Architect Bruce Graham was lunching with colleagues in the late 1960s when he had an “Aha!” moment. He suddenly envisioned the shape he wanted to create for Sears Tower. But how to get his lunch companions to visualize it? In a scene right out of Mad Men, he picked up a fistful of cigarettes and extended some of them from his hand in a staggered profile. You’ll probably never see Sears (now Willis) Tower in quite the same way again!
This is just one of the many stories that animate Geoffrey Baer’s new multimedia tour through the skyscraper canyons of Chicago’s downtown Loop in Chicago’s Loop: A Walking Tour. Thousands of people pass through the Loop every day without really paying attention to the great artistry of the buildings all around them, and without knowing the fascinating, fun and even tragic stories behind these buildings.
In an area barely ten square blocks, Geoffrey traces the entire history of the skyscraper in the city where it was born. We start with some of the first skyscrapers ever built. And we end with the newest tall towers just beyond the borders of the Loop, including Aqua with its undulating balconies, the jewel-like Spertus Institute with its faceted glass façade, and Donald Trump’s gleaming condo and hotel tower.