Category Archives: Chicago Architecture Photography

Transwestern Commercial Real Estate

 Shopping Mall photographyCorporate Headquarters in Columbus INMinnesota Shopping Mall photosOffice building photo for TranswesternPhoto of restaurant in Blaine, MN Office space in Southfield, MIOffice space in Southfield, MISchaumburg IL office building photoSchaumburg IL office building photoOffice building photo for TranswesternOffice building photo for TranswesternCommercial center in Farmington MIOffice building atrium, photographyCommercial center in Farmington MIOffice space in Farmington MI Commercial interior photoOffice center in MichiganCommercial interior photo

Over the past two months I have been photographing commercial real estate for Transwestern.  I had the opportunity to shoot office complexes, shopping centers and strip malls in some of the lesser-known Midwest vacation meccas.  These include Schaumburg IL, Blaine MN, Columbus IN, and Southfield and Farmington Hills MI.

Luxury Vacation Rental in Chicago

photocrati gallery

I photographed this upscale vacation / corporate rental apartment in Chicago’s River North neighborhood for the G2G Collection.  What is unique about this company is that it donates a percentage of its income to the charity of your choice.  So while you are relaxing on a tropical beach or taking in the view of the Golden Gate Bridge at sunset, you know you are helping underprivileged kids or breast cancer research.  This residence has an eye-popping view of downtown Chicago and was located just steps away from the hottest restaurants and clubs.

ShamROCK Chicago Going Green

State Street going greenPritzker Pavilion in Millennium ParkHotel InterContinental and Wrigley BuildingTrump International Hotel Chicago Board of Trade Willis Tower and Chicago River and Hancock BuildingState Street and the Chicago TheatreChicago Hilton and TowersGreening of the Chicago River Greening of the Chicago River Hotel InterContinental Chicago Old St Patrick's Church 311 Wacker and Willis TowerOld St Patrick's Church Soldier Field Cadillac Palace Theatre

In the week leading up to St. Patrick’s Day, about two dozen Chicago buildings and icons were illuminated green to showcase Chicago’s Irish pride.  This Global GREENing project (locally called ShamROCK Chicago) also saw famous landmarks around the world also lit green, such as the Sydney Opera House and the Eiffel Tower.  I was commissioned by Tourism Ireland to document all the local buildings glowing green; an amazing project except that the Chicago winter was cruel that week and my fingers were turning green from frostbite. That might be a lot of Blarney, but these photos are colorful evidence that Chicago is the most Irish city this side of Dublin.

Chicago’s Athena Greek Restaurant

Athena restaurant main dining roomAthena Greek restaurant central barLamb, greek style at Athena in Chicagoa cool ouzoAthena's delicious fried calamariA red drink, I'm sure it's yummyBroiled fish at Athenaa minty and cool beverage at AthenaThe bright enclosed patio at Athena Greek restaurantAthena's version of a traditional Greek saladSaganaki--Flaming Greek Cheese  OPAH !!!

Located in Chicago’s Greektown, Athena has been serving tasty Greek food (“cuisine” might be too extreme) for 17 years. The enclosed patio is one of the biggest attractions, offering a bright and cozy environment in the dead of winter, or a cool respite on those hot summer days, all with a view of Chicago’s skyline.  I had the pleasure of photographing Athena recently, and it offered such a nice range of photo possibilities from the warm interior, the colorful central bar, to the cocktails and delicious Greek dishes. The fried calamari will blow you away–best I’ve ever tasted.  OPAH !!!

 

Optima Chicago Center

Forty-two stories of sleek black glass have risen between the Hotel InterContinental and the NBC Tower in Chicago’s Streeterville neighborhood.  The Optima Chicago Center designed by architect David Hovey commands a strategic location close to Michigan Avenue, Navy Pier, Millennium Park and Chicago’s lakefront.  Plus the views are nothing short of breathtaking.  I spent a few weeks earlier this month documenting this building from inside and out; it was a joy except for the fact the elevators weren’t working yet.  I never realized the 42nd floor was actually up 42 flights of stairs (sound of heavy breathing).

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Chicago Urban Farms

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Urban farm, it almost sounds like an oxymoron, but trust me, it isn’t. These farms are sprouting up (no pun intended) all over Chicago and other urban areas, and represent an efficient way to re-purpose under-utilized warehouse space in the city, often in economically distressed areas. Plus, they offer a tremendous opportunity for small-scale organic farmers to ply their trade in a supportive and mega-green environment.

I recently had the occasion to photograph two such urban farms: The Plant and Iron Street Farm. The former calls itself “a net-zero energy vertical farm and food business operation” whose purpose is to “promote closed-loop food production and sustainable economic development through education and research.” Now that’s a mouthful (no pun intended). And the later is a “seven-acre site on Chicago’s south side that produces local, healthy, and sustainable food year-round with a focus on serving, training, and engaging vulnerable populations.” Urban farms produce a wide range of products including cheese, vegetables, mushrooms, honey, beer, compost, and even fish. I suspect when we sang “Old McDonald had a farm” this wasn’t exactly the type of farm we were referring to.

 

University of Chicago

Gothic architecture at the University of Chicago, Hyde ParkUniversity of Chicago in autumnUniversity of Chicago in springUniversity of Chicago, autumn. Laboratory SchoolBucolic scene at the Univ of Chicago Chicago Booth, graduate school of business at University of ChicagoHarper Library at Univ of ChicagoMansueto Library Rockefeller Chapel on campusUniv of Chicago Rockefeller Chapel  University of Chicago, autumn.Midway Plaisance in springBella Voce a cappella early music group at Rockefeller Chapel Univ of Chicago is famous for its gargoylesStudent dorm at the University of ChicagoRatner Athletic Center designed by Cesar PelliSpring blooms amid the Gothic architecture

I am fortunate to live just a few blocks from one of the world’s great universities.  Students lovingly describe this institution of higher learning as the place where “fun comes to die”.  Personally, I think they make this proclamation to mislead their parents so they can justify the $40,000 per year expense. Nestled in the leafy neighborhood of Hyde Park–home of Barack Obama and the first A-Bomb–the university is a mix of Gothic and modern architecture. There are more Nobel Prize winners here than neighborhood bars–how many large universities can make that claim?  In fact U of C has the most Nobel winners of any school in the world.  The university offers a never-ending subject for my photography as new buildings appear on a regular basis, and each season brings new discoveries.

Chicago Neighborhood Murals

Chicago_Lawn MuralChicago_Lawn_MuralDonnelley_Youth_Center MuralHumboldt Park MuralPilsen MuralPilsen MuralPilsen MuralRegal_Theater Mural in ChicagoMural in Rogers Parkunderpass mural in Hyde Park

Chicago is known as a city of neighborhoods, each with it’s own ethnic identity.  It’s no surprise  that public art appears on walls throughout the city representing the local culture.  Here is just a sampling of murals (or you may call it graffiti) in some of Chicago’s vibrant neighborhoods.

Chicago Christkindlmarket, a Holiday Tradition

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For those who rarely venture into the Loop during the holiday season, these photos are for you.  Since 1997, the city has been sponsoring Christkindlmarket in Daley Plaza.  This outdoor market which features German crafts, jewelry, clothing, toys and lots of food attracts over a half million people from Thanksgiving to Christmas Eve.  Inspired by the Christkindlesmarkt in Nuremberg, Germany, which began in 1545, the Chicago version stays true to its European roots.  In fact, most of the vendors actually travel from Germany to work the booths, or at least are German-speaking.  Appropriate winter food is also available, including wurst, sauerkraut, potato pancakes, lots of pastries, and German beer and traditional “Glühwein”, a hot spiced wine that is served around the holidays.  The market closes on Christmas eve, so there is still time to investigate this Chicago and European tradition.

 

Photo of the Day: Fulton Market

Fulton Market in Chicago West Loop
Just west of the downtown Loop area is Fulton Market.  For decades, this area was home to countless meat processors and warehouses, and several still operate today.  Come in the pre-dawn and early morning hours and the streets are clogged with trucks picking up provisions for local restaurants.  In recent years, Fulton Market has seen upscale shops, galleries and several cutting edge restaurants open.  Just a few blocks away on west Randolph is the more established Restaurant Row–with the addition of Fulton Market eateries, Chicagoans have countless gourmet options just minutes from the Loop.