Who’s behind the plentiful green space and skyline of vital structures that distinguish Chicago as a Midwest destination?     Don’t miss DePaul University Art Museum‘s “Building the Business of Architecture:   The Burnham Brothers and Chicago in the Golden Twenties” exhibit, which opened July 9 and runs through September 16, at 2350 North Kenmore Avenue, Chicago.     Go back in time and get into the minds of architects and urban planners Daniel Burnham and Edward Bennett, among others, who conceptualized and implemented Chicago’s Burnham Plan.

No need to be an architect, urban planner, economist, artist, or advertising professional to appreciate this exhibit.   You might want to imagine viewing the exhibit through the lens of one of these disciplines, all of which converged during the process of creating Chicago.   You will learn about the complexities of designing not only a world-class metropolis but also a green city of neighborhoods and one of the 10 most walkable cities in America.    Our present and continually improving quality of life in Chicago is the result of its foundation—The Burnham Plan of 1909.

If you don’t live or work near the lakefront, there is a good chance you go there, not to mention take your out-of-town guests there.   Maybe you’re a resident of Edgewater or Andersonville and appreciate the closely-knit community feel within a large culturally diverse city, with back-to-basic local business loyalty, meticulous greens areas, old-fashioned farmers markets, garden walks, musical events, and so much more.   In any case, you can attribute the preservation of the lakefront and these vital historic neighborhoods to the brilliant planning of architects and urban planners Daniel Burnham and Edward Bennett, among others.

When you attend the exhibit, be sure to check out the copy of Burnham and Bennett’s Plan of Chicago.   You will not only see the origins of Chicago as urban center with a revitalized downtown, but you will also see the 100-year-old origins of Chicago’s mission, Urbs in Horto   city in a garden–when you study Burnham and Bennett’s plans for lakefront parks and forest preserve districts.

Also be sure to see the original architectural drawings which led to the façade of the vital Carbide and Carbon Buildings.   Check out the Burnham brothers’ 19 drawings, exquisitely detailed, which later became The Engineering Building (1928).    Do not miss the pride of Burnham and Bennett–prints and drawings of the Chicago River from the early 1900s through the Golden Twenties.     The Chicago River, at the very center of corporate skyscrapers, was a triumph of the Burnham and Bennett plan.     As DePaul curator and professor of art history, Paul Jaskor, states, “It is a fantastic site for exploring the intersection of urban planning, economic history, and the importance of advertising to architects in the 1920s.”

Join the architects in a photographic journey over time, as you watch their urban plans slowly transform themselves into familiar Chicago structures.    You can even take a look at architectural fragments, notably terra cotta façade.

The DePaul Art Museum is open Monday through Thursday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Friday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.; and Saturday and Sunday from noon to 5 p.m.

DePaul’s exhibition is one of many events celebrating the centennial of Chicago’s Burnham Plan, so please join in and celebrate Windy City history this fall by attending other Centennial Events and Exhibits.  Coming in early September:

Wednesday, September 2

Burnham Book Fair and outing to the premiere of the documentary “Make No Little Plans: Daniel Burnham and the American City.”

5:30 pm – Join the DePaul community at a “Meet the Author” event for several newly released books on the Burnham Plan legacy.   Meet at the DePaul Center, lower concourse, 1 E. Jackson Blvd.

7:15 pm – Millennium Park is the place to view Archimedia Workshop’s documentary “Make No Little Plans: Daniel Burnham and the American City.”   Meet at the DePaul Center, lower concourse, 1 E. Jackson Blvd.

Friday, September 11

Daniel Burnham’s 163rd Birthday Party

Be at Maggiano’s Little Italy, 516 North Clark Street from 6 pm to 10 pm.   Join DePaul community to celebrate Daniel Burnham’s 163rd birthday.

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