This past spring, I worked on pretty fun project for the Society of Architectural Historians (SAH), based in Chicago’s Charnley-Persky House (built 1892 by Louis Sullivan with help from Frank Lloyd Wright).
Anticipating a large crowd of architecture-saavy visitors to the Society’s 2010 Annual Meeting in Chicago, SAH Executive Director Pauline Saliga came up with a great project for me to work on – in addition to the guided tours the attendees would be given while at the conference, wouldn’t it be a great idea to create a self-guided tour of the Chicago Loop’s earliest skyscrapers?
Using free Microsoft Tag technology, I created twelve skyscraper information pages, complete with photographs by Pauline’s husband, photographer John Gronkowski, and with edited entries from Pauline’s 1990 book The Sky’s The Limit: A Century of Chicago Skyscrapers. The tour includes all the biggies – Louis Sullivan’s Auditorium Building (1889) and Daniel Burnham’s Rookery (1888) and Monadnock Building (1893) are just a few.
The real innovation in this project though was the tags that were posted at each participating building. These “tags” (really just glorified barcodes) can be photographed by any web-enabled camera phone, opening up any of our twelve information pages. Pauline’s text on each of the buildings is pretty in-depth, creating for Chicago architecture buffs a real content-driven independent walking tour.
Feel free to take the tour yourself by printing out this image (you can find it below as well) – it has a map of all the sites and barcodes for each of the participating buildings. Please note that both images and the tour itself are copyrighted by the Society of Architectural Historians.