The Magnificent Mile is Chicago's Camps Élysées, home to major department stores, malls, and flagship stores of famous fashion brands. The streets official name is Michigan Avenue, the "Magnificent Mile" is the section between Randolph Street in the south and Lake Shore Drive in the north. On Magnificent Mile you can stay in luxury hotels and dine at fancy restaurants. The Water Tower, Wrigley Building and the Tribune Tower stand aswell on this famous avenue. Another attraction is the John Hankook Tower with the 360 Chicago observation deck.
The Water Tower is one of the few structures in the center of Chicago that survived the Great Fire of 1871. The 55 m high Water Tower was built in 1869 as a pumping station. The architect William W. Boyington was inspired by the design of English castles. The bright limestone is reminiscent of the Tower of London, the narrow tower more like a lighthouse. The neo-Gothic style made for a lot of ridicule and rejection. But because the building survived the Great Fire, it became the landmark of Chicago. Today, the Water Tower is the most famous attraction in Chicago. The building houses the tourist information office and the municipal art gallery.
The famous chewing gum company of Wrigley build its Chicago headquarter in 1924. The two towers of the complex are connected by a skybridge obove the street level. The south tower is 133 m tall, the North Tower has a hight of 89.5 m.
The Neo-Gothic Tower is the headquarter of the newspaper "Chicago Tribune". The newspaper started an architectural competition in 1922, to build the most beautiful building in the world. More than 250 architects from all over the world participated in the competition. Raymond Hood and John Mead Howell from New York finaly built the 141 m high "Tribune Tower" in 1925.
The Federal Plaza is a place where three buildings of Mies van der Rohe stand. Two office towers and a low-rise building in which a post office is located. The rectangular space is determined by the black facades of the architecture. The sculpture Flamingo by Alexander Calder skilfully contrasts with the rectangular cubes of the buildings of Mies with their round steel arches. The 16-meter-high flamingo also stands out clearly from the environment because of its orange-red color. The Federal Plaza was opened in 1974, the Flamingo of Calder was completed in 1973. The Federal Plaza is a total artwork of architecture, space and art.
The Sears Tower, now called Willis Tower, was the tallest skyscraper in the world until 1998. The tower with a hight of 443 meters was built by SOM architects in 1974. Glass boxes at the observation deck stand out from the facade and provide scary looks into the abyss.
The Chicago Elevated Railroad "L" operates 8 m above road level. In the center the route runs in a circle "loop". The first line started it's service in 1892. The system has been extended and today there are also subway lines crossing the center. The station "Quincy" has been restored to it's historic appearance.
The Chicago Board of Trade futures exchange was founded in 1848 because agricultural products are perishable commodities, so it is better to sell them early as futures. In addition, you can adjust the production to the market. For the Midwest, Chicago is the gateway to the world. Here, goods were loaded onto ships and distributed across the Great Lakes across North America. Later, the railroad took over this transport. This made Chicago the largest slaughterhouse in America because it is easier to transport meat than live animals.
The Chicago Board of Trade Building was built in 1930 by architects Holabird & Root. The Art Deco architecture is reminiscent of the Empire State Building in New York, which, however, was completed in 1931. The Chicago Board of Trade Building, with its 184 m to 1965, was the tallest skyscraper in Chicago. On the top stands a 9.5 m high statue of the Roman goddess of fertility Ceres. In 1980, an extension by Helmut Jahn was built on the south side, referring to the architecture of the main building.
In the building are several trading rooms, the so-called Pits (English for pit or parquet). By now, most of the Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CMEGroup) trading is done electronically.
The Chicago Theater is one of Chicago's most famous attractions. The lettering CHICAGO in front of the building has become a trademark of the city. When Chicago plays a major role in movies, it almost always has that signature, like the Hoolywood Sign in Los Angeles. Behind the middle C is a circle of light with a Y, this is not a peace symbol, but represents the confluence of the Chicago River with the Ship Canal at Wolf Point dar. At its opening in 1921 was the cinema Balaban and Katz Chicago Theater. After the theater got new owners and was no longer used as a cinema, the name was reduced to Chicago Theater.
The building was designed by architects Rapp and Rapp of Chicago, who then built more than 30 theaters in the United States. The Great Hall accommodates 3,600 spectators and is currently used for concerts.
The Cloud Gate sculpture by Anish Kapoor has quickly become one of Chicago's top attractions. Because of its bean shape, the artwork is also called The Bean. The sculpture was welded together from highly polished stainless steel plates, reflecting the Chicago skyline. The Cloud Gate was installed in Millenium Park in 2006 and weighs around 100 t. It is 13 m high, 10 wide and 20 m long. The Cloud Gate is especially popular with Instagram as a selfie background.
Another artwork in public space was designed by Marc Chagall. His work Four Seasons faces the Chase Bank corner Dearborn / Monroe. The colored mosaic is located on a 21 m long, 4 m high and 3 m wide block. The sculpture of the Russian-French artist was donated by the Frederick H. Prince Foundation. Prince was the owner of Armor and Company, one of the largest meat factories in the USA.
The artwork has been outdoors since its inauguration in 1974. The weather has added to the Four Seasons, so the sculpture had to be renovated in 1994 and got a protective glass roof.
Tip: Marc Cahagall also designed the colorful windows at the Art Institute of Chicago.
The Navy Pier is one of the tourist attraction of Chicago. The pier is about 1 kilometer into Lake Michigan and has restaurants, museums, shops and a Ferris wheel. Shoreline Water Taxi boats also start from here, connecting the Navy Pier with another mooring station on the lake. The Navy Pier is an amusement park in the water. The concept was created by Daniel Burnham, who had designed a continuous landscaping and leisure area on Lake Michigan with his 1909 Plan of Chicago. Chicago owes its beaches and lakeside parks to it. The Navy Pier was opened in 1916.
Daniel Burnham also designed the Flatiron Building in New York. A man with visions that you hardly find today. A quote from Burnham reads: No small plans! They have no magic to stir men's blood!
In Chicago, there are many great works of art on squares in front of skyscrapers. The Picasso was the first large-scale sculpture in Chicago. The sculpture by Pablo Picasso was unveiled in 1967 at Daley Plaza. The course was created together with the Chicago Civic Center (today Richard J. Daley Center). The skyscraper of C.F. Murphy, SOM and other architects are very reminiscent of the office towers of Mies van der Rohe, but there is one crucial difference - the Chicago Civic Center is not black. Here, a new material was introduced to the architecture, the Cortenstahl. The steel rusts and protects itself against corrosion.
Pablo Picasso uses the same material for his 15m high sculpture, which bears no title. This inevitably led to speculation about what the artwork represents. The speculations range from Afghan hound, baboon head, bird, aardvark, Anubis to Sylvette David, a model of Picasso. Since the artwork has no name, it is called only The Picasso. The artist did not take any fee even though he was offered $ 100,000.
Museo Picasso Barcelona, Musée Picasso Paris, Musée Picasso Antibes
The architect Luis Henri Sullivan was a representative of the Chicago School, which had formed after the Great Fire in 1871. Their buildings were built as fire-resistant steel skeleton buildings, enabling large shop windows on the ground floor. Also the office floors could get bigger windows. The Sullivan Center was the prototype of this construction and was built in 1904 for the department store Schlesinger & Mayer. It was sold to Carson Prie Scott in the same year. The Carson Prie Scott Building was renamed the Sullivan Center in 2007. The building is considered the most beautiful department store in the city due to the filigree cast-iron Jugendstilecke.
The sculpture Monument with Standing Beast by Jean Dubuffet stands in front of the James R. Thompson Center by Helmut Jahn. The sculpture made of fiberglass was unveiled in 1984 and is about 9 m high. The white structure from the Hourloupe series, with black borders, represents an animal, a gate, a tree and architecture. You can not really see that. The vernacular therefore calls the work "Snoopy in a bender".
Welcome to Chicago
With a population of around 2.7 million inhabitants, Chicago is the third-largest city in the USA. The New Yorkers used to called Chicago "Second City", but Chicago was the first city to build skyscrapers, even before New York. Chicago is also called the "Windy City", due to the cold wind from Canada and some people say, because of the "windy" businesses. The name "Chicago" originates from the people of the Potawatomi, who lived around Lake Michigan, before the europeans explored america.