New York might be the City most Americans envision when conjuring up images of a lovely skyscrapers and urban architecture, but Chicago is where the foundation for the modern American skyline came from and we love it for this reason.
In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, groundbreaking architects like Daniel Burnham and Louis Sullivan used the city as an open canvas to develop the steel-frame skyscraper, and to a wider extent, the modern American metropolis. As we all know Chicago was devastated by the great fire in 1871, providing early modern architects an unbelievable opportunity to experiment and make their mark like no other.
The city was home to Frank Lloyd Wright, who lived and worked here in the late 1800s (shout out Oak Park & River Forest-Jon grew up there,) and also a welcoming abode for International Style architects cast out of the Bauhaus. For one of our favorites, Mies Van Der Rohe and others like him, it was the perfect place to let creative energy and experimentation loose.
Chicago’s early 20th century rise as an architectural testing ground came from a gathering of immense wealth, available space and civic daring. Today we are lucky to gaze at such an unbelievable assembly of magnificent buildings. You can travel the world and will come over and over to the same conclusion: Chicago’s skyline and architecture is the the greatest!