Chicago is a young city, even by American standards. The cult of architecture is potent here – the first Chicago Architecture Biennial is currently underway – with great civic consensus on a pantheon of architects.

It started with Daniel Burnham and Louis Sullivan, skyscraper innovators who had a knack for appropriating classical architectural language in their modern forms. Frank Lloyd Wright and an entourage of Prairie School practitioners led the next generation with idealised homes, both open and insular, that helped sell suburbia.

Post-war Chicago attracted Ludwig Mies van der Rohe and a cohort of European and American Modernists. The city became their laboratory, their theories flourishing in academia.

Many of the 200-plus buildings featured in the fifth annual Open House Chicago, 17-18 October, pushed the architectural boundaries of their day. Here are 10 highlights not to be missed.



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