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Drinks and Design activity

Whether for personal enrichment or professional growth, the Chicago Architecture Foundation offers an exciting schedule of programming that brings together people from different backgrounds and experiences to learn about Chicago’s architecture—past, present, and future. We offer programming in the areas of new construction, historic preservation, the future of Chicago, Chicago history, architecture in the neighborhoods, sustainability, landscape design, residential architecture, and featured works of architects and firms. 

No matter when you are available—lunchtime, evenings, or weekends—or how much time you have, there is something for your schedule!

Design Studio LEGO build
LEGO Architecture Studio logo

LEGO® Build

Every Sunday, beginning March 23, 2014

For many architects, building with LEGOs was their first step towards cultivating a mind for design, and they often return to this classic toy to spark their imagination. Today, sets like the LEGO Architecture Studio are more sophisticated and versatile than ever, appealing to teens and adults as well. Building with this set at the ArcelorMittal Design Studio @ CAF is a fun way for people to get inspired by architecture and learn the fundamentals while creating their own designs!

Every Sunday in 2014, we host workshops led by guest designers, offering two sessions each day with themes that change monthly to drive the topics of discussion and kinds of structures that guests build. Our studios are open to all, and visitors under the age of 14 must be accompanied by an adult.

TIME: Two sessions (1pm – 2:30pm; 3pm – 4:30pm)
COST: $10 non-members, $5 members
LOCATION: ArcelorMittal Design Studio @ CAF, 224 S. Michigan Ave

2014 Schedule of Themes:
August: Surface  Register Now>>
September: Mass Register Now>>
October: Symmetry Register Now>>
November: City Scale
December: Home for the Holidays


The following dates will not be available:
August 31st (Labor Day Weekend)
October 19th (OHC Weekend)
November 30th (Thanksgiving Weekend)
December 28th (Christmas Weekend)

Design and Drinks

Official Beer Sponsor of CAF


Wednesday. September 17, 2014

Drinks + Design

Explore the playful side of architecture and engineering during this hands-on program for adults using recycled materials while enjoying an after-work drink. Volunteer architects from Architecture for Humanity will lead a creative building exercise during the program!

TIME: 6pm-8pm
COST: $20/$15 Members
LOCATION: ArcelorMittal Design Studio at CAF, 224 S. Michigan Avenue


 This program is sponsored in part by the Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts.

Presented with support from Southwest Airlines

 Southwest Airlines


Thursday, September 18, 2014

The BIG IDEA: Intersections of Design and Big Data

Author, urbanist, and highly sought speaker Vishaan Chakrabarti visits the Chicago Architecture Foundation for an evening lecture and dialogue with noted architectural commenter Reed Kroloff. Through his work with SHoP Architects, Chakrabarti has played a significant role in the redevelopment of New York's Atlantic Yards, including the design of Barclays Center.

His recent treatise, A Country of Cities (2013), outlines the case that well-designed cities are the key driver in solving many of America's great national challenges. For this program, Chakrabarti will discuss emerging design and planning practices arising from our ever-increasing access to big data sets. 25 years ago, computer-aided design revolutionized the practice of architecture and excited the public with new possibilities of form. In harnessing big data, might conditions be ripe for architects to help us glimpse the future, again?

TIME: 6:30pm-8pm
COST: $20/$15 Members
LOCATION: Lecture Hall, 224 S. Michigan Avenue
Number of AIA CES credits: 1



Saturday, October 18, 2014

Open House Chicago: City of Big Data

Join us for a day of interactive learning as we celebrate both Open House Chicago and our exhibit, Chicago: City of Big Data. Students and their families will learn about big data through interaction with the Chicago: City of Big Data exhibition, then use LEGO to create new buildings for Chicago's Loop based on what they've learned. Other drop-in design activities will also be available! Suitable for ages 5-12 with adult companions.

TIME: 11am - 4pm
LOCATION: ArcelorMittal Design Studio @ CAF, 224 S. Michigan Ave




Saturday October 18 & Sunday October 19, 2014

Open House Chicago

The largest architectural festival in Chicago is back for its fourth year! Drawing more than 55,000 people in 2013, the Chicago Architecture Foundation’s Open House Chicago event is October 18 and 19, and includes more than 150 of the city’s greatest spaces and places from 18 neighborhoods across the city. This free public event offers participants behind-the-scenes access to many areas that are normally open “by invitation only.” Showcasing the diversity of Chicago’s architecture, sites include uncommonly seen and “restricted access” areas of public buildings, factories, historic mansions, private clubs, sacred spaces, schools, professional offices and cultural institutions, among others.

Presenting sponsor for Open House Chicago is Kemper Corporation. For more information visit

COST: Free
LOCATION: Chicago. All of it.


 This program is sponsored, in part, by the Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts. Program developed in partnership with IBM.

Goose Island official beer sponsor

 Southwest Airlines


Saturday October 18th & Sunday 19th 2014

The BIG IDEA: Experience Data

John Tolva, Former Chief Technology Officer for the City of Chicago, introduces us to a fascinating unveiling of three experiments using big data. See live demonstrations of networked objects, pioneering data visualizations and interact with streaming data from the streets just outside CAF's front doors. These are all part of a sensory experience to showcase the coming innovations that will shape urban life in our rapidly evolving smart cities.

TIME: 6:00pm-8pm
COST: $12/$7 Members
LOCATION: Lecture Hall, 224 S. Michigan Avenue





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