Prairie Architecture of Lincoln Park Zoo & Garden
You may have heard about the (former) cemetery near the Chicago History Museum and that most of the lakeshore of Chicago is the result of post 1871 landfill. Both of these factors are key to Lincoln Park’s (the park, not the neighborhood) enduring landscape and beauty that encompasses six miles from North Avenue to Hollywood/Edgewater Beach.
The origins of the Chicago’s largest park can be credited with a doctor, who back in 1830s, campaigned-successfully-to set aside 60 acres of public cemetery parkland. Then formation of the nation’s FIRST park and boulevard system spurred the adoption of three separate park commissions, (Lincoln, West and South) all legislated funded. These three but separate entities acted unilaterally to create a ‘ribbon of green’ that encircled the city. PS: Chicago Park District was formed in 1934.
Our Reserve of Leisure Activities
Every Chicagoan and visitor, especially in the summer, knows why we love our city so much… the LAKEFRONT! Historically, it was a means to escape from the industrial and heavily polluted city core; a major concern at the turn of the century. Accessible mostly to Middle class and upper class families due to expense of hiring a horse carriage. Michigan Avenue Bridge opened in 1918 and public transit north of the main branch of Chicago River didn’t exist.
Leisure time in the park also contributed to the development of neighborhoods, particularly out of need following the Great Fire of 1871.
Most of Lincoln Park Zoo and Garden architecture was constructed in the last 19th and early 20th centuries. Interesting differences between the park projects and the emerging ‘skyscrapers’ in the city’s central area.
During my ArchiSketch workshop, we’ll visit several Prairie style buildings that are worthy of several pages in your sketchbook.
Carlson Cottage (1888) is a quaint representation of the popularity of the Park at the turn of the twentieth century. Designed by Joseph Silsbee, who would design other buildings in the Park and Zoo, this fieldstone cottage is a reminder of the city’s past and ambition.
This is an early reference to Arts & Crafts style, which originated in England in the late nineteenth century, with its organic appeal and direct link to “urbs in horto” (Chicago’s motto: City in Garden.) The cottage appears as though it emerged from the earth, nestled next between the two ponds. Yet, this small intimate women’s lounge seems unproportional when you step back; the fieldstones, the large corbels and low-hanging hip roof. An artistic conundrum.
Take a few steps and there it sits, hugging the curvature of North Pond… Cafe Brauer (1908). Arts & Crafts movement wasn’t fully embraced in the U.S. It quickly became Prairie Style–the midwestern style popular during at this time and closely identified with Frank Lloyd Wright. Cafe Brauer, designed by Dwight H. Perkins, who also designed the Kovler Lion House. Cafe Brauer, fka South Pond Refactory, stays true to key Prairie-style characteristics:
- Integration with landscape
- Horizontal lines
- Flat or hipped roof with over hanging eaves
- Windows in groupings or horizontal bands
- Emphasis on CRAFTSMANSHIP
The last is central to the ever-lasting charm of these buildings.
ArchiSketch Chicago will be participating in the 10th anniversary commemorating the global community of urban sketchers. Around the globe, ten on-location classes are being offered in across three themes: little, medium and great stories. The 10X10 celebration runs from April 15 – June 17, 2017 in Europe, Asia, Africa, Oceania, North American and South America.
The USk Chicago chapter has a full (and intensive) schedule of classes led by instructors with varied backgrounds; artists, illustrators, architects and designers. All with a mission of sketching the world, one drawing at a time.
Overall goals for classes/workshops are:
- Show stories from your city, one drawing at a time;
- Improve your drawing skills;
- Learn how to select, frame and design visual stories on a page;
- Learn how writing and drawing can work together to communicate more to your audience;
- Experience the advantages of group learning and seeing the many paths to success.
ArchiSketch Chicago will be conducting its Lincoln Park Zoo & Garden Workshop, as part of the Medium Stories-Expanding Your View lineup on Saturday, May 27, 2017, 12 p.m.-3:00 p.m.
This workshop will focus on the late 19th and early 20th century architecture and social aspects of visiting Lincoln Park Zoo and Garden and its ongoing preservation for future generations.
Buildings selected for Lincoln Park Zoo & Garden Workshop are a reflection of nearly 100 years of design. Variety of architecture styles and structures to sculptures and landscaping. Changes that continue to make it a popular destination each year.
Sketching exercises will be tailored to highlight best features of each building. Workshop participants can expect to learn and draw:
- Light & shading
- Volume & mass
I’ve set up an abbreviated INVITATION ONLY preview of this workshop, to be held Saturday, April 8, 2017, 10 a.m.-11:30 a.m. (Free.) If you are interested, please email me directly.
Join in the Celebration!
Chicago Classes begin on Saturday, April 15, 2017
Registration will open on March 15, 2017
You may register for all classes or select a favorite one or more. Register for all 1 O and receive a 10% discount!
Classes are limited to a maximum of 15 students.
More details to follow!
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When you were in school, did you get caught doodling?
Have you ever got the evil eye from a co-worker for doodling during a meeting?
You were on right page!
A study, sighted by the Journal of Cognitive Psychology, found that doodlers could easily recall ‘dull’ information 30 percent more than non-doodlers. Break out your pen or pencils and notepad…doodling is greatly encouraged.
Like writing, there are benefits of doodling and sketching:
- Cognitive development and increased memory
- Improved concentration
- Creative confidence
Drawing is essential for the brain development in children; as a learning process and technique for making observations or problem solving. While at the same time improving their memory skills. This combination leads to achievement in other subjects, particularly math and science.
It is our own translation, the imagery from our mind, which we create the visual references (aka details) that we’ll draw upon in the future.
Have you been to a conference or meeting with a live sketch artist? One of the pioneers in this industry, Sunni Brown, believes that she and her team develop concepts through pictures that words alone cannot describe. The pictures are not about aesthetic quality, but rather the quality of the learned and learning experience; developing a visual language.
Drawing (sketching or doodling), like meditation, is a self-exploration that connects us with our ‘self’ on an intimate level. The adroit action stimulates us to a comfort level–enough to keep us awake, focused and engaged. Researcher believe that we reach deeper levels of concentration and this is where we develop richer concepts.
“When you draw an object, the mind become deeply, intensively attentive. Drawing is thinking.” Milton Glaser, acclaimed graphic designer continues, “It is that act of attention that allows you to really grasp something to become fully conscious of it.”
Here’s John Hendrix, author (Drawing is Magic) and illustrator, “As adults we often stop having fun. Drawing when we were kids was fun. Finding enjoyment is the essential first step to finding good ideas.”
When we ‘draw out’ our ideas, we’re releasing our imagination.
Every heard the phrase, “conceived on a napkin”? What tools do you need to facilitate thinking? PENCIL AND PAPER. No need for a computer, tablet or special app for you smartphone.
When we externalize our ideas on paper it makes it easier to re-constuct them, transforming the “spark” into a good idea, great idea… a gift to mankind idea.
Drawing is more than thinking: it’s MAGIC.
Guastavino Vault of Lincoln Park Zoo Lion House
During the Lincoln Park Zoo & Garden workshop held on Saturday (the FIRST public workshop!), I had the pleasure of working with an interior designer who was very enthusiastic about Chicago architecture and working on her drawing skills.
One of the highlights for Molly O. was the Guastavino vaulted ceiling of the Kovler Lion House. Crazy how two women with different backgrounds could get so excited about a vaulted ceiling in a big cat house on a very hot & humid summer day.
“We must be the only people in this space who are looking up.” True. Standing just inside the entrance with sketchbooks and pencils in-hand, we discussed the engineering and masonry this landmark. We did stop to admire the two female lions who were spread out on top of the cool rocks…panting.
What is a Guastavino vaulted ceiling? These soaring tiled vaults can be seen in several iconic buildings around the country. Most notable are Grand Central Terminal, Boston Public Library, U.S. Supreme Court, and many more. The Guastavinos also created spaces for some of America’s wealthiest families, including the Rockefeller Chapel at University of Chicago.
The Guastavino Co. was most prolific during the late 19th to mid 20th century; designing and creating some of the most spectacular and endearing public spaces. It all started with Rafael Guastavino Sr., a master builder in his native Spain, he came to New York with his son, Rafael Jr. in 1881. Bringing with him is tiling system, based on centuries old building method. The construction of self-supporting arches that were lightweight yet strong, fireproof and elegant. Then, a system of interlocking and layered thin clay tiles were placed with quick-setting mortar–creating the decorative pattern. Guastavino’s system, which was patented in 1892, were cost-efficient and flexible.
Visit these spaces in-person. Even the best professional images can’t truly capture the caliber of craftsmanship and hours investing in the details.
There are ten (identified) Guastavino projects in Chicago:
- Lincoln Park Zoo, Kovler Lion House
- Elks National Memorial Headquarters
- Temple Isaiah
- St. Hyacinth’s Catholic Church
- First Unitarian Church, Hull Chapel
- Chicago Theological Seminary
- University of Chicago, Rockefeller Memorial Chapel
- University of Chicago, Harper Memorial Library
- M&H Theatre
- First Methodist Episcopal Church (Evanston)
ArchiSketch Chicago Launches with Two Workshops
Sketch crawl Lincoln Park Zoo & Garden and Grant Park: Michigan Ave & Congress
Chicago, IL (August 9, 2016) ArchiSketch Chicago where Architectural illustration meets historical narration of Chicago’s built environment. Sketch while discovering what makes Chicago the “City Beautiful.”
ArchiSketch Chicago launches with two new workshops.
• Lincoln Park Zoo & Garden on Saturday, August 13, 2016 10a-1p
• Grant Park: Michigan Ave & Congress on Saturday, August 27, 2016, 10a-1p
$50.00 per person, bring own drawing materials.
Advance registration required, maximum 15 participants per workshop
These workshops combine the history and of the architecture and its location in the overall urban setting. Plus, drawing instruction to highlight key characteristics of the building and its location.
ArchiSketch Chicago workshops adds a new dimension to urban sketching and sketch crawls with the presentation of the architecture, styles, details and story that each participant can add to their own sketches; creating their own stories to share with friends and on social media.
The series of workshops, developed by Joann Sondy, is a culmination of her passions: architecture + drawing. “ArchiSketch Chicago is an opportunity to bring your sketchbook and pencils to learn more about iconic structures, learn or push your drawing skills to new levels and share what you’ve done with the growing global community of urban sketchers.”
Drawing upon her experience leading architecture tours, Joann conducts in-depth research about each building or structure, the neighborhood and history to create a theme for each workshop. Workshop themes might emphasize the built environment, key building/style characteristics, select time period or location.
Additionally, Joann Sondy is a storyteller, employing her skills and training to entertain and educate. As a designer who specialized in presentations and publications, she never let go of the art school training and skills to fill pages of her own sketchbooks.
ArchiSketch Chicago are in-depth workshops which introduce drawing skills and techniques, along with historical narrations of Chicago’s architectural legacy, styles and their connection to its rich cultural heritage. During the ArchiSketch Chicago workshops, participants will visit multiple locations, allowing ample time for sketching based on instruction customized for each stop.
ArchiSketch Chicago is a service/division of Creative Aces Corporation (www.creativeaces.com)
Two full days of sketching, painting and creativity with people who share a passion for urban sketching. I am humbled to have been a part of the leadership team with my own Architecture Sketching Tour. I’m looking forward to next year.
CHICAGO SKETCH SEMINAR
This year’s Sketch Seminar workshops sold out rather quickly, people from the greater Chicagoland area, across the nation and international sketchers, too. Sixteen workshops scheduled over the weekend, many offered twice, from breaking free of the fear of on-site sketching, introduction to art materials, oil painting, sketch like an architect, sketching with markers and colored pencils to coptic bookbinding. I don’t have final numbers yet, but I’d guess that 200+ people participated in workshops, volunteered and taught.
Urban Sketchers is a global community of urban sketchers for those who love to draw the cities where they live and visit, from the window of their homes, from a cafe, at a park, standing by a street corner… always on location, not from photos or memory. And, he/she shares their sketches with the community. The manifesto is quite simple:
- We draw on location, indoors or out, capturing what we see from direct observation.
- Our drawings tell the story of our surroundings, the places we live and where we travel.
- Our drawings are a record of time and place.
- We are truthful to the scenes we witness.
- We use any kind of media and cherish our individual styles.
- We support each other and draw together.
- We share our drawings online.
- We show the world, one drawing at a time.
Passion. Talent. Community. Exhaustion. This is how I’d describe the weekend. Individuals with artistic passions learning new techniques or pushing their own creative talents in groups, and sharing ideas throughout the workshops and afterward. The weather in Chicago was extraordinary with sunscreen and cold water readily available. The gentle Lake Michigan breezes were calming, encompassing the entire Chicago lakefront experience.
Architecture Sketching Tour
The original request to lead an architecture tour was quite a surprise and humbling*. And, after I had drafted an initial tour, the hub for Chicago Sketch Seminar 2016 shifted to American Academy of Art located at Michigan Avenue and Van Buren–a new tour needed to be developed. The challenge was to organize a walking route that would be interesting and allow enough time for sketching. I believe my Grant Park: Michigan & Congress tour achieved these core principles.
- Chicago Club
- Van Buren Metra Entrance
- Michigan Avenue “Cliff” (Van Buren to Congress)
- Fine Arts Building
- Auditorium Building
- Grant Park Entrance at Congress: The Bowman and The Spearman
- Buckingham Fountain
- Presidents Court Sitting Lincoln (excluded due to Taste of Chicago fencing)
- Railway Exchange Building
- Metropolitan Tower (fka Strauss)
The map and entire tour booklet are available for download. I’ve included in my booklet the background information on each location and additional photos.
First, thank you to ALL who participated in the Architecture Sketching Tour on Saturday and Sunday. Your feedback and comments have been very helpful to refine this tour. Big thanks to the Chicago Sketch Seminar leadership team, teacher and volunteers who made 2016 a success year for Urban Sketchers Chicago.
The Architecture Sketching Tour was a precursor to ArchiSketch Chicago that I’ve been developing since early Spring. Based on feedback, I’m now ready to launch. Visit ArchiSketch Chicago for more information about workshops.
See you on the street with your sketchbook!
* USk Chicago seminar planners aren’t aware, but, as Docent, I had to seek permission from Docent Standards at Chicago Architecture Foundation to participate and lead USk tour.