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 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.
By: Kiran Balan of Burnham Nationwide