Urban Walk between Art Deco and Postmodernism
Letter from Chicago: With the scent of chocolate in the air, Luise Müller explores the variety of architecture in the Windy City.
Dec 28, 2015
This time I am not writing from New York, but rather Chicago! An old college friend is working on his doctorate at the University of Chicago, so another friend from Toronto and I are visiting him for a weekend. Chicago is about two hours by plane from New York, and flights are available for 100 dollars and more. On Saturday we took a walking tour. It is interesting to see how the skyscrapers, the streets, and the river merge into one another, giving the cityscape its unique character. The University of Chicago on the other hand looks like the 19th century. In the evening, we went to the movies, and I noticed two things: the cinemas here are incredibly loud, and James Bond is still an incredible action hero.
On Sunday we took an architectural boat tour. From the vantage point of the Chicago River, all the various architectural styles of the buildings and skyscrapers were pointed out. According to our guide, the high-rise architecture is marked by three stylistic periods: the Art deco style of the 1920s and '30s, the midcentury modernism of the 1950s and '60s, and finally postmodernism since the 1980s.
Our guide also aired the mystery of the pervading chocolate scent that we had noticed the day before on our walk around the city: depending on how the wind is, you can often smell the Blommer Chocolate Company, which is north of the river.
On Monday morning there is still time for a short visit to the Chicago Art Institute, where you can see Impressionistic paintings by Degas and Monet next to Japanese craftsmanship and American furniture. Unfortunately, I can only see a small part of the collection because I have to fly back to New York in the early evening.