Chicago architecture shines in a new downtown museum.
Chicago Model Experience

Perched just above the docks where the Chicago Architecture Foundation's popular boat cruises depart, the organization's new Chicago Architecture Center opened August 31 on the first floor of a notable building that would merit mention on any architecture tour.

The 1970 skyscraper at 111 E. Wacker Dr. sprang from the Office of Mies van der Rohe, a Modernist pioneer. In addition to that pedigree, it stands in the footprint of Fort Dearborn, where Chicago was founded. The center's street-level space in the building includes walk-in exhibitions that tell the story of the city's influence on modern architecture, and serves as a hub for the foundation's citywide tours.

Chicago Model Experience. Rendering: Courtesy of Chicago Architecture Foundation

The Chicago Model Experience (above), an interactive rendering of the cityscape, tripled in size for the new center. And the two-story Skyscraper Gallery offers towering reproductions of buildings around the globe, plus city views from its 40-foot-tall windows.