On Sunday, the students visited the University of Chicago’s campus and saw incredible buildings and courtyards. Frank Lloyd Wright’s Robie House and Rockefeller Chapel were some iconic sights spotted that day.
“The University of Chicago stands apart from the downtown Chicago area because the style of buildings resembles a previous era. The landscaping and interaction between the paths and open spaces is very unique and unlike anything else in the city,” Malequi Picazo, an Honors student in the CAP first-year program. To him, the city had had a grid design, taking into account an urban environment. The university campus had places to saunter and chat. There was less of an urban atmosphere.
That same day, students toured the Illinois Institute of Technology to see work done by architects Mies van der Rohe and Helmut Jahn.
On Monday, students toured Chicago itself, taking in skyscrapers and metropolitan life. The Chicago Tribune Tower and Trump Tower were identified and discussed. Millennium Park was the final destination for the students, where we saw works by Frank Gehry. My section was able to go into the John Hancock Building, and we made our way downtown to see the Willis (Sears) Tower. Probably one of my favorites, was the Chicago Cultural Center, with its ornate ceilings and domes.
The students left the city behind on Tuesday to visit the suburb of Oak Park/River Forest. Frank Lloyd Wright had many homes in this area as part of his “moonlighting” period. During this period, Wright deviated from his mentor’s firm, working on secret projects that weren’t approved by his mentor. As a result, Wright and his mentor split paths, and the rest is history. It was a gorgeous fall day to ride the “L” and walk through the different neighborhoods.
“I really enjoyed Oak Park because I’ve always enjoyed Frank Lloyd Wright’s work. It’s his so-called ‘Mecca,’” Logan Gemmill, an Honors student also in the CAP First-Year program said.
After Oak Park, students traveled to Wicker Park. This suburb appeals to millennials with its high-rise park and “hipster” culture. A high-rise park is when elevated train tracks are terraformed into walkways, gardens, and small condos on the side of the elevated tracks. This specific high-rise park had a road through the center, perfect for runners and bicyclists. From Wicker Park, the sections returned to Chicago and visited Lincoln Park.
The CAP trip ended on Wednesday with a trip to the Chicago Botanical Gardens. On this cool, autumn day, the gardens were lush with russet, gold, and crimson. Each garden was designed in a certain fashion, connected with bridges of which no two was the same. Some gardens focused on Japanese botany, with clusters of bonsai trees and other native plants. Another garden focused on Middle-Age British gardens, with walled courtyards and fountains. It was a beautiful morning to bask in nature before heading back to Muncie.