Home of the first skyscraper, Chicago continues to have some of the world’s most stunning architecture. Not to mention, Radisson Blu Aqua Hotel is currently the world’s tallest skyscraper designed by a woman, Jeanne Gang of Studio Gang Architects, who also happens to be based in this amazing city. We’re teaming up with award winning architecture photographer Angie McMonigal to explore Chicago behind her lens. Focusing on bold architectural details, her photographs celebrate those iconic elements hiding in plain sight. She’ll take you on a tour of some of Chicago’s iconic pieces of architecture within a few blocks of our stunning hotel. Read to discover some amazing photography and get inspired to discover Chicago for yourself!
Zooming in on Millennium Park
First up, and just a couple blocks south of Aqua, is Millennium Park. Within this relatively small space you can find a number of architectural pieces to keep you in awe. Our first stop will be the Pritzker Pavilion designed by the iconic Frank Gehry. Angie focused on isolating the geometric elements of this structure. The even light of the day worked well in creating a shadow on one angle of the pavilion, while the red seats reflect on its surface creating a soft pink tone on another angle. These various tones add depth to her abstract take on the structure.
Dazzling reflections at The Bean
A short walk west of the pavilion is the iconic Cloud Gate, or The Bean as locals call it. This is certainly one of the most visited attractions in Chicago and one of the top things to do, and it’s quickly easy to see why. The design by Sir Anish Kapoor was inspired by liquid mercury. His inspiration is realized by the welding of stainless steel plates and a highly polished surface, which warps and reflects the city skyline. There are so many fun ways to play with photographing this sculpture. Here, Angie focused on just a portion of the city reflecting on the outside edge of Cloud Gate, keeping in line with Kapoor’s vision for the sculpture acting to bridge the space between sky and viewer.
Perfect symmetry at The Chicago Cultural Center
Just across the street we’ll head into a true Chicago gem – The Chicago Cultural Center. Opened in 1897 and originally the central library, it was converted to the current arts and cultural center in 1977. Not only was it the country’s first free municipal cultural center but it is also home to the world’s largest Tiffany glass dome. To get this perfectly symmetrical shot (harder than it looks!), Angie laid on the ground under the dome to ensure perfect symmetry and stabilization.
Time stands still at The Wrigley Building
Onto another Chicago icon – The Wrigley Building. You’ll find this beauty just a few blocks north of the Cultural Center, situated right on the Chicago River and Michigan Avenue. Angie draws the viewers’ attention to the clock tower and the interplay with the clouds.
Making waves at the Radisson Blu Aqua Hotel
We’ll end our tour back at Aqua. Given its architectural significance – world’s tallest skyscraper designed by a woman – there are also some other interesting facts behind this building. Architect Jeanne Gang took inspiration from the great lakes in her undulating balcony designs, which also promote interaction among guests and tenants of the building. The name 'Aqua' was given because of the wave-like forms the balconies take on. Using this as inspiration, Angie created abstract pools and waves of her own.
As you can see there’s a wealth of interesting sites to explore within just a few blocks from your home base when you stay at Radisson Blu Aqua Hotel, and that includes the stunning Aqua itself! Follow Angie’s lead and do a little research on locations to help guide your images. Or alternatively, simply head to Chicago on a whim: you're sure to discover some intriguing spots no matter which route you take!
Psst! Share your beautiful photos with #RadissonBlu for a chance to win a 100€ voucher!