Being raised in a rather small town and not getting out to large cities like St. Louis hardly ever, this experience was truly an eye opener. Small town living and the big city experience both have their pros and cons. For example I would never even attempt to drive around Chicago. Gravel roads are more my speed, but in Chicago you almost never need to drive with trains and buses and everything you could want within walking distance. One big difference that I want to cover is the history and atmosphere of these living situations.
One thing I love to do is to find a higher elevation and just look at the wide open spaces and take in the view, but as I sit in my room in Roosevelt University and look out the window I get almost the same feeling. The feeling that the beauty here is no accident that it was meant be like this. The difference I feel is that in Chicago it can still be improved and should be throughout the years. Below is two pictures of the opposing views; the first being of the Farnsworth House and the second is the one of a view from our boat tour of the Chicago River.
I was lucky enough to be one of the last people to post on this blog, because I have gotten to experience everything and get to reflect on it all. I’ve noticed there is so much history here while back home I could tour the entire town and learn all of its history in probably one afternoon. Some of the more interesting things I learned was how the city commissioned so much public art around the business areas perhaps to distract from the less artistically designed buildings.
I also really enjoyed all the different types of architecture. For example, The Frank Lloyd Wright home and similar style houses in Oak Park, IL, and his ever impressive Robbie House, currently being restored, which we were able to tour early on this trip. His prairie style houses is what defined American architecture in the early 1900s.
Furthermore, Chicago’s more modern architecture is really innovative and interesting. The building that caught my eye in this category was the aqua building. The design of the building is very cool in the way, to me, it appears to have flames up the slide. This is accomplished with the balconies being arranged all around the build in rounded shapes and placed in a strategic manner that guides the wind around the building, causing it to not have to be as structurally enforced and saving money. Also, all the windows that do not have balconies on their floor, or above for shade, have reflective glass which enhances the effect of what I see as fire. But the most interesting part of our Aqua building tour was the fact at the base of that building, and many surrounding buildings, there is a small park, stores, and even a school. This had such a great neighborhood atmosphere that seemed to be one of the few things that I seemed to leave back home.
This trip was an experience I extremely enjoyed after a long semester and I will always remember the good time, great friends, and of course the amazing food. I have always been a small town kind of person, but coming here to Chicago has really given me a better appreciation for the city life experience. Lastly I want to say that it is important to step out of your comfort zone occasionally because the experience will give you a valuable perspective that you can use in the future.