Chicago Architecture Center (CAC) proudly announces that Open House Chicago 2021 will again offer its popular in-person, indoor site visits, providing rare behind-the-scenes access to more than 100 venues and over 30 Chicago neighborhoods and select suburbs, the weekend of October 16-17, 2021.
The festival has been expanded this year, with opportunities for engagement and guided exploration throughout October. OHC programs start with member-only and public preview programs on Sept. 28 and 29. Programming continues through October, along with the activation of the jam-packed Open House Chicago mobile app, which will be available on October 1. It features self-guided trails, ranging from the Obamas in Hyde Park to a Great Chicago Fire trail recognizing the 150th anniversary of the fire that changed our city’s history – as well as a complete list of sites available for in-person visits, audio and video, and tips on additional attractions across the city including shopping and restaurants.
Marking its 11th year, Open House Chicago is one of the largest architecture festivals in the world and continues to remain free and open to the public. An initial roster of Open House Chicago 2021 participating sites and virtual programming can be found by visiting www.openhousechicago.org; visit often for updates.
“We’re excited to bring back one of the city’s biggest events for the fall season,” said Lynn Osmond, president and CEO of the CAC. “Open House Chicago 2021 is now a month long. We’re excited to have our in-person weekend building festival back on October 16-17, featuring more than 100 sites once again throughout the city. Then, for all of October, people can enjoy the OHC app with over 30 neighborhood trails to explore, as well as a variety of dynamic community programs. Chicagoans love their city and Open House Chicago is a reflection of that passion.”
In-person visits return, with new sites for 2021 and Open House Chicago favorites.
In-person site visits, a popular feature of Open House Chicago, returns the weekend of October 16-17, offering behind-the-scenes access to over 100 sites in over 30 neighborhoods and select suburbs. Sites include storied cultural buildings, spectacular clubs, skyscrapers, breathtaking sacred spaces, and dining establishments. That weekend, the public is invited to visit the Chicago Architecture Center at 111 E. Wacker Drive, free of charge, for an informative overview of Chicago’s rich architectural legacy. Also on view is the critically acclaimed, new Helmut Jahn: Life + Architecture exhibition, honoring the late Chicago architect and style icon, in the Center’s stunning Drake Family Skyscraper Gallery through October 31.
New Open House Chicago Sites for 2021: Sable Hotel at Navy Pier, The Penthouse Hyde Park, Pullman National Monument Visitor Information Center, Bank of America Tower, 540 W. Madison, Herman Miller Showroom, Quinn Chapel, Illinois Holocaust Museum and the return of Orchestra Hall and Union League Chicago (Members Only).
Open House Chicago Site Favorites Return: Boxville, The Forum, Chinese American Museum of Chicago, McCormick Bridgehouse & Chicago River Museum, Seventeenth Church of Christ Scientist, Sky-Line Club, Wintrust’s Grand Banking Hall, Growing Home’s Wood Street Urban Farm, Muslim Community Center, Alfred Caldwell Lily Pool, International Museum of Surgical Science, Holy Name Cathedral, Nichols Tower at Homan Square (Original Sears Tower), Bahá’í House of Worship, Clarke House Museum, Glessner House, McCormick Place Rooftop Farm, Irish American Heritage Center and many more!
For the most current list of participating sites, visit openhousechicago.org. Open House Chicago sites are free and do not require a reservation. Get the latest news and fun facts about Open House Chicago by following the Chicago Architecture Center social media platforms, Twitter (@chiarchitecture), Instagramhttps://www.instagram.com/chiarchitecture, and Facebook (facebook.com/chiarchitecture).
Select Open House Chicago sites are reserved for CAC Members. Become a CAC member at openhousechicago.org/membership to receive a Priority Access Pass, which gives exclusive access to Members Only sites and the ability to skip the lines at busier Open House Chicago sites. CAC Members also enjoy year-round CAC benefits.
At CAC, safety for Open House Chicago in-person participants is our priority. The Chicago Architecture Center is following Illinois Department of Public Health guidelines requiring the use of masks indoors. Individual OHC sites may have additional requirements for entry, such as proof of vaccination, a negative COVID-19 test or other measures.
Open House Chicago 2021 mobile app, including Sites, Self-Guided ‘Trails’ and additional exclusive content will be available October 1.
Throughout the month, participants are encouraged to discover even more of this great city with self-guided exploration of 30 themed neighborhood ‘trails’ via the free OHC 2021 app for mobile devices. The complete OHC site and trail content, including audio, images, and video, will be available for download via the App Store (for iOS devices) and Google Play Store (for Android devices) as of October 1. OHC participants will be able discover curated experiences, at their leisure, and learn more about buildings and sites of interest in each neighborhood, thanks to our ‘Explore like a Local’ section that includes additional recommendations for places to eat, shop and visit within our participating neighborhoods. Unless otherwise noted, OHC trails are easy-to-intermediate bicycle rides or walks designed to last an hour or less.
New Open House Chicago Self-Guided Trails in 2021 include:
· Obamas in Hyde Park: Self-guided tour in Kenwood and Hyde Park areas highlighting the Obamas’ lives in these historic neighborhoods.
· Great Chicago Fire: Self-guided tour recognizing the 150th Anniversary of the fire that changed our city’s history (driving or biking trail).
· Helmut Jahn: Self-guided tour of several sites forming a downtown loop of Jahn buildings and CAC exhibit Helmut Jahn: Life + Architecture.
· Uptown Entertainment District: Self-guided tour of historic entertainment sites clustered near North Broadway and Lawrence Avenue in Uptown.
· Hutchinson Street Historic District: Historic homes on Hutchinson in Uptown.
· Preservation Across Chicago: Self-guided tour of sites discussing current preservation wins and on-going campaigns in Chicago.
Returning Self-Guided Trail Favorites include the ‘First Family Favorites’ trail showcasing Mayor Lightfoot and First Lady Amy Eshleman’s tour of Logan Square, “Beer Baron Row” in Wicker Park and “A Women’s History of Lincoln Park.”
Free Virtual Programming throughout the month
The CAC will also host a suite of online programs beginning in late September and running through October as part of OHC 2021. Audience members will enjoy virtual discussions with design experts, historians, and community leaders about Chicago’s architectural legacy from the comfort of home. Whether their interests lie in the city’s expansive South Side parks or the new buildings that have defied all odds and managed to still be built during the pandemic, there will be exciting programming for all.
Open House Chicago is a celebration of Chicago’s neighborhoods and communities with 30 community partners helping make the event each year.
CAC thanks its Sponsors and Partners of Open House Chicago 2021: Since 2018, Wintrust has been the Presenting Sponsor for Open House Chicago. Additional support is provided by the National Endowment for the Arts, ComEd, TAWANI Property Management, and the Terra Foundation for American Art. OHC 2021 Partners are Choose Chicago, the Chicago Transit Authority and Open House Worldwide. OHC 2021 Media Sponsors are Chicago Magazine, the Chicago Reader, WBEZ 91.5 Chicago and Vocalo Radio.
Open House Chicago is part of a worldwide movement of free open house events that began in London in 1992. More than 50 cities worldwide hold similar weekend festivals and Open House Chicago is one of largest events of its kind globally.
About the Chicago Architecture Center
The Chicago Architecture Center (CAC) is a nonprofit organization founded in 1966, dedicated to inspiring people to discover why design matters. A national leader in architecture and design education, the CAC offers tours, programs, exhibitions and more that are part of a dynamic journey of lifelong learning.
Opened to the public in 2018, its riverfront location is in the heart of the city, where Michigan Avenue meets the Chicago River, featuring nearly 10,000 square feet of exhibition space with views of a century of iconic skyscrapers.
Through partnerships with schools and youth-serving organizations, the CAC reaches approximately 30,000 K–12 students annually, while teacher workshops provide educators with tools and resources they need to advance STEM curricula in their classrooms. Committed to serving under-represented communities in construction, engineering and design professions, the CAC offers many of its education programs—and all of its programs for teens—at no cost to participants.
CAC programs for adults and members include talks with acclaimed authors and practicing architects, in-depth presentations on issues and trends in urbanism, and classes unlocking subjects related to the built environment.
Proceeds from programs, tours and the CAC Design Store, as well as from grants, sponsorships and donations, support its educational mission. Visit architecture.org to learn more and follow @chiarchitecture and #chiarchitecture on social media.