Inside Architectural Masterpieces at Open House Chicago

From downtown to the historic Pullman District, architecture lovers and history buffs can explore mansions, churches and breweries (150 spaces!) during the free citywide festival.

Photo by: David Suarez Built in 1924 for Sheridan Trust and Savings Bank, the 12-story neoclassical Bridgeview Bank in Uptown was used in the John Dillinger 2009 biopic Public Enemies. Two 50-ton doors secure a vault of 10,000 safety deposit boxes in the basement. The ceiling of the banking hall was restored in 1977. Designed by Marshall and Fox. Location: 4753 N. Broadway Ave.

We can't help it: We're architecture and design geeks. And we've been waiting for this fall weekend festival to indulge our appetite for buildings — all kinds of buildings. Chicago Architecture Foundation's third-annual Open House Chicago is more than a tour of facades and plaques and a few witty quips from guides: It's about as comprehensive a walking study of the culture, history and design of spaces you'll find in a major architectural outpost.

And it's a big event, with 150 spaces packed into a Saturday and Sunday where you get inside the bones of art deco banks, gothic cathedrals, landmark hotels and famous buildings designed by architectural geniuses (Louis Sullivan, Frank Lloyd Wright, Alfred S. Alschuler, Holabird & Root), and a few others just as creative, but perhaps unfamiliar to you. 

A couple of our favorite, unconventional spots include the Goose Island Beer Company, built in 1995 on the Near West Side, and the 1924 neoclassical Bridgeview Bank in Uptown. Tip: We recommend you map out an itinerary from the list on the website; the Open House covers a massive swath of Chicago, from the South Shore to Rogers Park and everything in between. 

Open House Chicago, presented by Chicago Architecture Foundation. Free to the public Saturday and Sunday, Oct. 19-20, citywide. Check out the entire site list and hours. No need to register. Bundle up and go!

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