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The Chicago Architecture Center (CAC) reveals the stories behind the buildings — and the people behind the stories. Here's a look at what makes the CAC one-of-a-kind.

Nearly 690,000 annual visitors engage with us through:

  • 85 different tours offered nearly 7,000 times per year: boat, walking, bus and “L” train.
  • More than 8,000 square feet of vibrant exhibitions at the CAC
  • Programs and events ranging from behind-the-scenes access to architectural treasures across the city to hands-on workshops for the entire family

We Inspire the Next Generation

A girl working on a ferris wheel build during Engineering Fest 2019. Photo by Michael Courier.Through workshops, programs, competitions and mentoring, we work with thousands of students and families. Each year:

  • 14,900 children and families directly engaged
  • 7,500 visitors to the ArcelorMittal Design Studio
  • 7,800 K-12 students participating in field trips
  • 10,000 online learners at
  • 1,100 students participated in our annual Newhouse Architecture and Design Competition
  • 14,200 participants in the Chicago Architecture Biennial competition and field trips

We Engage Communities

Two women looking through the 2018 OHC Guide. Photo by Michael Courier.Open House Chicago is a free, two-day architecture festival that offers behind-the-scenes access to more than 250 buildings in neighborhoods across Chicago. The annual festival instills pride in community and place.

  • 91,000 attendees in two days
  • 54,600 people visited a new neighborhood
  • 92% of locals said OHC made them feel proud to be a Chicagoan
  • Nearly 50 community partners actively participated in showcasing their neighborhoods
  • Nearly 2,600 volunteers “staffed” the weekend, contributing 17,000 hours

We are Docent-Powered

We make learning exciting. Our 450 volunteer docents undergo a rigorous training program before they can lead tours. Equal parts storyteller and educator, our docents are renowned for taking a complex subject and engaging audiences from around the world. Last year, CAC docents donated more than 22,000 hours in service of CAC’s mission.

We Guide Professionals Worldwide

In order to assist architecture organizations and urban centers across the United States and around the world, the CAC established the Association of Architecture Organizations and the Architecture + Design Education Network, international groups that interpret built environments.

Recent Awards / Recognition

  • 2020 Citation of Merit, Interior Architecture Award from AIA Chicago
  • 2019 CAC "Business Impact of the Year" from The Magnificent Mile Association
  • 2018 CAC "Best New Attraction" from Friends of Downtown
  • 2018 AIA Illinois Richard Nickel Award
  • 2017 John Baird Award for Stewardship, City of Chicago Landmark Commission