This year marks the 50th anniversary of the Chicago Architecture Foundation, one of the city’s most respected cultural organizations. The CAF offers more than 85 tours of significant buildings, neighborhoods and places via boat, bus, Segway, ‘L,” and, of course, foot. Over the years, people who have taken tours have walked an equivalent of 80 trips around the world or enough to walk every inch, of every Chicago street 500 times.
While the CAF engages locals and visitors on a daily basis to show off what makes our city great architecturally, we wanted to find out what CAF president and CEO Lynn Osmond personally loves about Chicago. In addition to discussing favorite restaurants, bars, museums and more in Part I of the interview, Osmond, who lives in the West Loop, also told us her favorite CAF tours and praised their newest exhibit, 50 Designers, 50 Ideas, 50 Wards here.
The Hotel Boom Tour is really cool. That includes the CAA and will include the new London House. There are really interesting conversions going on in the city.
The Architecture River Cruise – it’s so cool to see what’s along the river and all the new sites. There are some unique structures going up, especially at the fork of the river. There’s one that’s like a martini glass because it’s being built over train lines.
We’re doing a new tour just launched with Big Bus – it’s the Historic Neighborhood Tour on bus. Going through five neighborhoods – Greektown, Pilsen, Little Italy, Chinatown and Bronzeville. We just launched in April. It’s an open-air bus tour. They talk about not just the architecture, but also how the neighborhoods got there and the transitions.
Parks & Nature Walks
The park I think is really cool is Palmisano Park in Bridgeport. It’s a reclaimed quarry, that was about mob life and you have great views of the city.
Northerly Island is just cool. And when you go a few feet from the concert area, you get on this nature preserve with the walking paths and the beach.
We all love the Art Institute especially the Modern Wing and the architecture. They have the fabulous new collection that has come in; it’s the largest donation of modern art ever. And the MCA is always a good go-to spot especially in the summer with Jazz on Tuesdays.
I love sneaking out to the park in front of the Art Institute. It’s the garden on the side that was designed by Dan Kiley. It has a wonderful sculpture that was done by Lorado Taft. It’s a sculpture of the Great Lakes.