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The CAC is proud to offer “The American Skyscraper: Transforming Chicago and the Nation,” a workshop for teachers, with support from the National Endowment for the Humanities’ Landmarks of American History and Culture.

The skyscraper, more than any other building type, gives American cities their distinctive character. During this week-long workshop participants will investigate the skyscraper as a physical and cultural construct. By examining tall buildings in Chicago—home to some of the world’s earliest skyscrapers—the workshop will explore how to use all buildings as primary-source teaching tools.

Skyscrapers will serve as a lens for studying innovation, urbanization, segregation, labor, gender and civic identity. We will address such questions as: How did the rise of the skyscraper stimulate and reflect changes in American life? and What do these developments indicate about the future of countries building skyscrapers in large numbers today?


In support of public health during the COVID-19 pandemic, all sessions were webcast and remotely accessible. Using a variety of online learning platforms, project educators led participants virtually through the Chicago Architecture Center’s exhibition spaces, as well as through downtown Chicago and several neighborhoods. The workshop provided opportunities for participants to take screen breaks to explore their own communities through a series of interactive content intended to relate Chicago-specific examples to cities and towns located throughout the United States.

Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this workshop do not necessarily represent those of the National Endowment for the Humanities.