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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. 

Read and Build: Science of Architecture

Have you ever wondered how buildings stand tall and strong? Join us to learn about the science of architecture! Drop in any time before 11am to enjoy multiple readings of “Elara STEM Girl” by Leela Ayyar.

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Discovering Bronzeville’s Lost Past at IIT

Last year, an astonishing architectural discovery occurred at the Illinois Institute of Technology—remnants of a World’s Fair-era building were found under Crown Hall. Hear about Bronzeville’s lost past and how IIT is trying to recapture some of…

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Girls Build! Summer 2019 Camp

In this week-long camp, you'll collaborate with other girls ages 11-14, develop leadership skills, meet female architects and learn about design thinking, engineering, architecture and digital design.

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How Bauhaus Took Hold in Chicago

Hear how Chicago inherited German Bauhaus design with a look at the lasting influence of two famed Illinois Institute of Technology professors: Ludwig Mies van der Rohe and László Moholy-Nagy.

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LEGO® Build Workshop: Engineering Bridges

Chicago is the birthplace of skyscrapers, but it's also known for its innovative bridges. Learn about the Michigan Avenue bridge, a trunnion bascule that was invented right here in Chicago. Build our own bridge and test its strength!

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Read and Build: Inventions

Use your imagination to invent structures out of odds and ends, then test the strength of your creations! Drop in any time before 11am to enjoy multiple readings of “Audrey the Amazing Inventor” by Rachel Valentine.

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Frank Lloyd Wright's Penwern: A Summer Estate

Author and photographer Mark Hertzberg presents on his new book about Penwern, a Frank Lloyd Wright-designed vacation estate on Lake Delevan in southern Wisconsin. Come learn about the harmony between four structures on a breathtaking 10-acre site.

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Curious City at the Center

The CAC and WBEZ’s Curious City podcast team are hosting an architecture extravaganza! Hear the story behind a famous Chicago skyscraper through a live performance and help stump top architects in a live game of Architecture Jeopardy.

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LEGO® Build Workshop: Art in Architecture

Did you know art and architecture often intersect? We’ll visit Tribune Tower and the Wrigley Building to observe ornamentation and sculptures, then head back to the design studio to create your own building that incorporates art.

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Read and Build: Art in Architecture

Join us on our search for art in architecture! Come learn about buildings inspired by art and ornamentation through hands-on activities and multiple readings of “Maya Lin Artist—Architect of Light and Lines” by Jeanne Walker Harvey.

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Skyscrapers for All?

If tall buildings represent the future of city living, what policies and technologies will help make them affordable to the masses? Get insights from a panel of experts on the design innovations and policy initiatives making inroads today.

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Chicago: From Vision to Metropolis

In "Chicago: From Vision to Metropolis", journalist Whet Moser dissects the myths, legends and shifting aspirations for our city. Get an informed local’s take on Chicago’s arduous—and often scandalous—journey from trading post to global metropolis…

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Bringing Modernist Icons Back to Life

Efforts to preserve our Modernist architectural icons are ramping up in Chicago and around the nation. In this 100th anniversary year of the Bauhaus, learn about the work underway to re-interpret and protect important Mid-Century Modern buildings.

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LEGO® Build Workshop: Aqua Tower

Come learn about Aqua Tower—a modern skyscraper inspired by water that is both sustainable and beautiful. Then, find your own inspiration in nature and create a planet-friendly creation using LEGO®.

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Members Only: Architecture Essentials - May 14

Chicago is synonymous with architecture and Chicagoans—especially CAC members—love to share their knowledge of architecture with family and friends. Come learn fun architecture facts you can share again and again at this members-only event.

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Chicago Architecture Center at the Confluence

Join CAC docents to hear their favorite stories about the larger-than-life characters who made the Chicago River the nation’s crossroad of commerce then transformed it into a cultural destination and a unique urban landscape lined with architectural…

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Member Double Discount Weekend

Need a special gift for mom? Looking for something unique for an aunt, grandma or other special mother in your life? In honor of Mother's Day, we're offering members 20% off all weekend at the CAC store.

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Behind-the-Scenes: Farm on Ogden

Chicago’s newest community-based urban agriculture initiative brings together food, health and jobs in one oasis-like location in North Lawndale. Get an in-depth tour of the farm with the team that made it happen, from concept to design to operation…

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Teen Open Studio - May 2

Join us in the ArcelorMittal Design Studio on Thursdays from 5—7pm during the school year to get feedback and guidance on independent or competition projects. CPS students are eligible for a stipend.

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Read and Build: Nature

Explore architecture from a bugs-eye view! Drop in any time to enjoy multiple readings of Nina Laden's "Roberto, The Insect Architect” and make your own animal habitat.

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The Brilliance of American Architecture

Hear about the brilliance of American architecture at this three-part lecture series inspired by legendary Yale professor Vincent Scully. Held on the last three Tuesdays in April at 6pm, the series will examine significant American cities, buildings and…

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Teen Open Studio - Apr. 25

Join us in the ArcelorMittal Design Studio on Thursdays from 5—7pm during the school year to get feedback and guidance on independent or competition projects. CPS students are eligible for a stipend.

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Spring Break @ the CAC - Friday

Come learn how architecture and engineering work together as you build and test a structure with design professionals. Receive coaching and feedback from a structural engineer as you learn the science behind building.

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Teen Open Studio - Apr. 18

Join us in the ArcelorMittal Design Studio on Thursdays from 5—7pm during the school year to get feedback and guidance on independent or competition projects. CPS students are eligible for a stipend.

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Spring Break @ the CAC - Thursday

Ever wonder how buildings stand so tall? Take part in interactive, STEM-based activities that explore structural elements and the science behind buildings. Youth walking tours of Chicago’s most iconic engineering marvels depart at 11:30am and 1:30pm…

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Spring Break @ the CAC - Wednesday

This drop-in workshop explores urban planning, community development and city systems. Students will consider the question, “What makes a good neighborhood?” and use the design process to create neighborhoods from scratch.

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Spring Break @ the CAC - Tuesday

Chicago is made up of iconic bridges…but how do some of them move?! Come build and test your own bridge during this interactive, drop-in program. Educators from the McCormick Bridge House Museum will be on-site to give feedback from noon-1:30pm.

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Teen Open Studio - Apr. 11

Join us in the ArcelorMittal Design Studio on Thursdays from 5—7pm during the school year to get feedback and guidance on independent or competition projects. CPS students are eligible for a stipend.

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Chicago Architecture Center Designing Futures Gala

Save the date for the Chicago Architecture Center Designing Futures Gala on Thursday, April 4 at the Hyatt Regency Chicago! Funds raised that evening will support the expansion of our award-winning education programs in our brand new Chicago Architecture…

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Read and Build: Chicago Icons

Enjoy multiple readings of “Larry Gets Lost in Chicago” by Michael Mullin and go on a scavenger hunt in the Chicago Gallery, where you’ll explore the 3D Chicago City Model and learn about iconic buildings.

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Family Build: Materials + Construction

Design and build with your family on Sunday mornings in the studio, where themed stations will introduce you to architecture basics. Take part in design challenges and make a take home project. Ages 3 and up.

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Teen Open Studio - Mar. 28

Join us in the ArcelorMittal Design Studio on Thursdays from 5—7pm during the school year to get feedback and guidance on independent or competition projects. CPS students are eligible for a stipend.

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Daytime Talk: The Man in the Glass House

With his famous Glass House design, Philip Johnson set the stage for his long and controversial career. Hear Dallas Morning News architecture critic Mark Lamster discuss “The Man in the Glass House,” his new biography on this fascinating architect…

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Pecha Kucha Chicago

Imagine this: 20 PowerPoint slides, shown for only 20 seconds each. The slides advance automatically—so presenters have to keep up! Come hear 400-second stories about design and architecture at this fun and informal event with creative professionals…

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LEGO® Build Workshop: Pioneer Court

Learn about the materials used to build three iconic Chicago buildings in Pioneer Court: Tribune Tower, the Equitable Building and the Apple store. Then, try your hand at designing your own unique structure using LEGO®.

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Teen Open Studio - Mar. 14

Join us in the ArcelorMittal Design Studio on Thursdays from 5—7pm during the school year to get feedback and guidance on independent or competition projects. CPS students are eligible for a stipend.

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Members' Night

On March 13, enjoy the CAC after-hours at this special members-only celebration. Mingle with fellow architecture enthusiasts, enjoy light snacks and beverages, take a mini-tour through the CAC and hear about Chicago’s newest architecture developments…

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How to Avert a Preservation Crisis in Chicago

The Chicago Historic Resources Survey hasn’t been updated in years, and gaps in its coverage place significant buildings at risk of hasty demolition. Hear a diverse group of experts discuss the urgent need to create a new survey.

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Teen Open Studio - Mar. 7

Join us in the ArcelorMittal Design Studio on Thursdays from 5—7pm during the school year to get feedback and guidance on independent or competition projects. CPS students are eligible for a stipend.

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Read and Build: Materials + Construction

Join us on our imaginary construction site as we explore building materials and test innovations that keep our buildings standing tall! Drop in any time to enjoy a reading of “Mighty Mighty Construction Site” by Sherri Duskey Rinker.

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Teen Open Studio - Feb. 28

Join us in the ArcelorMittal Design Studio on Thursdays from 5—7pm during the school year to get feedback and guidance on independent or competition projects. CPS students are eligible for a stipend.

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Teen Open Studio - Feb. 21

Join us in the ArcelorMittal Design Studio on Thursdays from 5—7pm during the school year to get feedback and guidance on independent or competition projects. CPS students are eligible for a stipend.

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Reimagining Chicago's Alleys and Garages

Join us for a conversation with six designers, policymakers and artists who are re-imagining Chicago’s alleys and garages as vibrant civic spaces. This program coincides with the release of a new book, "Rebel Garages,” by the CAC and Future Firm.

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LEGO® Build Workshop: Apple Store

Foster + Partners’ Apple Michigan Avenue store is an impressive, airy glass box with a curved-edge roof. Come learn about the engineering and structure of the building, and create your own LEGO® version of the store!

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Tall & Timber: Chicago's First Wooden Skyscraper

When you think of tall building materials, steel and concrete likely come to mind. But now, wood skyscrapers are moving closer to becoming a reality. Hear about the proposed River Beech Tower, an 80-story timber high-rise designed by Perkins+Will.

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International Dialogues: Big Data in Big Cities

How is the collection and dissemination of big data changing how we plan and build cities? This virtual meet-up, held in conjunction with New London Architecture, will highlight how two global cities—Chicago and London—are using open data to positively…

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Teen Open Studio - Feb. 7

Join us in the ArcelorMittal Design Studio on Thursdays from 5—7pm during the school year to get feedback and guidance on independent or competition projects. CPS students are eligible for a stipend.

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Educator Open House 2019

Are you a K-12 educator interested in using CAC resources to help your students explore why design matters? Come learn about exciting offerings and programs for you and your students, both at CAC and in classrooms.

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Read and Build: Engineering

Are you an inventor? Construct a great invention from odds and ends, test it out and celebrate the failures and successes. Drop in any time to enjoy multiple readings of "Rosie Revere, Engineer" by Andrea Beaty.

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Girls Build!: Adaptive Architecture

How do you take something old and make it new again? In this course, students will creatively examine how to repurpose an old structure. Students will visit a building and think outside the box by redesigning the structure for a new and different use…

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Family Build: Transportation

Join us to explore how transportation connects our schools, homes and towns. Through hands-on activities, learn about roads and railways, and how urban planners decide where things go!

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Architecture Storytelling

Join us for an evening of fun and fascinating storytelling with architects, interior designers, CAC docents and regular folks who will share crafted tales about Chicago’s buildings and their personal experiences with the built environment.

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Teen Open Studio - Jan. 24

Join us in the ArcelorMittal Design Studio on Thursdays from 5—7pm during the school year to get feedback and guidance on independent or competition projects. CPS students are eligible for a stipend.

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LEGO® Build Workshop: The "L"

Chicago’s iconic train system, known as the "L", gets its nickname from being “elevated” above the city's streets. In this workshop, you'll see public transportation in action and build your own "L" platform and train using LEGO®.

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A Survey of Great Architecture Exhibitions

The CAC descends from a long line of comparable architectural displays, stretching back more than 200 years. In this two-part class, historian and author John Zukowsky leads a discussion on the traditions and trends in exhibiting architecture.

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Members Only: Architecture Essentials - Jan. 15

Chicago is synonymous with architecture and Chicagoans—especially CAC members—love to share their knowledge of architecture with family and friends. Come learn fun architecture facts you can share again and again at this members-only event.

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LEGO® Build Workshop: Bungalows

Chicago is home to more than 80,000 bungalows! We’ll visit our Chicago Gallery to learn about various housing types and discover what makes bungalows unique. Then, we’ll build a bungalow using LEGO® and studio materials.

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Family Build: CAC Chicago Gallery

Join us on Dec. 16 to build homes inspired by the Chicago Model! We'll walk through the CAC's Chicago Gallery to learn about neighborhood homes and create our own structures based on the building types.

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Mod & Merry: A Farnsworth House Holiday

Take a special bus ride with the CAC on December 15 to Plano, Illinois, to see Mies van der Rohe’s iconic Farnsworth House decked out in 1950s holiday décor. Step back in time and imagine yourself as Dr. Farnsworth’s holiday guest 60 years ago.

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Teen Open Studio - Dec. 13

Join us in the ArcelorMittal Design Studio on Thursdays from 5—7pm during the school year to get feedback and guidance on independent or competition projects. CPS students are eligible for a stipend.

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Member Double Discount Shopping Night

Enjoy a sweet treat while shopping Thursday night at the CAC Store. Get your holiday shopping done and take a walk through our warm galleries. Take advantage of a special 20% off during Member Double Discount Days, which runs from Dec. 3-9.

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Teen Open Studio - Dec. 6

Join us in the ArcelorMittal Design Studio on Thursdays from 5—7pm during the school year to get feedback and guidance on independent or competition projects. CPS students are eligible for a stipend.

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Read and Build: Bungalows

What makes your house a home? Together we'll explore the CAC's Chicago Gallery to learn about different types of homes, then make a mini-diorama. Drop in any time for multiple readings of “Home” by Carson Ellis.

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Teen Open Studio - Nov. 29

Join us in the ArcelorMittal Design Studio on Thursdays from 5—7pm during the school year to get feedback and guidance on independent or competition projects. CPS students are eligible for a stipend.

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Read and Build: Bridges

Chicago is known for its iconic bridges. Join us for a reading of “Twenty-One Elephants” by April Jones Prince, build a bridge from a variety of wacky supplies, and then test how much weight it can hold!

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Daytime Talk: Building the New Chicago City Model

The newly expanded Chicago City Model Experience features more than 4,000 buildings and interactive elements that help visitors interpret and understand the city. Come learn how the model was made and hear stories about the work behind the upgrades.

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Family Build: Bridges

Chicago is the birthplace of skyscrapers, but it's also known for its innovative bridges. We'll learn about three types of bridges and how engineers built them. We'll also build our own bridges and test their strength.

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LEGO® Build Workshop: Bridges

Chicago is the birthplace of skyscrapers, but it's also known for its innovative bridges. Learn about the Michigan Avenue bridge, a trunnion bascule that was invented right here in Chicago!

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Teen Open Studio - Nov. 15

Join us in the ArcelorMittal Design Studio on Thursdays from 5—7pm during the school year to get feedback and guidance on independent or competition projects. CPS students are eligible for a stipend.

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Teen Open Studio - Nov. 8

Join us in the ArcelorMittal Design Studio on Thursdays from 5—7pm during the school year to get feedback and guidance on independent or competition projects. CPS students are eligible for a stipend.

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Teen Open Studio - Nov. 1

Join us in the ArcelorMittal Design Studio on Thursdays from 5—7pm during the school year to get feedback and guidance on independent or competition projects. CPS students are eligible for a stipend.

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Read and Build: Skyscrapers

How do skyscrapers stand so tall? We'll explore tall buildings by taking a walk through the Drake Skyscraper Gallery at the CAC, listening to a reading of “Iggy Peck, Architect” by Andrea Beaty and building a mini skyscraper to take home.

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Residential Architecture: From Mansions to Modernism

Many of Chicago's most luxurious residential buildings are located along the lakefront. Historian Julia Bachrach will illuminate the fascinating story of Chicago's residential lakefront architecture from the 1870s through the 1970s in four two-hour classes…

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