Tag Archives: Architecture

Louis Sullivan saved Chicago

After the Great Chicago Fire of 1871, architects rushed to rebuild the city, blanketing downtown in that hideous Beaux-Arts style, egged on by the derrière garde World’s Fair aesthetic also known as The White City. (Fun fact: Louis Sullivan had a building in the Chicago World’s Fair—it was fabulous, brightly colored and original…and it pissed […]

There are no lava lamps inside St. Joseph the Betrothed Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church

The bus to the church took us to the farthest western border of Chicago, meandering through a maze of dead mall parking lots and past a concrete replica of the Leaning Tower of Pisa. It felt like we were traveling, well, as close to traveling as feasible without a car, during a pandemic. I had […]

The mid-century modern intelligence quotient

We’re still in a quarantine in Chicago but restrictions have loosened up a bit—Quarantine Lite™ I guess you’d call it. I’ve ventured on a few train and bus rides and yesterday I was able to visit my family (from a safe distance) for the first time in four months. On top of that, I got […]

Home sweet Monster Tudor home

In 2014 someone tried to steal my apartment building. Her name was Tanya, a petite and nonthreatening-looking woman who had briefly owned a unit in the building that was foreclosed on in the 90’s.  One day she showed up in our lobby with a locksmith and he was already mid-way through changing our door and […]

Chicago’s north side bungalows: architecture for social distancing

Post WWI in Chicago, this was the dream: move out from crowded downtown apartment buildings to far flung neighborhoods, into bungalows. There are bungalow districts all over Chicago.  I live near the West Ridge Bungalow District and these photos are from the blocks around Talman and Arthur streets. (Pro tip #1: if you happen to […]

Mundelein College: resourceful nuns to the rescue

It was considered a skyscraper; a skyscraper college for Catholic women. And what did a Catholic women’s college need? Nuns, of course, to administer the college and teach the students. The nuns, like they so often have been, were ingenious heroines of Mundelien College. But before you hear about the nuns, you need to know […]

The dress code is linen at Frank Lloyd Wright’s Unity Temple

HOB and I used to take a staycation every spring.  We’d run around Chicago, visiting far away neighborhoods, going to concerts and plays, and walking around with an architecture book doing self-guided tours.  On several of these vacations we took the train out to Oak Park, our visits always seeming to coincide with an event […]

A slacker pilgrim’s guide to Nidaros cathedral in Trondheim

Did you know Norway has a pilgrimage?  Well, I didn’t until we stumbled on it. The pilgrimage is called St. Olav Ways—“ways” because you can choose one of several routes, as long as you end up at Nidaros Cathedral in Trondheim. Here I am at Old Aker church in Olso next to kilometer marker 639 (that […]

All Saints Episcopal Church, allow me to introduce you to Martha Graham’s Appalachian Spring

The way I understand art is through other art.  Like I don’t just look at something and say to myself, “Oh here we have a rare example of Midwestern Stick Style architecture from the 1880’s.” What I actually think is “Oh here we have an example of Martha Graham’s Appalachian Spring in the form of […]

The Unfinished Chapels of Batalha: architecture shocks sky

There’s a monastery in the town of Batalha that looks as it is carved from crystalized honey.  One of my finer life choices was to spend an entire day looking at it. (Okay, full disclosure, I probably would have crammed in at least one other monastery in our itinerary that day had the bus schedules […]