Photography – Architecture & Design.

FEATURE IMAGE (left to right): Thompson Center (“State Of Illinois” building), Helmut Jahn, 1985, Chicago, Illinois (; Frame house, 1884, Naperville, Illinois (; Park Tower Condominium, Solomon, Cordwell, Buenz, 1973, Chicago, Illinois (; Sofitel Chicago Magnificent Mile, Jean-Paul Viguier, 2002, Chicago, Illinois (; The Mentor Building. Howard Van Doren Shaw, 1906, Chicago, Illinois (

Historic Architecture: Plainfield, Illinois. (1 Photo).

FEATURE image: Flanders House (1841), 24044 Main Street, Plainfield, Illinois. See a fuller description below. Jason and Lucy Flanders House, 1841, Plainfield, Illinois. Plainfield was settled at the end of the 1820’s when James Walker constructed a sawmill on the DuPage River. The mill attracted settlers to the region and created Will County’s first permanent […]

Sts. Volodymyr and Olha Church (1975), Jaroslaw A. Korsunsky, 739 N. Oakley Boulevard; Chicago, Illinois (21 Photos).

FEATURE image: Exterior of Sts. Volodymyr and Olha Church with its gold domes. The tradition-minded parish, founded in early 1970s, serves a busy urban community. The huge mosaic over the main entrance memorializes the conversion of the Ukrainians to Christianity in 988 by St. Volodymyr of Kyiv or Vladimir of Kiev (957-1015). The mosaic was executed […]

St. Nicholas Ukrainian Catholic Cathedral (1915), Worthmann, Steinbach and Piontek, (1974-1977), Zenon Mazurkevich; 2238 W. Rice Street; Chicago, Illinois (19 Photos).

FEATURE image: Chicago. St. Nicholas Ukrainian Catholic Cathedral. At the western main entrance are the stars and stripes of the U.S. flag and the blue and yellow Ukraine flag. An avenue of trees lines the south side of the cathedral building. With its huge size and detailed architecture, St. Nicholas stands prominently on its 20 […]

St. Francis Xavier Catholic Church (1939), McCarthy, Smith & Eppig, 524 Ninth Street, Wilmette, Illinois. (19 Photos).

Feature image: Detail of St. Anne and the child Virgin Mary Window in St. Francis Xavier Church in Wilmette, illinois. The stained glass in the 1939 church building was designed by Henry Schmidt. The building of an English Gothic-style church is usually associated with establishment mainline Protestants. Such was the attempt by Roman Catholics to […]

Ford Center for the Performing Arts, 24 W. Randolph Street, Chicago, Illinois. (2 Photos).

The Ford Center for the Performing Arts in Chicago’s Loop – since renamed the James M. Nederlander Theatre – first opened as the Oriental Theatre on May 8, 1926. The Oriental Theatre, designed by the architectural firm of Cornelius Ward Rapp (1861-1926) and George Leslie Rapp (1878-1941) was one of the many ornate movie palaces built, as […]

Historic Architecture: Row Houses (c. 1873), 802-812 N. Dearborn Street, Chicago, Illinois.

These early row houses were developed in Chicago’s Gold Coast/River North neighborhood in the early 1870s immediately following the Great Chicago Fire. That conflagration began south of the city’s downtown area at 137 DeKoven Street (around 1100 South) and blew its destruction north through Downtown and upwards into today’s Gold Coast area. The fire petered […]

Historic Architecture: The Cobden (1892), Charles S. Frost, 418-424 W. Belden Avenue, Chicago, Illinois.

The Cobden, a Richardsonian-Romanesque flats-above-storefront building that has anchored the northwest corner of busy Clark Street and residential Belden Avenue since 1892 was designed by architect Charles Sumner Frost (1856 –1931) of the firm of Henry Ives Cobb (1859-1931) and Frost. Born in Maine and trained as an architect in Boston, Frost moved to Chicago in […]

Sofitel Chicago Magnificent Mile (2002), Jean-Paul Viguier, 20 East Chestnut Street; Chicago, Illinois (1 Photo).

The hotel opened in May 2002 with 415 rooms. Its dramatic architecture made an immediate impression not only on the city’s denizens and visitors but much of the world. Jean-Paul Viguier (born 1946) is a leading modern Paris-based French architect. In 2003 his Sofitel Chicago Water Tower (renamed the Sofitel Chicago Magnificent Mile) was chosen by […]

Helmut Jahn (1940-2021) Notable Buildings in Chicago. (3 Photos).

Helmut Jahn was famous in Chicago and around the world for his prolific postmodern architecture particularly his work in steel and glass. Born in Germany near Nuremberg, in 1940, Jahn graduated from Technische Hochschule in Munich and moved to Chicago in 1966. Jahn arrived in Chicago just as “downtown development” during the administration of Mayor […]

Mentor Building (1906), Howard Van Doren Shaw, 39 S. State Street/6 E. Monroe Street; Chicago, Illinois.

The Mentor Building, 39 S. State Street (6 E. Monroe Street), 1906, Howard Van Doren Shaw (1869-1926) from the southwest. A Mentor building has stood on this northeast corner of State and Monroe since 1873 when there had been a 7-story building erected here.1 Howard Van Doren Shaw’s only skyscraper presents an unusual mixture of styles. […]

The “Chicago Light” is an active lighthouse on Lake Michigan by Navy Pier. Built in 1893, Chicago Harbor Lighthouse played a vital role in the economic development of Chicago and the U.S. Midwest.

FEATURE image: Chicago Harbor Lighthouse (1893), Chicago, Illinois, 2017. Author’s photograph. Known as the “Chicago Light,” the Chicago Harbor Lighthouse is an active automated lighthouse dating from 1893. About one-half mile beyond Navy Pier, the lighthouse stands at the north of the main entrance of the Chicago Harbor in Lake Michigan. The lighthouse has had a […]

Historic Architecture: Naperville, Illinois. (2 Photos).

FEATURE image: 15 S. Sleight Street, 1883, Naperville, Illinois. See its description below. Frame house, tower, clapboard and shingle patterns. The tower is cut on a bias (on an angle), approaching 45 degrees. This has the tower with less surface area than if cutting it square. The cut also can serve an aesthetic or other […]

Park Tower Condominium (1973), Solomon, Cordwell, Buenz (SBD), 5414 N. Sheridan Road; Chicago, Illinois. (2 Photos).

Photographs and text: John P. Walsh. Park Tower Condominium is on the lakefront next to north Lake Shore Drive and across from Foster Beach in Lincoln Park. Its address is 5414 N. Sheridan Road, Chicago Constructed in 1973 by Solomon, Cordwell, Buenz (SCB), a Chicago architectural firm founded in 1931, the tower was planned as the […]

The Chicago Avenue Bridge (1914), Chicago, Illinois. Demolished in 2018, a significant example of evolutionary progress in bridge design in 20th century urban America.

FEATURE image: Looking east, a portion of the pony truss bascule Chicago Avenue Bridge in May 2016 before its demolition with its partially obscured bridge house. Author’s photograph. Built in 1914 by Ketler-Elliot Erection Company of Chicago, the Chicago Avenue Bridge was one of the oldest pony truss bascule bridges in Chicago. Connecting River North […]

Patron Saint of Cats and Gardeners: St. Gertrude, O.S.B. (626-659 CE). The Collegial Church of St. Gertrude, c. 1050, in Nivelles, Belgium. (2 Photos).

The Collegial Church of St. Gertrude, c. 1050, Nivelles, Belgium. Photographs are taken by the author on March 1, 1992. St. Gertrude of Nivelles, patron saint of cats! St. Gertrude (d. 659) was the daughter of Blessed Pepin and Blessed Ita who had founded Nivelles monastery. Gertrude was born in Landen, Belgium in Flanders on […]

Chicago’s Oldest German Parish (1852): St Michael Church in Old Town.

FEATURE image: The great tower of St. Michael Church on the Near North Side of Chicago identifies the Old Town Triangle historic district. The bell tower of St. Michael Church in Chicago’s Old Town at 1633 N. Cleveland Avenue. Until the mid-1880’s this church tower was the tallest building in Chicago. In 1876, five years […]

Frank Lloyd Wright, Fallingwater (1935), Mill Run, Pennsylvania.

FEATURE image: Fallingwater, Frank Lloyd Wright, Mill Run, Pennsylvania. March 2010. Author’s photograph. Fallingwater is a house designed in 1935 by American architect Frank Lloyd Wright (1867-1959). It is in the Laurel Highlands of southwest Pennsylvania, about 70 miles away from downtown Pittsburgh. The house was intended as a weekend retreat for the owners of […]