Put These 4 Spots on Your Open House Chicago Checklist

By Stephen Ostrowski | October 1, 2018 | Culture

Open House Chicago returns with another dose of awe-inspiring architectural exclusives.


From Wright to Gang and every visionary before, after and in between, it’s nearly impossible to overstate Chicago’s enduring impact on the architecture world. Open House Chicago, the Chicago Architecture Center’s annual event granting access to more than 250 sites (many of which are normally off-limits to the public), is the perfect demonstration of just that. “[It’s] the entire city rolling out a special kind of welcome mat for people to come in and just explore,” observes Eric Rogers, the CAC’s manager of OHC and community outreach. Below, a few of the South Shore resident’s must-see spots from this year’s showcase. Oct. 13-14

The landmark: Glessner House

The gorgeous stone facade of Glessner House.

“It’s the only work of architect Henry Hobson Richardson that’s still standing in Chicago, and it was a landmark work of residential architecture. The fact that it’s still there is the result of a preservation battle that actually gave rise to the existence of the Chicago Architecture Foundation.” 1800 S. Prairie Ave.

Wow-worthy vista: 300 East Randolph (Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois)

The stunning view from Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois.

“It’s a cool site if you care about structural engineering, because the floor of the space they open to the public used to be the roof of the building before it was extended upward. What’s nice is that even if the weather is poor during OHC, you’re usually below the cloud ceiling, which means you’re almost always guaranteed a good view out over Millennium and Grant Park.” 300 E. Randolph St.

Breaking barriers: First Church of Deliverance

First Church of Deliverance’s acid-green interior.

“The building actually started out its history as a chemical factory, and then there was a renovation done in the 1930s by Walter Bailey, who was the first licensed African-American architect in Illinois, and he turned it from a chemical factory into this Art Moderne church, although with some very peculiar details. There are no other Art Moderne churches in the city, and it really stands out.” 4315 S. Wabash Ave.

On the river: Civic Opera House

Looking out from the Lyric Opera stage at the Civic Opera House.

“We’re going to open up a couple of spaces there this year. One of them is a tenant amenity deck on the 15th floor. It’s on one of the setback levels, and it overlooks the river, which is super cool.” 20 N. Wacker Drive