Chicago Architecture Resources

There is much to learn about the modern architecture in Chicago,  for those who want to learn more…

Here are a few books to help you further appreciate Chicago’s modern architecture:

The Modern Wing: Renzo Piano and The Art Institute of Chicago

by James Cuno, Mr. Paul Goldberger, Joseph Rosa, Judith Turner 2009

The museum’s director, James Cuno, discusses the history of the commission, and Paul Goldberger writes on how this building fits into the larger context of Piano’s work—especially his many museum designs—as well as considers its positioning in a city celebrated for its architecture. Judith Turner provides exquisite architectural photographs, showing many nuanced details and views of the structure, while Joseph Rosa comments on her images and how they convey the beauty and sophistication of the building. Photographs by New York-based architectural photographer Paul Warchol complete the book.  Renzo Piano’s largest museum to date.

Millennium Park: Creating a Chicago Landmark (Historical Studies of Urban America)

by Timothy Gilfoyle 2006

Gilfoyle studied the history of downtown; spent years with the planners, artists, and public officials behind Millennium Park; documented it at every stage of its construction; and traced the skeins of financing through municipal government, global corporations, private foundations, and wealthy civic leaders. The result is a thoroughly readable and lavishly illustrated testament to the park, the city, and all those attempting to think and act on a monumental scale.

Chicago Architecture and Design

By Jay Pridmore, George A. Larson, Hedrich Blessing (Photographer) 2005

Looking at famous structures from the inside out, the book has won praise for its emphasis on the graceful interiors of Chicago’s finest buildings. The vivid text discusses the life and work of such towering figures as Daniel Burnham, Louis H. Sullivan, Frank Lloyd Wright, and Mies van der Rohe, as well as that of the many lesser-known builders who have contributed to Chicago’s reputation as “an architect’s city.”

Bertrand Goldberg: Architecture of Invention (Art Institute of Chicago)

By Zoe Ryan, Alison Fisher, Elizabeth Smith, Sarah Whiting  2011

Bertrand Goldberg was a visionary Chicago architect whose designs for housing, urban planning, and industrial design made a distinctive mark in the modern era. In 1959, he conceived the plan for  the sixty-story Marina City residential towers, in the heart of downtown Chicago. He created a number of hospitals that offered a new paradigm for how patients and staff interacted within the space. Goldberg’s progressive designs also extended to schools, prefabricated structures, and furniture.

Chicago Makes Modern: How Creative Minds Changed Society

By Mary Jane Jacob 2012

Chicago is a city dedicated to the modern—from the skyscrapers that punctuate its skyline to the spirited style that inflects many of its dwellings and institutions, from the New Bauhaus to Hull-House. Despite this, the city has long been overlooked as a locus for modernism in the arts, its rich tradition of architecture, design, and education disregarded. Still the modern in Chicago continues to thrive, as new generations of artists incorporate its legacy into fresh visions for the future. Chicago Makes Modern boldly remaps twentieth-century modernism from our new-century perspective.


A Guide to Modern Architecture


  1. Another great read about how Chicago came together as a city in the early 1900’s is “the Devil in White City”. It’s about how Daniel Burnan designed the structures for the World fair.

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