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Chicago’s architecture is known around the world. Yet for many people, architecture and design remain obscure and distant languages. For 50 years, Chicago Architecture Foundation docents and educators have been working to change this.

Since its founding days at Glessner House in 1966, CAF has been sharing the stories behind the buildings. We’ve shown that the story of Chicago architecture is a tale of both challenges and triumphs. We’ve strived, for half a century now, to inspire people to discover why design matters in their communities, cities and lives.

Over the course of the Chicago Architecture Foundation’s first 50 years, the stats have really piled up. We’re now counting some of our achievements in the millions: 10 million people served, 1 million volunteer hours donated, 250,000 students reached. And we’re just getting started!

In 2016, as CAF turns 50, we’re taking a look at some of the defining milestones we’ve reached along the way.