The Lesser-Known Brutalist Buildings to See For Yourself in Chicago

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Northwestern University Main Library by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill© Jason Woods for Blue Crow Media

A new map charts the concrete structures in and around this Illinois city that deserve a second glance

As one of America’s largest cities, Chicago is famed throughout the world for its blustery breezes, jazz, deep dish pizza and a dazzling skyline – but its the latter that’s the subject of a new publication from Blue Crow Media, Concrete Chicago Map. Spotlighting the lesser known Brutalist buildings of the Illinois city, the map is a must-have for those seeking to discover Chicago through its awe-inspiring architecture. As with previous iterations of its concrete city maps – the likes of which include Tokyo and Paris – this chart is punctuated with extraordinary black and white photography of the structures it documents, and the unique geometric silhouettes they cast against the sky.

Featured buildings range in function from the educational to the commercial, with some tucked away in the city’s suburbs and others standing tall in its central districts. Editor and architect himself Iker Gil notes that Chicago’s cityscape “features some of the most important buildings of the last century”. “In many cases, these concrete buildings captured the aspirations of the city at critical times,” he writes. “As we shape the future of Chicago, it is worth trying to learn from the lessons and opportunities represented by these remarkable buildings.” As such, the map’s highlighted locales go some way to tracing Chicago’s development since the mid-20th century. That, and its photography is extremely satisfying; reason enough to spend some time planning a trip to the shores of Lake Michigan – map in hand, of course.

Concrete Chicago Map is available now, published by Blue Crow Media.