Open House Chicago is an annual event that provides a unique opportunity for the public to explore typically restricted architectural treasures across the city. Open House Chicago gives a unique look at usually closed-off architecture.
This initiative, organized by the Chicago Architecture Center, allows visitors to gain unprecedented access to iconic landmarks, modern marvels, and historical buildings that are otherwise off-limits. The event's significance lies in its ability to foster a deeper appreciation for architecture and the rich history of Chicago's built environment.
Open House Chicago was inspired by the Open House concept that originated in London in 1992. The event gained popularity as a means to promote public engagement with architecture. In 2011, Chicago joined this global movement, offering a weekend of free architectural exploration, guided tours, and educational programs.
One of the primary highlights of Open House Chicago is the access it provides to architectural wonders that are not typically open to the public. Now, Open House Chicago gives a unique look at usually closed-off architecture.
Visitors can step inside historic skyscrapers, private residences, churches, museums, and government buildings. This behind-the-scenes glimpse showcases the diversity and innovation of Chicago's architectural landscape.
As Linda and Ronald traveled home on Stony Island Avenue throughout the years, they claimed to have passed the Avalon Regal Theater"hundreds" of times. They have always admired the structure from the outside, but on Saturday, Open House Chicago 2023, a yearly, self-guided history and architecture festival that takes place throughout the city, satisfied their curiosity about what lay inside.
The duo was astounded by the delicate tile work and mosaics and felt as though they were "looking through a window." The highlight of their day, according to the couple, was getting to explore the Bronzeville theater.
The over 40-year Hyde Park residents also visited some of the other open house locations before concluding their journey at the Chatham art studio Artists on the Nine.
The studio's original terra cotta flooring was covered in artwork from a variety of artists, but Candice Pope was the star of the show because she was entrusted with honoring the legendary Chicago gospel singer Mahalia Jackson.
Interior of the Avalon Regal Theater
Pope gave a rendition of "The Lord's Prayer" in the style that Jackson once sang it before taking questions regarding Jackson's life and career. Despite the tangible works of art, she claimed she didn't feel singled out as a singer.
The Forum, a former social hall beside the CTA's 43rd Street Green Line L station that previously hosted Nat King Cole performances and meetings for civil rights organizations, also featured music as a highlight.
The One City Jazz Band performed in the hall as Bernard Loyd, the founder and president of Bronzeville community development organization Urban Juncture, Inc., spoke to the audience.
Loyd said he likes the title "steward" of The Forum, whose repair he has been in charge of overseeing since his organization purchased the building in 2011. In the upcoming years, he plans to reopen it and use as much of the old building as possible to restore it to its former function as a meeting and gathering hall.
Open House Chicago gives a unique look at usually closed-off architecture. Open House Chicago also serves as a celebration of Chicago's rich architectural legacy. It encourages people to explore, learn, and appreciate the beauty and history embedded in the city's diverse architectural structures. This event continues to be a source of inspiration, education, and community engagement for residents and visitors alike.