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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. 

Biennial Teen Studio: Hamilton Park

In these 3-hour “master-class” studios, teens will work alongside local architects and designers on a mini-design challenge inspired by the Chicago Architecture Biennial. Participants will learn about the Biennial’s themes then build, sketch, photograph…

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Teen Open Studio - October 26

Are you a CPS student looking for some feedback and guidance on your project for the BP Competition? Join us in the ArcelorMittal Design Studio on Thursdays from 5-7pm, Oct. 19 through Dec. 14 (excluding Nov. 23).

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Biennial Teen Studio: Hyde Park Art Center

In these 3-hour “master-class” studios, teens will work alongside local architects and designers on a mini-design challenge inspired by the Chicago Architecture Biennial. Participants will learn about the Biennial’s themes then build, sketch, photograph…

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Biennial Teen Studio: Marillac Social Center

In these 3-hour “master-class” studios, teens will work alongside local architects and designers on a mini-design challenge inspired by the Chicago Architecture Biennial. Participants will learn about the Biennial’s themes then build, sketch, photograph…

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Biennial Teacher Training - October 4

Bring the Chicago Architecture Biennial into your classroom this fall! Teachers are invited to attend a free training from 5-7pm to learn more about the Biennial’s themes and how it can support teaching and learning.

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Read and Build: Home Sweet Home

Homes come in all shapes and sizes. Drop in any time between 9am and noon for multiple readings of “Clancy & Millie and the Very Fine House” by Libby Gleeson and Freya Blackwood, then build your own home with unique features. Together, we’ll create…

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Biennial Teacher Training - September 27

Bring the Chicago Architecture Biennial into your classroom this fall! Teachers are invited to attend a free training from 5-7pm to learn more about the Biennial’s themes and how it can support teaching and learning.

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Members Only Travel Program: Columbus, Indiana

CAF invites you to discover the many architectural treasures of Columbus, Indiana—home to more than 75 buildings designed by internationally celebrated architects. Join us Sept. 7-9 on an exploration of works by I.M. Pei, Eliel Saarinen, Harry Weese…

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Saturday Studio: August

Join us from 12-3pm in our ArcelorMittal Design Studio to work with architects, designers and professional mentors from the Chicago area. These hands-on studios help develop basic architecture and design skills while solving real-world challenges.

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Behind-the-Scenes: The House of Tomorrow

Travel with CAF on August 26 to Beverly Shores, Indiana for an exclusive tour of the legendary House of Tomorrow. See the major restoration underway and visit a neighboring World's Fair model home. We will depart CAF by coach at 9am and return at 5pm…

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Bike Talk: Chicago's Cycling Future

Join us for an evening of bikes and brews at Revolution Brewing. Local experts will give rapid-fire presentations on Chicago’s bike culture and the state of cycling in our city, followed by an audience Q&A. Beer and a light buffet included!

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Girls Build! Parks and Playgrounds

Girls ages 11 to 14 are invited to learn about landscape architecture and design during this 5-day camp. They will explore parks and playgrounds near the Loop and design their own public park or backyard in our studio.

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Read and Build: Bug Houses

Join us for a grass-hopping good time as we draw, cut and paint our very own bug houses, created for and inspired by insects. Drop-in any time between 9am and noon for multiple readings of “Roberto the Insect Architect” by Nina Laden.

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Seminar: Smartphone Photography 101

Step up your smartphone photography game during this walk-and-shoot seminar in the heart of the city! Local author, CAF docent and avid Instagrammer Molly Page will help you take better architecture photos with any smartphone.

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Saturday Studio: July

Join us from 12-3pm in our ArcelorMittal Design Studio to work with architects, designers and professional mentors from the Chicago area. These hands-on studios help develop basic architecture and design skills while solving real-world challenges.

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Members Only: Lake Cruise and Fireworks

Our members-only cruise is your chance to take in the city's architecture from a different perspective—on Lake Michigan. Join CAF for an exclusive architecture cruise highlighting Chicago's magnificent skyline, the Lake Michigan shoreline and the river…

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Saturday Studio: June

Join us from 12-3pm in our ArcelorMittal Design Studio to work with architects, designers and professional mentors from the Chicago area. These hands-on studios help develop basic architecture and design skills while solving real-world challenges.

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Read and Build: Building Science

Think and create like a scientist as we explore the questions, “What are buildings are made of?” and “How do they stand so tall?” Drop in any time between 9am and noon for multiple readings of “Ada Twist, Scientist” by Andrea Beaty.

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LEGO® Build Workshop: Auditorium Building

Theaters have been important in Chicago for many years. The Auditorium Building is more than 125 years old! We'll go on a short walking tour (weather permitting), learn about how function and aesthetic work together, then design our own theaters out of…

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Motawi Tileworks Trunk Show

Join us in the CAF Store from 11am to 3pm for an exclusive event with Motawi Tileworks. You'll enjoy special discounts and a presentation from the company’s founder.

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Read and Build: Construction Site Shapes

Trucks on a construction site have a lot of jobs! They push and pull, lift and twist, and scoop and pour. We'll trace shapes to create trucks, test out tools and build with blocks. Drop in between 9am and 12pm for readings of "Goodnight, Goodnight Construction…

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Design Dialogues: Where We'll Live in 2050

What does urban living look like in the future? Join CAF and the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning (CMAP) as we host a discussion with policy and design experts about the way our city and suburbs might change to become more livable in the coming…

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Switch on Summer

Watch Buckingham Fountain spring to life at ComEd’s annual "Switch on Summer" event! Listen to live music and take part in free family activities from 4-7pm and admire the fountain when it gets turned on at 6pm.

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Members Only: "Aladdin" Reception

Join us and take in the mystical world of Aladdin! We’ll start with a presentation from a member of the Aladdin production team who will discuss sets, costumes and more. After the presentation, enjoy the Cadillac Palace Suite for a reception before…

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Book Signing - "Chicago: Classic Photographs"

The new book "Chicago: Classic Photographs" showcases 100 images of the city taken over the past century by revered photographers. Enjoy a tour through the collection and a book signing with editors Richard Cahan and Michael Williams.

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Donor Travel Program: Bentonville, Arkansas

Join CAF for a curated trip to Bentonville, Arkansas. We'll visit the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art (including a Frank Lloyd Wright-designed house) and the Thorncrown Chapel. Lodging will be at the trendy 21c Museum Hotel. Travelers may add an…

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Saturday Studio: April

Join us from 12-3pm in our ArcelorMittal Design Studio to work with architects, designers and professional mentors from the Chicago area. These hands-on studios help develop basic architecture and design skills while solving real-world challenges.

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Chicago's Landscape Legacy with Julia Bachrach

Chicago has a tremendous legacy of landscape design. In this four-part educational series, historian Julia Bachrach leads discussions on the evolution of landscape architecture in Chicago and takes us on a half-day tour to influential sites.

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Read and Build: Animal Homes

Creatures of all shapes and sizes have homes. Come build a home that is just right for your favorite animal! We’ll make a mini-diorama and create an animal out of clay. Drop in any time between 9am and 12pm for multiple readings of "Home" by Carson…

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Saturday Studio: March

Explore social impact design from 12-3pm with guest architect Ashley Rodriguez, associate at Demonica Kemper Architects. We’ll see examples of her work, go on a walking tour in the Loop and use sketching and bubble diagrams to develop our own designs…

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Building Tall: How High Can We Go?

Sixty years ago Frank Lloyd Wright envisioned a mile high tower for Chicago. Finally, we have entered the era of the mega-tall skyscraper (2,000+ feet). How high can buildings possibly go? Our expert speakers tackle this and more.

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Design Dialogues: Whose Lakefront is it Anyway?

The Public Trust Doctrine introduced Chicagoans to the notion of an open, public lakefront. While many agree with the doctrine, the past century has been filled with battles over the land. Our panel discusses our lakefront’s past and future.

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Read and Build: Build Strong

What makes a building strong? Touch materials like steel and concrete, then design your own house to keep out the big bad wolf! Drop in any time between 9am and 12pm for readings of "The Three Little Pigs: An Architectural Tale" by Steven Guarnaccia.

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Saturday Studio: February

Join us from 12-3pm in our ArcelorMittal Design Studio to work with architects, designers and professional mentors from the Chicago area. These hands-on studios help develop basic architecture and design skills while solving real-world challenges.

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Daytime Talk: Uptown Theatre

Hear about the past and future of the Uptown Theatre, a movie palace at the corner of Lawrence and Broadway. Designed by Rapp and Rapp, the elaborate Balaban and Katz Uptown Theatre has remained shuttered since 1981.

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Book Club: Nature's Metropolis

Join this two-part book club for a discussion of William Cronon’s trailblazing environmental work. Nature's Metropolis looks at how 19th-century Chicago became a bustling commercial hub due to unique ecological and economic circumstances.

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Read and Build: Gizmos and Gadgets

Are you an inventor? Construct a great invention from odds and ends, test it out and celebrate the flops and failures. Drop in any time between 9am and 12pm to enjoy multiple readings of "Rosie Revere, Engineer" by Andrea Beaty.

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Daytime Talk: Micro Apartments

Join Susan King from Harley Ellis Devereaux as she discusses Lake Street Studios, the award-winning West Loop residence she designed in 2015, and why she believes micro units are vital to sustaining our city’s social fabric.

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LEGO® Build Workshop: Wabash Tower

In this month's LEGO® Build, we'll investigate Wabash Tower, a "vertical campus" for college students with classrooms, dormitories and a cafeteria. Join us from 12–3pm for a mini-walking tour to Wabash Tower, then recreate it using LEGO®.

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Winter Fun Festival

Oh, the weather outside is frightful, but we’re having lots of fun at CAF! Drop in any time between 10am and 2pm for a special winter celebration full of hands-on activities and, of course, some hot chocolate with marshmallows. We'll design and build…

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Architect Talk: Reimagining the Public Library

“Composition, Contrast, Complexity” is a perfect summary of the rich sensory journey visitors experience in a space designed by Mecanoo Architects. It’s also the title of founding partner Francine Houben’s book about the Dutch firm. Join Houben…

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Read and Build: Larry Gets Lost in Chicago

Drop in any time between 9am and 12pm to enjoy multiple readings of "Larry Gets Lost in Chicago" by Michael Mullin and John Skewes. Join us in turning our city into a scavenger hunt as we look for Larry at iconic Chicago destinations.

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Daytime Talk: The National

Downtown Chicago is currently witnessing a burst of historic restorations. One such project is The National, a renovation of the former Chicago Public Schools headquarters building at 125 S. Clark. Lead architect Aric Lasher of HBRA Architects will let…

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Donor Travel Program: Mexico City

On this seven-day journey through Mexico City, you’ll marvel at the pyramids of Teotihuacan and explore the new architecture of the city. The trip includes a journey to the Palacio des Bellas Artes to admire the Tiffany stage curtain and take in a folk…

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Design Dialogues: Future of the Chicago River

Using the recent "Our Great Rivers" report as a framework, we’ll take an intriguing look at the future of the Chicago River, focusing on both recent construction and the near- and long-term plans for the river’s use and look. Great Rivers Chicago…

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Book Club: Richard Nickel Dangerous Years

Don’t miss this rare opportunity to experience a book club led by the author himself! Richard Cahan, author of "Richard Nickel Dangerous Years: What He Saw and What He Wrote" tells the tale of how Chicago photographer and urban crusader Richard Nickel…

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CAF Scavenger Hunt

CAF’s popular Scavenger Hunt returns in Fall 2016. This year, in honor of CAF’s 50th anniversary, we’ll be adding a few twists! The Scavenger Hunt will again feature clues spread throughout Chicago, and you’ll have four weeks (October 11 through…

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Read and Build: The Day the Crayons Quit

Drop in any time between 9am and 12pm to enjoy multiple readings of "The Day the Crayons Quit" by Drew Daywalt. Ignite your little ones' imagination as we play with color and re-imagine our city with purple trees, pink taxis and rainbow skyscrapers!

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Lifelong Learning: Architecture Studio Basics

With approachable instructors and architecture professionals, we’ll break down the basic studio skill sets that architects utilize every day. It’s the perfect opportunity to prep for your upcoming vacation or to brush up on techniques you learned…

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Current Projects: Big Plans on Campus

A flurry of new buildings and restorations has come to Chicago’s university campuses. Hear from designers who are completing or have completed projects recently at Northwestern University and University of Chicago: Bruce Kuwabara (KPMB Architects, Toronto)…

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Mobile Photography for Architecture 101

Step up your smartphone photography game just in time for Open House Chicago on October 15-16! From 9:30am to 2:30pm, our seminar puts you in touch with experts in mobile photography who’ll help you take better architecture photos with any smartphone…

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Daytime Talk: Saving Harley Clarke Mansion

Evanston History Center’s Kris Hartzell and and Evanston Plan Commission’s Jack Weiss share the historical significance of the Harley Clarke Mansion, a Tudor-style home designed by Richard Powers and built in 1927. We’ll discuss the current demolition…

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Behind the Scenes Tour: Logan Square

Go behind the scenes of two of Logan Square’s most exciting recent housing developments. We’ll visit Brininstool + Lynch’s Logan Square L Luxury apartments and Wheeler Kearns’ MiCA towers, for an exclusive tour with the architects and those involved…

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Saturday Studio: September

Teens ages 13—18 will explore a new theme each month and work with great architects, designers, engineers and mentors from the Chicago area! In our ArcelorMittal Design Studio, we'll offer hands-on, studio-based workshops, fun design challenges and…

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Read and Build: A Few Blocks

Drop in any time between 9am and 12pm to enjoy multiple readings of "A Few Blocks" by Cybele Young. Together we'll learn about architecture through building block activities.

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Back to School Block Party

Celebrate the beginning of the school year with CAF at our block party—featuring actual building blocks! Drop in anytime between 10am and 2pm on the Saturday before Labor Day, bring your family and friends and join us for fun architecture and design…

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Saturday Studio: Interior Design

This Saturday Studio will be led by Oak Park Station lead Evan Watson from FitzGerald Associates Architects. Alongside the architect, students will learn what it takes to make a building beautiful. Conceptualizing everything from doorknobs to draperies…

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