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At the Chicago Architecture Center, our programs and events help you think differently about the places we live, work and play. Get behind-the-scenes access to the city's architectural treasures. Practice your design skills while you play with your family. Participate in expert-led discussions about the latest urban design issues. With these offerings and so many more to choose from, we guarantee there’s something inspiring and fun for you at the CAC. 

CAC Live: Chicago’s Moveable Bridges

Chicago is home to more moveable bridges than any other city in the country, keeping all sides of the city connected despite waterways that cut across them. Explore how these marvels of engineering helped shape the Chicago we know today.

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Japan to Chicago: Architectural Connections

Architecture in Chicago has long drawn influence from Japan. Trace the connections beginning with parallels to Japanese architectural tradition found in Frank Lloyd Wright’s work and continuing on to Japanese architects practicing in Chicago today.

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The Future of the Urban Middle Class

Research shows Chicago has become more segregated by income over time with growing pockets of extreme wealth and extreme poverty. This special hour-long event tackles the challenges of rebuilding the middle class as we mount recoveries in our cities.

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Art in the Design Studio

Add a splash of color to your child’s day when they spend an hour in our Design Studio creating a masterpiece using color, shapes, and materials.

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At the Edge of the Bungalow Belt

In the early 1900s, Chicago’s “bungalow belt” took shape across the outer-ring neighborhoods. After WWII, at the belt’s far edge, this distinctive housing type often morphed into new hybrid forms. Join us as we explore variations of a classic…

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CAC Story Time

Join us for a unique story time at the inspiring Chicago Women’s Park and Gardens, as we learn about the impact of women in architecture. Let your child’s imagination come to life as we read The World Is Not a Rectangle: A Portrait of Architect Zaha…

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Book Talk: “Chicago: An Illustrated Timeline”

Every city has its foundational stories. In this talk, CAC Program Director Hallie Rosen discusses Chicago: An Illustrated Timeline with author and CAC docent Ellen Shubart, which chronicles the city’s growth from Midwestern outpost to global metropolis…

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What's Worth Preserving?

The rulebook on historic preservation is ever-changing with the passage of time and constant re-evaluation of the past. How do we identify the built structures and cultural spaces worth fighting for and broaden the very notion of preservation? This two-part…

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Open House Chicago 2021 Preview

Get a special sneak preview of the OHC 2021 mobile app, trails, sites and virtual programs. This is your chance to ask questions and get recommendations to maximize your OHC 2021 experience!

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Revisiting Learning from North Lawndale

The 2021 Chicago Architecture Biennial traces its roots back to a groundbreaking 2006 CAC (then Chicago Architecture Foundation) exhibit, Learning from North Lawndale: Past, Present and Future. Revisit the making of the exhibit and explore the richness…

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How the Great Fire Changed Chicago

The conflagration that tore through Chicago in October 1871 is often credited with rewriting our city’s history. Like most everything from that era, the Great Fire’s aftermath was an opportunity for those on the make. But was it really so clear-cut?

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The Olmsted Legacy in Chicago

In 2022 we will celebrate the 200th anniversary of Frederick Law Olmsted’s birth. Join historian Julia Bachrach as she illuminates Olmsted’s significant contributions to Chicago’s South Side parks. This program is part of Open House Chicago 2021…

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Songs About Buildings and Moods

Open House Chicago 2021 community partner Access Contemporary Music hosts a panel discussion that explores the intersection of music and architecture. This program is part of Open House Chicago 2021

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Tales of the Night Chicago Burned

Join us for a live onstage performance by master storyteller Scott Whitehair. In this original work, Whitehair will weave together personal narratives of triumph and hardship experienced by those who survived the Great Chicago Fire of 1871.

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CAC Live: Tiffany in Chicago

Chicago has one of the largest collections of Tiffany glass in the country. Join CAC docent Susan Jacobson for a virtual program that examines some the most magnificent art-glass and mosaic installations in the city crafted by Tiffany.

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CAC Live: Art Deco Gods and Goddesses

Art Deco epitomized the exuberance of the Roaring 20s, but it also included motifs from ancient times. See how images of Greek gods and goddesses added art and meaning to many of Chicago’s most beautiful Art Deco buildings at this virtual program.

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Virtual City Walks: International Edition

Travel abroad—no passport required—beginning January 30, 2021, through six programs produced in partnership by the Association of Architecture Organizations and AAO members in Boston, Chicago, Copenhagen, Los Angeles, New York City and Prague.

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CAC Live: Chicago's Holiday Traditions

Chicago goes all out for the holidays! Join us to hear about the city’s holiday traditions and the way its iconic architecture gets decorated for the holidays, from the windows at Macy’s on State to the Art Institute of Chicago lions.

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CAC Live: Sacred Spaces in Downtown Chicago

Chicago’s skyscraper-studded downtown core is home to a surprising number of houses of worship, serving believers of multiple faiths and representing a wide variety of architectural styles. Join CAC docent David Utech as he highlights six of them.

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South Shore Neighborhood Virtual Tour

CAC docent Mike McMains joins two community leaders, Allan Lindrup and Yvette Moyo, for this live-streamed, virtual tour of the South Shore neighborhood, showcasing its rich history and beautiful architecture.

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If Walls Had Ears

This special collection of virtual tours and brief performances brings attendees “into” spaces they wouldn’t ordinarily see at storied Chicago music venues, including the Avalon Regal Theater, The Forum, Thalia Hall and the Vic Theatre.

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Stories of (Im)Migration, Sites of Unity

OHC 2020 community partner Chicago Cultural Alliance co-convenes this discussion among representatives from its member organizations. Hear (im)migration stories from panelists and discover local sites that are meaningful for their communities.

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Investment through Preservation in Roseland

After decades of disinvestment, could historic preservation be used as a tool to help rebuild vibrancy in the Roseland neighborhood? Find out at this roundtable discussion, co-convened with OHC 2020 community partner Preservation Chicago.

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Women in Architecture Virtual Tour

Take a 45-minute live, virtual tour with CAC docent Mary Jo Hoag's in downtown Chicago to discover stunning buildings designed by female architects, including the Equitable Building, Aqua Tower and Vista Tower.

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A New Vision for the Kenwood Line

Hear recent architecture school graduate Migel Santos’ fascinating proposal to revitalize a decommissioned rail line on the South Side, with hopes of boosting socioeconomic equity and neighborhood vitality.

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OHC 2020 Trivia Night

Calling all Chicago enthusiasts! Test your knowledge of the city’s architecture at our exciting virtual trivia night. Compete in teams led by local personalities and win exciting prizes!

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CAC Live: Chicago Women Activists

Hear the stories of Chicago women activists and learn what reforms they led, particularly on Chicago’s Near South Side, during this virtual program on July 15 and September 2 led by CAC docent Ellen Shubart.

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CAC Live: Wrigleyville Tour

Take a virtual walk around Wrigley Field and learn interesting tidbits about the architecture surrounding the historic baseball stadium on this 45-minute tour with CAC docent Kent Foutty on September 22.

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CAC Live: Alta Vista Terrace Tour

Hear the secrets and stories behind a stretch of row houses situated between Wrigley Field and Graceland Cemetery on this live, 45-minute virtual tour of Alta Vista Terrace with CAC docent Kent Foutty.

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CAC Live: Daniel Burnham: Realist or Idealist?

A prolific architect, trailblazing city planner and civic leader, Daniel Burnham has been described as both a pragmatic realist and a visionary idealist. CAC docent Marcia Matavulj dives into this apparent contradiction on July 25 and Sept. 5.

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CAC Live: Churches by Bus Anniversary Program

The CAC’s annual Churches by Bus tour celebrates 25 years in 2020. Two CAC docents who lead the tour will share the evolution of church architecture in Chicago and highlight three local examples at this program on July 29 and August 29.

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CAC Live: Buildings and Beer

With a focus on Chicago’s River North neighborhood, CAC docent Jeff Marcella—an expert in both buildings and beer—will lead this online version of one of the CAC’s popular Pub Tours on July 18 and August 26.

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CAC Live: "American Warsaw" Book Talk

Chicago author and historian Dominic A. Pacyga leads this presentation on his 2019 book “American Warsaw: The Rise, Fall, and Rebirth of Polish Chicago,” which explores the impact Chicago’s Polish community has made on the city’s culture and politics…

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CAC Live: Gothic Chicago

In Chicago, the Gothic style is often found in church designs, but can also be seen in many academic, commercial, municipal and residential buildings. Join CAC docent Dr. Thomas R. Stelmack on July 22 or August 22 to discover this intricate style.

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CAC Live: Old Buildings, New Hotels

Driven by tourism, multiple historic Chicago skyscrapers have recently been reimagined as chic hotels. CAC docent Monica Rodriguez leads this online version of the CAC’s popular tour, “Hotel Boom: Making Old New Again,” on July 11 and August 19…

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CAC Live: Building Tall on Broad Shoulders

Chicago is the birthplace of innovations that allowed for the design and construction of the world’s first skyscrapers. CAC docent Bill Lipsman takes a closer look at these engineering breakthroughs on July 8 and Aug. 15.

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Architecture Camp 1.0

Ready to think like an architect? Join us June 29-July 3 or July 6-10 for a virtual camp to learn architecture basics. Campers ages 8-10 will be introduced to sketching and model building through guided lessons, activities and virtual walking tours.

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CAC Live: Retail Revolution on State Street

Join CAC docent Brian Kelly on July 1 or August 8 as he shares how innovative collaborations between merchants and architects, along with the emergence of architecturally significant department stores, brought a retail revolution to State Street.

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2020 Auxiliary Board Riverwalk Fundraiser

The CAC Auxiliary Board’s annual river cruise fundraiser has been converted into an exciting virtual experience for 2020! Take a CAC-curated, self-guided tour of the Chicago Riverwalk and attend an online event to support the CAC Teen Fellows program…

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CAC Live: Chicago's Riverwalk

Hear the story of the Chicago Riverwalk on June 20 or August 5 from Michelle Woods, a CAC docent and City of Chicago project manager who oversees the maintenance, operations and concession program for the 1.25-mile trail.

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CAC Live: Murals of Chicago

Discover the stories behind murals across Chicago on June 24 or August 1 with CAC docent Maurice Champagne. Learn how talented muralists use public art to enliven architecture, reflect social issues and honor both ordinary people and famous figures.

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Design Your Neighborhood Camp 2.0

Discover the Chicago history and collaborate with fellow campers to design and build an ideal neighborhood in this online urban planning camp July 20-24. Campers ages 11-14 will go on virtual tours and talk with experts about their design decisions.

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Design Your Neighborhood Camp 1.0

Explore what makes Chicago’s neighborhoods unique and reimagine a corner of your own neighborhood at this virtual camp July 20-24 for ages 8-10. Learn introductory model making, sketching and observational skills.

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