Walkabout Tuesday: City Walks Chicago

The Loop Architectural Walk

Home to countless design marvels, Chicago has broken new ground architecturally for more than a century. This overview points out some of the Loop’s highlights.

Bus: 156. El: Quincy (Brown, Orange lines).

Begin at W. Randolph Street and N. La Salle Street at the James R. Thompson Center (1; 100 W. Randolph Street). The design of this controversial building, with its unusual sloping glass façade, was unprecedented when it was erected in the 1980s. Enter to view the soaring rotunda. Out front is Jean Dubuffet’s renowned sculpture Monument with Standing Beast. Head east to N. Dearborn Street to view the relatively diminutive, ornate Delaware Building (2; 36 W. Randolph Street), the oldest building in the Loop. Continue one block, turning right on N. State Street at the massive Marshall Field’s building (3; #111). Although now a Macy’s, Marshall Field’s was a beloved Chicago institution dating back to1853. The jewel in its crown is the ceiling’s Tiffany Dome, the largest glass mosaic of its kind. On the next block you’ll spy the terra-cotta Reliance Building (4; W. Washington Street), an icon of the Chicago school of architecture. Continue south to the Carson Pirie Scott Building (5; 1 S. State Street), a Louis Sullivan building famous for its elaborate entrance. Turn right on W. Madison Street and left on S. Dearborn Street to cross through the plaza (6) south of the First National Bank of Chicago, a relatively new building with a curved façade. Turn left on N. Clark Street, right onto W. Monroe Drive, and south on N. Franklin Street to get to Sears Tower (7; 233 S. Wacker Drive).

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© 200 Christina Henry de Tessan
Maps © 2007 by Bart Wright

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