Jennifer Lucente loves architecture. She loves the clean lines and curvilinear forms of modern buildings. She loves the fluted columns and geometric designs of art deco buildings. She even loves the sense of history and the utilitarian appeal that can be found in many of Chicago’s abandoned factories. Jennifer truly loves architecture, and so—when she began working at the Chicago Architecture Foundation last year—she decided to deepen her love of architecture by doing something no one else had ever done before. She decided to take every one of the Foundation’s 85 architectural tours in the span of a single year.
Jennifer sat down with a CondoDomain representative recently to talk more about the particulars of her whirlwind architecture tour:
What made you decide to spend a year attending each and every tour offered by the Chicago Architecture Foundation?
The overall reason I did the Around Chicago in 85 Tours challenge was to increase the awareness of the Chicago Architecture Foundation. To show people that we are a fun organization to be involved with no matter if you are a local or a tourist, a architecture professional or novice. And especially for locals, I wanted to show that it’s ok to do “touristy” things. I grew up in the area, my entire family is from Chicago, I’ve lived in the city for years…and I am taking these tours. I wanted to show people that there is no shame being a tourist in your own city.
Does one tour stand out as your favorite?
Tough question. One? No. There have been many: Elevated Architecture, Highlights by Bus, Downtown Deco, Pilsen by Bus, Bike the Lakefront, Wicker Park, Gold Coast, Bungalows by Bus, Farnsworth…I really could go on and on. If I could I would list every tour that I took.
Does one building stand out as your favorite?
That’s a tough question, too. The challenge introduced me to so much fascinating Chicago architecture I really can’t name just one building. But if I could name a few, I would say the Rookery, Fine Arts Building, Chicago Board of Trade and the Sullivan Center…but then there are also amazing neighborhoods that have fantastic architecture as a whole: Beverly, Alta Vista, Kenwood, West Jackson…again, I could go on and on.
Is there anything else you want to add?
I would just like to invite people to check out all of our tours at www.architecture.org. And while they are there they can see all of the other cool stuff we’re doing—programs, family events, high school education, the Shop.