

My favorite is...tall buildings. San Diego. And Chicago. And San Francisco.

Why are they your favorites?

Because I'm excited to go there.

What do you like to do at school?

I like to play with my friends Justin, Dakota, Zoe, Jose, Sydney, Priscilla, and Aidan.

What do you like to do when you are not at school?

I like to have a sleepover. And play with Grandpa. And I like to go to bed. I like getting presents. And coloring. Playing with my toys. My favorite toys are monster trucks and trains. And cranes.

What are your favorite foods?

Chicken, french fries, hamburgers, hot dogs, potatoes, quesadillas, turkey, bread, carrots, and vegetables.

What do you like to draw?

Buildings, monsters, dinosaurs, snakes, lions, tigers, monster trucks, cars, blocks.

What makes you happy?

Playing with my toys. Having Christmas. Playing with my Daddy. Playing with Grandpa. Taking a nap. Playing with Jeffrey. Going to school. And that's it.


. . . . .

My Friend's Name: Rong N.

Current City: Whittier (L.A.) California    
Occupation: Fashion Designer and Entrepreneur!

What Rong Loves About Chicago: That each beautiful building has a history behind each design. I miss the city already and can't wait to get back there. I love the homes out there too! So unique.  Reminded me of San Francisco. I can't single out one type of architecture as my favorite. It all amazes me.
. . . . .

Meet my friend Jacob!

Jacob is 5 yrs. old.  He lives in Oak Park, Illinois, a western suburb of Chicago--and a place where many buildings were designed by architect Frank Lloyd Wright.  

Jacob is in pre-school and will start kindergarten in the fall.  He loves school, the library, his dog, Louie (a Basenji), and his family.  His favorite foods are hot dogs, elbow macaroni, strawberries, and the vanilla filling in Oreo cookies.  He loves to watch anything with Thomas the Train, "Babe," and "10l Dalmatians."