Look up, Chicago

One of the best things about Chicago is its architecture.

Truthfully, it's safe to say most of us become accustomed to architecture very quickly. It becomes part of the background. We hurry from the train to work, from work to lunch, and back home every day. We have amazing pocket computers ("phones") that keep us occupied as we dart from place to place. We rush forward on crowded sidewalks, seeing the Subways and Chases at street level, but never really looking up.

My dad is a designer with a degree in architecture. Growing up, he made me and my siblings aware of buildings, colors, and designs. He inspired within us an appreciation for a type of beauty you don't find while reading a book quietly or browsing an art gallery or garden. Architecture so big you can actually enter it to experience its inner beauty.

Ayn Rand–the controversial Objectivist author often confused for a libertarian–was fond of architecture and architects, which led her to write The Fountainhead. Rand was a fan of Frank Lloyd Wright with whom she shared an early manuscript of The Fountainhead to solicit his comments. Wright then became a fan of Rand.

Rand appreciated architecture because she viewed it as a visual representation of human will. That's important. But architecture is also important because it creates the immediate, visceral representation of a city. It provides a city's skyline and sense of place. It creates both civic controversy and pride.

Although I also like using my beloved iPhone while moving on the sidewalk, I have lately chosen to put it away while walking to appointments or from the office (taking it out only for a snapshot). I am fortunate to live in River North, so my walk to my West Loop office is just about a mile. It's an easy walk, where I see many of the same things every day.

Lately, I've taken some pictures of things that struck me as I looked. Usually these things wouldn't be too remarkable, which is why I would usually overlook them. But the more I pay attention, the more extraordinary they appear. Somebody designed them, somebody created them. They reflect a snapshot in time.

Here are a few shots I've taken downtown in the last week or so.


Filed under: Chicago institutions

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