Lecture

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Private tour of Unity Temple with Gunny Harboe
May
30
5:30 PM17:30

Private tour of Unity Temple with Gunny Harboe

SOLD OUT! Frank Lloyd Wright referred to his design of Unity Temple as “my contribution to modern architecture.” As one of the first public buildings in the country to feature exposed concrete, and the last surviving building from Wright’s Prairie School period, it is, quite simply, an architectural masterpiece, “embodying the bold elegance, visionary experimentation, and functional integrity that characterize modern architecture.” A meticulous $20 million restoration, completed in 2017, has returned Unity Temple to its appearance as envisioned by Wright, down to the smallest detail. This very special tour will be led by preservation architect Gunny Harboe, who led the restoration effort. Learn all the details that go into restoring a Wright masterpiece!

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The Life and Work of Architect Ben Weese
Jun
4
6:30 PM18:30

The Life and Work of Architect Ben Weese

Architect Ben Weese, celebrating his 90th birthday on June 4th, initially followed his older brothers into the world of architecture, but soon emerged with an independent identity as both architect and urban planner that focused on his commitment to social responsibility. Ben and his brother Harry worked tirelessly to rescue and successfully save one of Chicago’s most important buildings - Glessner House. A decade later, he rose to prominence as a member of the “Chicago Seven,” a group of young architects that challenged the prominence of the Miesians by reclaiming the legacy of lesser-appreciated architects through writings and exhibitions. The lecture will be given by author and architectural historian Robert Bruegmann, who is currently writing a book on the architectural careers of Ben and his wife Cynthia. Architect Peter Landon, who worked in the Weeses’ office for ten years, will provide the introduction. This is the second offering in the Wilbert R. Hasbrouck Historic Preservation Lecture Series at Glessner House, generously funded by a gift from Paul and Margaret Lurie.  

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Remembering the Garrick: An Evening with John Vinci
Sep
24
7:00 PM19:00

Remembering the Garrick: An Evening with John Vinci

The Garrick Theater looms large in Chicago history – both as a masterpiece of Adler & Sullivan and as one of the earliest organized efforts to preserve an important part of our architectural heritage.  This exclusive event will provide attendees with an intimate view of the building as experienced by architect John Vinci, who was on the front line to fight for its preservation, which then shifted to a salvage operation when demolition became imminent.  Co-sponsored by Bldg. 51 Museum. A partner program of the Chicago Architecture Biennial. Image courtesy of the Richard Nickel Archive, Art Institute of Chicago

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The Vanishing City: Excavating the Chicago World's Fair of 1893
Oct
13
2:00 PM14:00

The Vanishing City: Excavating the Chicago World's Fair of 1893

The 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition lasted for only six months before its structures “vanished.” But the Fair’s permanent impact on American consumer culture, city planning, and questions around citizenry and foreignness was deeply tied to and reinforced by its ephemerality. Professor Rebecca Graff will discuss her archaeological and archival research focused on the Fair’s ephemeral “White City” and Midway Plaisance. The results of the excavation in Jackson Park revealed a robust archaeological signature of the extensive sanitary infrastructure of the Fair and, surprisingly, delicate plaster remains of the Fair’s Ohio State Building. Graff’s work links the Fair, as a catalyst for structural change and its material record, to the larger social structures of late nineteenth century America. A partner program of the Chicago Architecture Biennial.

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Memory in Glass
Nov
16
10:00 AM10:00

Memory in Glass

This lecture and tour will focus on a significant collection of memorial windows at Second Presbyterian Church of Chicago, the only church in the city to be individually listed as a National Historic Landmark.  The factors resulting in the increased use of leaded glass during the 19th century will be examined, as will the innovations that led to this growth by national figures such as Louis Comfort Tiffany and John La Farge, and local practitioners including Louis Millet and Giannini & Hilgart, all of whom are represented at the church.  Specific examples of the myriad types of glass developed during the period will be examined, including drapery glass, confetti glass, faceted jewels, and the all-important opalescent glass perfected by Tiffany. Finally, the donors themselves, and those for whom the memorial windows were given, will be discussed, including such prominent names as Marshall Field, George Pullman, Silas Cobb, Timothy Blackstone, and John Crerar.  Co-sponsored by Friends of Historic Second Church. A partner program of the Chicago Architecture Biennial. Image by Mark F. Heffron.

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On the Road with H. H. Richardson
Dec
17
7:00 PM19:00

On the Road with H. H. Richardson

In 1882, Henry Hobson Richardson embarked on an extended trip to Europe. His itinerary through France, Italy, and Spain, and his impressions of what he saw, were preserved in a series of letters he sent home to his wife Julia in Brookline, Massachusetts.  Upon his return to the United States, Richardson set to work on a series of commissions that were deeply influenced by his European travels, and resulted in the emergence of his trademark style, that eventually became known as Richardsonian Romanesque.  These included such seminal works as the Marshall Field Wholesale Store in Chicago, the Allegheny County Courthouse in Pittsburgh, his unbuilt project for the All Saints Episcopal Cathedral in Albany, New York, and Glessner House.  This program by Kay Young, a lecturer in medieval material culture, will retrace Richardson's steps through Europe and will show how the memory of what he saw directly influenced the projects he designed during the remaining four years of his life. A partner program of the Chicago Architecture Biennial.

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