Skip to: Content


Posts Tagged ‘Architecture’

Open House Chicago: A View Behind Closed Doors

Monday, October 20th, 2014

The 4th annual Open House Chicago event kicked off this past weekend, giving casual visitors and architecture lovers the ability to visit over 100 buildings across the city. From visiting old mansions to cultural villages, there was definitely something for everyone to enjoy.  Nearly 55,000 people from around the world visited the two day event last year.  An interesting aspect of Open House Chicago is that the many of these treasured buildings have not been seen by the public for almost 50 years. Open House Chicago allows you to go back in history through our great buildings of Chicago. Here we highlighted a few of our favorite buildings that opened its doors this weekend.


Allerton Hotel: Now named the “Warwick Allerton Hotel”, was built in 1922 (opened in 1924) and has hosted some big names, such as Frank Sinatra, Fran Allison and Bing Crosby. The building stands 25- stories high in the North Side community area of Chicago. In 1998 the building was named a Chicago Landmark and soon after was closed as restoration work started. As new ownership has taken over there are plans for further renovations that may include reopening the “Tip Top Tap” which was once famous for its signature drink, the now popular “Moscow mule”.

Blackstone Renaissance Hotel: The Blackstone Renaissance Hotel, built between 1908 and 1901 is a prime example of the turn of the century architecture that makes Chicago so unique. The hotel is a neoclassical Beaux-Arts style building, and is named after the Timothy Blackstone. Blackstone was the president of Chicago and Alton Railroad and his mansion once stood on the Blackstone’s current location. Dubbed the “Hotel of Presidents” it was a place where the nation’s and Chicago’s political elite would stay during their visit to the city.Kemper

Kemper Building: At the time of construction, it was the tallest marble office building of its kind and it still remains one of the tallest buildings in Chicago. The Kemper Building is most noted for it’s 360-degree observation deck on the 41st floor. Beautiful views all around of the Chicago River and other major Chicago landmarks make this building a favorite among those that take part in Open House Chicago.  The observational deck was previous closed for 40 years until it was reopened in 2012 for the Open House Chicago.

The large variety of architectural and cultural experiences that people have is what makes Chicago unique and has been the driving force for making Open House Chicago a success. Burnham is proud to be able to work with the architecture firms and building owners that continue to build our great city.

Related Posts:

AIA Chicago Foundation Member Chris Chwedyk Awards Student Projects

Monday, August 12th, 2013

As a board member and Secretary of the AIA Chicago Foundation, Chris Chwedyk recently participated in the jury for the 2013 Chicago Award in Architecture Competition.

The Chicago Award in Architecture is open to 4th and 5th year student projects completed during the 2012-2013 school year. Recognition is given, at the jury’s discretion, for First, Second, and Third Place and for Honorable Mentions. The student awarded First Place receives a cash gift, known as the Benn-Johnck Award, in the amount of $500. Presentation of awards will take place at the AIA Chicago annual meeting and holiday party in early December.

For more information, please visit the AIA website here


Related Posts:

Self Certification Traning Class

Tuesday, June 28th, 2011

Good Afternoon All! The City of Chicago has updated the class schedule for Self Certification Training Classes.  We know how important it is to you to keep your training current and wanted to share.

Per the City of the Chicago Website:


Self-Certification Training Class October 26-28, 2011

April 15, 2011
The following changes were made to the Self-Certification Training Class enrollment application criteria in response to industry demand:


  1. IL licensed architects who have been licensed for a minimum of 3 years and have acted as the architect of record or the project architect on at least 8 projects in the City of Chicago can now apply to enroll in the Self-Certification Training Class. Refer the requirements in Section V: Professional Experience on the Self-Certification Training Class Enrollment Application.
  2. Professional engineers and unlicensed design professionals are now welcome to audit the Self-Certification Training Class for a reduced fee of $1,200.00. Attendees auditing the class will receive a certificate of attendance stating 21 HSW contact hours but will not receive Self-Certification registration or eligibility.”This three-day training program 2011 class schedule is:

    October 26, 27, 28, 2011

    • Please note:The Self-Certification Training Class time/dates for 2011 are 8:30am to 4:30pm on Wednesday,Thursday and Friday, and the class is limited to 27 attendees per class. The Self-Certification Training class will explain the rules and procedures of the Self-Certification program. The class will demonstrate how plan examinations are performed and highlight the critical aspects of each disipline review. The class will also include a mock plan examination exercise with actual plan examiners.
  3. Upon completing the course, attendees will receive a Self-Certification Registration Number and be eligible to participate in the Self-Certification Permit program.This class will provide 21 HSW contact hours of continuing education.To be considered for enrollment into the Self-Certification Training class, candidates must complete the Self-Certification Application.Once your completed application has been received, the Self-Certification director will review the application. Following the review the applicant will receive a status of their enrollment via telephone or email. Download the application by clicking below and mail to:Self-Cert Training Class, Attn: Vince Fontana
    Dept. of Buildings
    120 N Racine
    Chicago, IL 60607

    Please note: Enrollment must be confirmed by the Department of Buildings’ representative.

    For more information, please call (312) 743-7039.


Related Posts:

Burnham and Wright: The Best of Both Worlds

Tuesday, March 29th, 2011

By Chris Chwedyk

Frank Lloyd Wright started his first office out of his home in Oak Park in 1898. For several years, this Home and Studio has served as both a tourist attraction and as the central office of the Frank Lloyd Wright Preservation Trust. When Mary Ellen and I lived down the block on Forest Avenue, she became a volunteer at the Home and Studio, eventually becoming a Research Captain for two homes on the Wright Plus Tours, an annual event in May.

When we left Oak Park and purchased a small co-op unit in Hyde Park, I felt it was only fitting that I start volunteering at Robie House, the second of the Preservation Trust’s sites, on the campus of the University of Chicago. I was trained last summer and have been giving House tours since September.

When Frank Lloyd Wright opened his office in Oak Park, he realized that he also needed a downtown presence to be accessible to more clients. Wright chose the Rookery Building as the site of his Chicago office, located at 209 South LaSalle Street. In 1905 Wright remodeled the lobby spaces — striking a balance between Burnham and Root’s original ironwork and ornamentation with his own Prairie style concepts. The Rookery is Wright’s only executed solo project in the Loop, after leaving Adler & Sullivan in 1893.

 This past December, the Frank Lloyd Wright Preservation Trust opened a public information center, as well as administrative offices for the not-for-profit’s development, membership, events, communications, and guest relations divisions. On April 1, the Trust will begin offering free tours of selected areas of The Rookery and later this Spring will open a “ShopWright” gift store 

Alex Westa and I assisted staff architect Karen Sweeney obtain approval for what should have been a very simple permit for installing Steelcase full-height partitions to add a conference room. Unfortunately, there is no good process in Chicago for obtaining a permit to do this work without going through the Standard Plan Review. So, of course, the plans got bogged down with some corrections. Karen states that, during the process, “Burnham was very professional, kept us continuously up to date and were very responsive. They were very helpful with their knowledge of how the City Permit process works.”

 In the end, Karen sailed through the Open Plan Review and she received the permit one day before the contractor showed up to build the room. Although Burnham waived our usual fee for this work, we know that we helped in some small way in making the Trust’s new home at the Rookery that much more functional, and assisted in their work to showcase one of Daniel Burnham’s greatest Chicago buildings.

Check out the Wright Angles newsletter at

Related Posts:

"Burnham is a first-rate operation. I rely on them to coordinate many of the permit-related tasks that I am too busy to do myself. I draw on their knowledge on changing municipal requirements, proactive problem solving and would definitely recommend them to others."
Rich Neubauer,
"I've had great success with Burnham for permit expediting, and recently learned they offer code consulting. They are great in meetings and provide excellent reports supported by detailed research and experience. I will use them whenever I have code issues on a project."
Jeff Kennedy,
Centaur Construction
"I like Burnham because their response time is terrific. They're professional with a systematic approach and solid corporate infrastructure - and their web-based system shows me exactly what is happening with my permits at all times."
Tom McCloskey,
The Related Companies, L.P.
"Working with Burnham makes the best use of my resources. It would be too costly for me to have staff who know as much as they do about the permit process."
Mike Moravek,
The John Buck Company
"Burnham is always a vital part of our Project Team. Their level of service and professionalism far surpasses their competition. The first call I make when a new project comes in is to Burnham."
Gregg Navins,
OMARA Organization, Inc
"We have tried other permit services in the past but only Burnham delivers the level of detail, follow through and accountability necessary to be successful in today's complex permit acquisition arena."
Dave Morgan,
The Body Shop
"Speed and efficiency are paramount, we aren't looking for just another layer of project management. Burnham gets the process due to their strong knowledge of jurisdictional requirements, and excellent working relationships with municipal staffs."
Glenn D. Middleton,
Design Forum
"We have come to rely heavily on Burnham's expertise... they have developed a professional consulting practice that we are proud to be associated with."
Michael T Clune,
Clune Construction Company