Sunday, August 14, 2011

chicago: day one

Slowly but surely I am sorting through all the photos taken during our trip to Chicago. Our first day of exploring was Friday where Kurt, our host Justin (who luckily had the day off), and I set out for an all day bike ride.

We rode through the theater district in Uptown with several huge, old theaters that unfortunately don't see much use these days. However, President Obama had just held his birthday party/fundraiser at the Aragon Ballroom only a few days earlier!

'L' train

It took many tries to finally get a good shot. It's harder than it looks!

Crown Fountain in Millennium Park by artist Jaume Plensa. There is currently another sculpture piece by the same artist in NYC's Madison Square Park.

Kurt was hot and sweaty after our several hours of bike riding and decided a run through the fountain was in order. (Don't worry, he didn't push that little girl out of the way.)

Riding within the 'Loop'.

Once again, I will harp on the fact that riding bikes around a new city is a great way to explore. We easily (and quickly) made our way to the IIT campus and saw the campus center designed by architect Rem Koolhaas.

Crown Hall by Mies van der Rohe.

Phew! We rode everywhere! I needed a good stretch.

Riverside cafe

After suggestions from a few friends, we decided to get tickets for an architecture boat cruise along the Chicago River that runs through the middle of the city. Luckily, the boat was stocked with a full bar. We came up with a drinking game where you took a drink when the docent mentioned famous Chicago architects (ie Mies, SOM, Frank Lloyd Wright). Very enjoyable. Coincidentally, we ran into a friend from NYC in line for tickets and we got on the same tour together! What a small world!

Prepare yourself for an inundation of photos from the tour. Keep in mind this a seriously edited selection of what was taken. There are just too many cool things to see!

Trump Tower

 One of many Trunnion Bascule bridges on the tour. Very interesting.

Sears Tower (they are trying to rename it the Willis Tower but it's not catching on).

Humongous old Montgomery Ward building which now houses the Merchandise Mart. The design center contains over 4.2 million square feet and in 2007 was the world's largest LEED-EB building.

Marina City, 330 N Wabash by Mies van der Rohe, Trump Tower--an ineresting trio.

The lower levels of Marina City contain boat parking, car parking, and commercial space. It's really fascinating to see how the city addresses the river.

Kurt loves this building. It's called Aqua and was designed by Studio Gang.

After the boat tour, we continued on our bikes. The creator of one of Kurt's favorite football blogs, Eleven Warriors, lives in Chicago and we had worked out a plan to meet him for after work drinks. After some light football debate for Kurt and a little bit of Auburn heckling for me, we met up with Justin's wife Brett for some dinner.

We ended up at Taco Joint for cheap gourmet tacos and $5 Tecate and tequila :) 

Not sure what was going on here, but Kurt and Justin were definitely satisfied customers. 

Wrigley Field on our bike race home. See you tomorrow!

1 comment:

  1. Kurt. Loves. This. Building. SOM did the Trump Tower, Studio Gang did the Aqua. It's unbelievable how much better the Aqua is. It's appearance changes with time of day and viewer perspective.
    The landscape design of the huge park below it is absolutely awful - of what I saw the landscape architecture of Chicago left a lot to be desired (had to get that voiced).
    Justin and I were doing flat brimmed hats...all cool kids like yo.
    Oh! Also, Bertrand Goldberg ( the most underrated/unrecognized architect in Chicago.


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