Home of the Practically Perfect Pink Phlox and other native plants for pollinators

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Wish You Were Here, Part 2




Dear Gardenblogging Friends,

We are having a great time and find our heads in the clouds, as we run all over this wonderful and big city! Not meaning to sound too chamber of commerce in my praise of Chicago, but this city's architecture really is spectacular. All you need to do is look up and there are any number of late 19th Century and 20th century buildings.

So, we decided to treat ourselves to an Architecture River Tour... The Chicago River forms a Y with north and south sections and the tour travels up and down and under the bridges. It was both, entertaining and informative. Our tour guide was a practicing architect and a life long resident of Chicago. With every word he spoke, you knew he loved his city! He introduced himself as Irish and believe me, this guy had kissed the Blarney Stone! He ended the tour by reciting Sandburg's poem "Chicago" with its famous description of Chicago as the "Hog Butcher for the World/Tool Maker, Stacker of Wheat/Player with Railroads and the Nation's Freight Handler,/Stormy, Husky, Brawling, and City of the Big Shoulders." It was fabulous...You would have loved it!

Oh, btw, that's the Trump Tower under construction, I thought he was in NYC!




More postcard moments...if you don't mind!


The sky was beautiful and the clouds reflecting on the many glass and steel buildings was spectacular.


The Chicago Tribune Building, in Neo-classical style built in the late 20's. This was the controversial first place winner for a contest to design a beautiful Tribune building! Saarinen, who went on to design the Gateway Arch in St. Louis, came in second! Apparently, a Neo-classical choice ruffled more than a few feathers in the design world!

I am particularly fond of the onion dome on top of the Hotel Inter-Continental in the building across that delicious blue sky!


Here's a better photo of the Trib building, in all its Neo-Classicism!






More clouds and blue sky.

Sears Tower (1974) A very tall building! But a taller building is being built!

Lake Point Towers (1968) This building was designed and built by two architects who had never built anything prior to this! Now that's inspiring!

333 Wacker Drive 1983 (both photos) A beautiful building and the reflection is spectacular...Is it me or do you think~~ whales and dolphins when you see the building from this angle?


It reflects so delightfully!


I have no idea what building this is, but it is fabulously groomed!

Another steal and concrete beauty...perfect partners for the cold steel blue of Lake Michigan.


More glass reflecting the gorgeous day!

Inland Steel Building (1958)

Gardenblogging friends, there were more dramatic buildings! I would gladly identify each building, the design style and the architect, but the view was so distracting...I can't remember them all and more importantly, you probably need a break!

Here's what I remember: Each of these and many other buildings represent the best architectural design movements in the US and the world.... styles represented are the Chicago School, International Style, Art Deco, Post Modern and Deconstructionist. Architects included Mies van der Rohe, Frank Lloyd Wright, Louis Sullivan and others.

I can tell you that the steel-girder skyscraper was invented in Chicago and that presently under construction is a structure that is unimaginable...the Chicago Spire... 2000 feet tall with 150 floors! The notion of a 2000 foot tall building is incredible. It's spiral shaped* it's fluid, it nature inspired, it's revolutionary....there are other words to describe it, but gee, this is a pg blog! Follow the link, the architect is a better story teller. It's worth a look! Trust me, it is!


Wish you were here to see it all!


Gail


"We struck the home trail now, and in a few hours were in that astonishing Chicago–a city where they are always rubbing a lamp, and fetching up the genii, and contriving and achieving new impossibilities. It is hopeless for the occasional visitor to try to keep up with Chicago–she outgrows her prophecies faster than she can make them. She is always a novelty; for she is never the Chicago you saw when you passed through the last time."

Mark Twain "Life on the Mississippi," 1883


* photo/image credit

44 comments:

  1. Hi Gail,
    Wow, what a lovely paean to Chicago, which is one of my favorite cities! I go back there a long ways and most recently used to travel there regularly for work ... the architecture is simply stunning. I kept expecting you to bring up Wright and Sullivan, and hoped you had a shot of the Monadnock (sp?) building Sullivan designed. Back in the 80's when I was in grad school, I used to visit friends in Chicago and Oak Park and got to see a lot of great Wright/Sullivan buildings. That's my style ... though I like a lot of the more modern stuff in Chicago.

    Great post and it made me so nostalgic to get back to Chicago ... I wonder if I have enough Marriott points to get a night or two at the one downtown, hehe.

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  2. The picture of the building and ivy growing on it looks very good, however I am immediately remembering 'I legend' (awfull Will Smith movie), where Nature overtook what belongs to her, after city was abandoned.

    Have a good time!

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  3. Gorgeous photos. We don't have any skyscrapers here in the Phoenix area, so I love looking at photos of them. The spiral building will be unbelievable.
    Aiyana

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  4. That building was awesome! I especially liked the panaramas but could not live 140 floors up! Whew! I do think the sky beautiful!

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  5. The Chicago Spire reminds me of those fabulously sculptural buildings in Dubai that I have only seen online.

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  7. Amazing photos, Gail! They make me want to jump in the car and drive north right now! I hadn't heard of this new spiral building--that's pretty awesome, though I don't know if I could go up in such a building (I'm afraid of heights).
    My daughter just recently asked me why Chicago was called the "City of Big Shoulders." She was pretty impressed when I quoted the Sandburg poem:)

    This is a great ad for the Chicago Spring Fling! Maybe we can see some of the landscaping downtown.

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  8. Fabulous shots of the buildings, Gail! I'm looking forward to seeing them for myself at the Spring Fling!

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  9. Gail ~ What beautiful pictures of some legendary architecture. I think my favorite is 333 Wacker Drive and after that Lake Point Drive (I guess it's the curves I like). If only I could convince my crowd/traffic hating husband that we should take a trip there. Until then, I will enjoy your virtual postcard pictures.
    ~Cindy

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  10. AWESOME pics of the great buildings
    and the sky sure was perfect!!

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  11. Dear Friends,


    I am out today but will respond to your great comments this evening,

    Gail

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  12. Spetacular postcards Gail!
    The Spire video was awesome! The Tribune building reminds me of my European days! 333 Wacker drive looks more like a ship then a building to me! When in New York, I had neck cramps from looking upward with your postcards, no neck pains! lol...

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  13. Gail, Chicago is truly a beautiful city. Every time we go, I am amazed by the skyscraper view. So glad you enjoyed your trip. It shows thru in every word you write. And thanks for 'taking' us along.

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  14. I can honestly say I've never thought about dolphins or whales when looking at the 333 Building. It's one of my favorites, as it fits its site so well and it literally & figuratively reflects the Merchandise Mart across the river. I was lucky enough to watch the Independence Day fireworks from Lake Point Towers once. That is one funky building, inside & out. I went to law school just a couple of blocks from Sears Tower, so I went there a lot to have lunch in the food court, but man, it was terrible to walk there on a cold, windy winter day. You, by contrast, had perfect weather. I'm reserving judgment on the spire. There's been so much construction in the South Loop and south of Grant Park that I hardly recognize that area any more.

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  15. You must have had quite the tour. :-) That new spiral building is quite the "landmark," isn't it?

    I'm still waiting to take the Frank Lloyd Wright walking tour! We so rarely get to Chicago these days. My husband was born and raised in Oak Park. Great memories. Interesting place. Have a great day!!

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  16. How did you get such perfect weather with such blue skies, Gail? I need to get to Chicago at a nice time of year...and go on one of the tours with Philo.
    I'm jealous of MMD - Lake Point Tower has been my favorite building since it first appeared but I've only seen it from a distance. I notice you don't have any glorious photos of Marina City Towers - they sort of scream "Sixties" instead of saying "Architecture".

    That Chicago spire is a hoot. Well, in Austin we have the Frost Building. Some people in my family immediately noticed that the top of it looks like nose-hair trimmers. Architects must use a lot of personal electrical appliances.

    Your trip is fun for all of us, Gail!

    Annie at the Transplantable Rose

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  17. IVG,

    I have several more photos of Chicago buildings...at first this was going to be a post of reflections of Chicago! But even I thought that was too cute! I am a complete plebian! But I do love the array of styles!

    What a fun city to visit! I will be there for the next Gardenbloggers' Fling...sometime in 2009! Save your Marriot Points for then! You'll see the city, see some old friendly places and have good garden conversations or you two could have a pleasant weekend there on your own!

    Gail

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  18. Ewa,

    Oh, I knew I didn't want to see that movie! Will Smith needs to be in fun movies!
    So sorry it brought up a bad movie memory! This building was very well groomed, you would have loved it from the boat we were on!

    Gail

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  19. aiyana,

    How lovely to not have a skyscraper and to be able to see the sky! But there is also something pretty amazing about them! Does your city protect the night sky from light pollution? I wish more of them did!

    Gail

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  20. Tina,
    It was a delight to see you and the TN Bloggers today!

    ....and no way do I want to live bove 5 floors anytime!

    gail

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  21. Donna/Mother Nature,

    Hey, it is a rather imposing building isn't it! It was wonderful to meet you today! Hope your ride home was easy!


    Gail

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  22. Rose,

    Your nearest big city (!) is wonderful and it has so much going on! The Spire is way tall...I am not sure how I would feel about being up in the upper floors!
    Have you been to the Sears Tower? I haven't!

    I'm impressed you could recite the poem! You'll have to recite it for Spring Fling attendees!

    Gail

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  23. cindy,

    You'll have a good time and I am looking forward to seeing everyone!

    Gail

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  24. Cindy,

    Oh husbands! We love them! It is a crowded city...lots of people and traffic, but worth it! Entice him with a cubs or white sox game! Those building are great and when you go to Chicago you can see them on the River Tour! See, I am convinced you will visit!

    Gail

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  25. Jean,

    It's a great bunch of buildings and we had perfect weather! It was a lovely gift when I was expecting HOT weather!

    I just this afternoon had tea and snacks with Tina and Frances and a few other Bloggers!

    Gail

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  26. skeeter,

    I am so glad you went to the video...I couldn't do it justice! Isn't it spectacular...I am pretty sure I won't be going up to the top once it's built, nor would I be invited, it will be private...multi-millions!

    It does look like a ship!

    Gail

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  27. beckie,

    Thank you! I love your gem of a city! I look forward to visiting again and meeting all of you Prairie State Bloggers!

    Gail

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  28. Gail, It was a pleasure seeing you again! And I must say, you all missed a super great program! There is always next month. Be good! Surprise indeed-a wonderful one! I think the pics came out good too!

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  29. Hi Gail,
    At least I wouldn't have any problems with my husband viewing the architectural sights (his dad is an an architect)because we're on the same page there. No baseball for us, there's a lot more to Chicago that demands attention!

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  30. It looks like you were having a ball in Chicago, Gail. Good for you! Loved that building with the climbing ivy up against it. Personally not too keen on sky scrapers, they make me feel claustrophobic.

    That Chicago Spire looks amusing, spiral shaped buildings, whatever next?

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  31. Great photos and so happy to hear you are having beautiful weather. I have never been to Chicago! Can you believe it? I flew over it once but that doesn't really count. I hear that the public plantings are as beautiful as the buildings.

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  32. Wow, this post combined with your first one has really given me an awareness of Chicago that I never had before. There is some amazing architecture in that city. Maybe I'll go someday thanks to you. Sounds like you had a fantastic trip.

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  33. mmd,
    Who knows where the whale comment came from...it was one of those tangental comments that I forgot to delete!

    I love your city and the architecture is fantastic. The Spire is either going to be incredibly wonderful or an eyesore to all!

    The weather was delightful and I am still sorry I wasn't able to train over to your garden!

    Gail

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  34. Annie,

    We couldn't have asked for better weather and are so thankful! It was very hot before we arrived and trying to imagine walking around in 90+ degreed weather all day would have been unpleasant...

    Yes, I love that building, too! I think they call it the corn cob building or something like that! I was into the clouds so many of the photos were glass buildings that reflected Chicago so well!

    Developers create the most interesting buildings to light up our skies! St louis has an ugly white plastic looking building that changes colors ...pink, then blue, then green! It's cool at night but unattractive during daylight hours!

    Nose Hair clippers...I am heading over there to see them! Thanks for the links! I love links, someday I will know how to do them!

    You would love the tour, especially if you get a good tour guide...maybe one that recites poetry!

    Enjoying some rain?

    Gail

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  35. Kathleen,

    You could attend Gardenbloggers' Fling in 2009!

    Glad you enjoyed my photos...the day cooperated beautifully!

    Gail

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  36. layanee,

    You will love Chicago...I think you'll be able to get there this time for the Fling...no snow in the fall. Unless we have strange climate changes....speaking of weather, I do miss winter...it seems that Tennessee is now Zone 7!

    I am actually home now and Frances of Faire Garden just left...I knew she was coming to stay for a few days and I decided to schedule a post! We have had a great time.

    Gail

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  37. Yolanda Elizabet,

    There are plenty of skyscrapers all in one area! I can't imagine the height and certainly won't be in them anytime soon! The tour guide said on a windy day the Sears Tower sways 2 feet and can be clearly seen when the water is running in the restroom sinks! But we can all agree, they are beautiful to look at!

    Gail

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  38. Beautiful photos. Chicago is a great city, but it is a bit too industrial for my tastes. But that spiral building very cool.

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  39. Loving your tour and comments. Miss you but have a good time!!! We are reading and looking at all you are enjoying. It is a beautiful city.

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  40. anna,

    Hi there! Glad you like it! We both like to share our favorite places with our friends...I've also enjoyed seeing your NC.

    gail

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  41. DP, It is a BIG city and not so hard to get around....we only saw the downtown areas and have no real idea about a great deal of the city! I wonder how much sprawl there is?

    Gail

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  42. Hi Gail, home again and still whirling from all the fun and chatting! Time to settle back in to the daily routine and WATER the garden. Thanks for the plants, they will be planted today and cared for to the best of my ability. Your hospitality was the best, the time went by so fast! I loved the video of the spiral building, very impressive, but like Tina, I could not live that high up, fear of heights you know. ;->

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  43. I never get to Chicago in the summer, always the winter, how lovely it is this time of year! I want to visit those gardens down in what, millenium park. And what a COOL skyscraper that's going up. I'll have to click on over and read more about it. Thanks.

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  44. Wow, Gail, what a fascinating post. I'm normally not a big fan of buildings, but I very much enjoyed seeing your stunning photos and reading your comments on them. All that steel and glass is very dramatic. But it was also nice to see the one that was clad in some greenery!

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Let us be grateful to people who make us happy;
they are the charming gardeners
who make our souls blossom.


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