The Burnham Plan Centennial - Bold Plans, Big Dreams

Program Partners


The Chicago Architecture Foundation (CAF) is a nonprofit organization dedicated to advancing public interest and education in architecture and design. CAF presents a comprehensive program of tours, exhibitions, lectures, special events, and adult and youth education activities, all designed to enhance the public’s awareness and appreciation of Chicago’s outstanding architectural legacy.

Partner Category: Civic and Non-Profit Organization

Centennial Activities

Exhibit : Wednesday, June 10, 2009 to Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Chicago Model City

Chicago Architecture Foundation

Extended through November 2010!   How does a city as vast and complex as Chicago take shape?  What are the goals of officials, real estate developers, corporations, and citizens who structure urban life?  Chicago Model City explores the planning of Chicago in order to encourage audiences to understand how cities impact individual lives, shape regions, and determine the health of the planet.  By investigating urban life-changing ideas, this exhibition and educational project will inspire people to imagine the future of Chicago and metropolit

Monday, June 22, 2009 10:00am to Sunday, June 28, 2009 3:00pm

Burnham Week: Building the City

City of Chicago

As part of the Summer 2009 Family Fun Festival, join the Chicago Architecture Foundation in the Millennium Park Family Tent for Burnham Week: Building the City. This is an opportunity to celebrate Chicago's past, present and future with hands-on building and architectural activities in honor of the 100th anniversary of Daniel Burnham's great Plan of Chicago. Activities will take place daily from 10 a.m.until 3:00 pm. [MORE]

Exhibit : Thursday, June 11, 2009 to Tuesday, January 5, 2010

B Like Burnham

Chicago Architecture Foundation

The John Buck Company Lecture Hall in the Santa Fe Building will be the focal point for youth activities relating to the Chicago Model City exhibit. The walls of this space will be devoted to interpretation of the Plan for younger minds with expectations that adults will learn as well. This bold graphic presentation may also be available in published form.

A special opening for families will be held  Sunday, June 21st from 1:00 - 3:00 pm. [MORE]

Sunday, April 19, 2009 10:30am to 1:30pm
Sunday, May 17, 2009 10:30am to 1:30pm
Sunday, June 14, 2009 10:30am to 1:30pm
Sunday, July 12, 2009 10:30am to 1:30pm
Sunday, August 16, 2009 10:30am to 1:30pm
Sunday, September 13, 2009 10:30am to 1:30pm

Bike the Lakefront

Chicago Architecture Foundation

The centennial year of the 1909 Plan of Chicago is the perfect time to celebrate Daniel Burnham's vision by bicycling from Millennium Park to a nature park on Northerly Island.  See how Burnham's ideas for protecting the lakefront as a cultural gathering point have been realized in many different ways. [MORE]

Wednesday, July 29, 2009 12:15pm to 1:00pm

Edward H. Bennett: City Planner and Urban Designer

Chicago Architecture Foundation

Edward H. Bennet, junior partner in Daniel Burnham's architectural practice and co-author of The Plan of Chicago, was a key leader in the City Beautiful movement and a successful designer of urban amenities such as Buckingham Fountain. His career is documented in his archival collection at the Art Institute of Chicago, which forms the basis of this presentation.

Mary Woolever, Art and Architecture Archivist at the Art Institute of Chicago, will lead this presentation. [MORE]

Saturday, July 25, 2009 noon to 5:00pm

Parks & Boulevards by Bus: Grant & the South Parks

Chicago Architecture Foundation

Join us as we take a leisurely drive along the boulevards and through the parks designed by Frederick Law Olmsted, the Olmsted Brothers, Edward Bennett, William LeBaron Jenney, and Jans Jensen.  The lakefront parks are part of Daniel Burnham's legacy from the 1909 Plan of Chicago.  The south parks tour includes Grant Park, the Museum Campus, as well as Burnham, Jackson, Washington, Sherman, Douglas, and Union Parks.  [MORE]

Saturday, June 13, 2009 10:30am to 12:30pm
Saturday, July 18, 2009 10:30am to 12:30pm
Saturday, August 8, 2009 10:30am to 12:30pm
Saturday, September 19, 2009 10:30am to 12:30pm
Saturday, October 3, 2009 10:30am to 12:30pm

White City Revisited

Chicago Architecture Foundation

Explore Jackson Park, site of the World's Columbian Exposition of 1893 of which Daniel Burnham served as Director of Works. The tour includes a pictorial recreation of the famous fair and examines how Frederick Law Olmsted transformed marshes and sand dunes into a beautifully landscaped park that is now on the National Register of Historic Places.  We will also visit the restored Osaka Garden. [MORE]

Devil in the White City Bus Tour

Chicago Architecture Foundation

This tour, offered May - September, combines a slide show of historic photos from the 1893 World's Columbian Exposition with a bus tour to important sites from the Fair. The 1893 Fair was a turning point for Chicago, and Daniel Burnham was at the helm organizing and creating much of its success. This tour elaborates on stores from Erik Larson's best-selling book and creates the context for the book's remarkable events.

Tours run from 10am - 1:15pm on the following dates: [MORE]

Saturday, September 19, 2009 noon to 5:00pm

Parks & Boulevards by Bus: Lincoln & the West Parks

Chicago Architecture Foundation

Between the 1860's and today, Chicago has continued to develop and expand its park system, which was a major feature of Burnham's 1909 Plan of Chicago.  Join us as we take a leisurely drive along the boulevards and through the parks designed by William LeBaron Jenney, Swain Nelson, O.C. Simonds, Jens Jensen, and Alfred Caldwell.  Learn how the visions of these landscape architects were realized.  The north and west parks tour includes Lincoln, Humboldt, Garfield, and Douglas Parks as we drive along the boulevard system, including Palmer and Logan Squares. [MORE]

The Rookery Building Tour

Chicago Architecture Foundation

One of Chicago's most famous and beloved historic buildings, the Rookery, was designed by Daniel Burnham and John Wellbon Root from 1886-1888. This 45-minute lunch time tour will explore both the exterior and interior of this landmark. Marvel at the exquisite beauty and granderu of the highly ornamented brick and granite exterior, which some liken to a Moorish castle. Learm more about the method of construction and how the architects employed a combination of designes to maximize light and air in this early office building. [MORE]

1909 Plan of Chicago/Daniel Burnham Related Tours

Chicago Architecture Foundation

These docent-led tours touch upon buildings and designs that highlight aspects of the 1909 Plan of Chicago and/or the works of Daniel Burnham and his colleagues. Click links below for full schedule and reservation information.

Historic Downtown (north loop) Culture & Commerce [MORE]

Thursday, November 5, 2009 5:30pm to 7:30pm

A Conversation with the Critics: Imagining the Future of the City

Chicago Architecture Foundation

Edward Lifson, cultural critic and creator of Chicago Public Radio’s Hello Beautiful!, moderates a panel that includes: [MORE]

Wednesday, April 29, 2009 12:15pm to 1:00pm

Before Burnham: Private Planning and the Town of Pullman

Chicago Architecture Foundation

Decades before the publication of Daniel Burnham's 1909 Plan of Chicago, railroad sleeping car tycoon George M. Pullman created his own "model city" just outside the city limits. Lynn Becker, freelance writer on architecture and curator of BoomTowns! Chicago Architects Design New Worlds, explores the juncture of public interest and private enterprise in the plan and history of the town of Pullman. [MORE]

Saturday, October 3, 2009 5:00pm to 8:00pm

Burnham and Bennett from the Boat: A Special River Cruise with Geoffrey Baer

Chicago Architecture Foundation

CAF docent and WTTW Channel 11 program host Geoffrey Baer leads a special river cruise that looks at infrastructure and planning as they relate to Burnham and Bennett’s 1909 Plan of Chicago. As we travel the South and Main Branches of the Chicago River, Baer discusses the 1929 straightening of the river, the creation of Congress Parkway and the Plan’s ingenious infrastructure recommendations including the double-decked Wacker Drive and the Michigan Avenue Bridge. [MORE]

Saturday, August 1, 2009 1:30pm
Saturday, September 12, 2009 1:30pm

Burnham in Graceland: Friends, Family and Client Tour

Graceland Cemetery

This two-hour walk through Graceland Cemetery, including Burnham Island, features Daniel Burnham and his family as well as his work associates, prominent clients and personal friends. Burnham’s success and prominence is demonstrated by the large circle of people he influenced and with whom he associated. The tour features several sites not included in previous Graceland walking tours. This tour was developed as part of the Centennial Celebration for Burnham & Bennett's 1909 Plan of Chicago.

Friday, May 29, 2009 2:00pm to 5:00pm
Saturday, May 30, 2009 9:30am to 5:00pm

Burnham, Chicago and Beyond: Politics, Planning and the Progressive Era City

Chicago Architecture Foundation

In 1909 Daniel Burnham publicized his project for an ideal city in his Plan of Chicago.  Sponsored by the Commercial Club, which included some of the city's most powerful business leaders, Burnham's plan represented the ideal city of the Progressive Era.  The Plan was Burnham's attempt to completely reform Chicago, both socially and architecturally, and its boldness has assured its place both as a model and source of controversy for urban planners ever since. [MORE]

Daniel Burnham: Architect, Planner, Leader

Chicago Architecture Foundation

Created for the Centennial of the 1909 Plan of Chicago, this walking tour explores Burnham's career through examples of his work in Chicago's Loop. Learn about Burnham's impact on the architecture and planning professions as well as his unique ability to work with creative talent and community leaders to accomplish great feats.

Tours run from 1:30- 3:30 p.m. on the following dates: [MORE]

Wednesday, June 17, 2009 6:00pm to 7:30pm

Daniel Burnham: Urban Visionary

Chicago Architecture Foundation

By the mid-1880s Chicago was dealing with massive environmental and socail problems that threatened to make great parts of the city unlivable. Donald Miller, author of City of the Century: The Epic of Chicago and the Making of Modern America will address Burnham's efforts to create an efficient urban community. He will examine how Burnham balanced order and freedom, growth and control, and capitalism and community to work to create a better metropolitan city.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009 12:15pm to 1:00pm

Lunchtime Lecture: Beyond Burnham

Chicago Architecture Foundation

The authors of  Beyond Burnham: An Illustrated History of Planning for the Chicago Region take you on a journey through a century of planning for metropolitan Chicago. From the Plan of Chicago to the push for superhighways and airports and battles over urban sprawl, their new book explores the personalities that helped shape Chicago and the “big plans” they espoused.

A book signing will follow in the Chicago Architecture Foundation Shop. [MORE]

Wednesday, November 11, 2009 12:15pm to 1:00pm

Lunchtime Lecture: The Wacker Manual

Chicago Architecture Foundation

Wacker’s Manual of the Plan of Chicago: Municipal Economy, written in 1911, taught the city’s eighth grade students about the 1909 Plan of Chicago. Jean Linsner, Vice President of Youth Education, Chicago Architecture Foundation, shares highlights from this textbook and offers a glimpse at how today’s students and teachers take up the challenges set forth in the Manual. [MORE]

Wednesday, May 27, 2009 12:15pm to 1:00pm

One and the Same: Burnham the Architect and Burnham the Planner

Chicago Architecture Foundation

In many discussions of Burnham's career, his work as an architect is treated separately, and often less favorably, then his work as a planner.  Yet he himself viewed the world and his role in it, holistically.  This lecture by Kristen Schaffer, Ph.D., Associate Professor, School of Architecture, North Carolina State University, examines Burnham's emphasis on the creation of public space as a connection between his architectural and planning work. [MORE]

Exhibit : Thursday, January 15, 2009 to Friday, May 1, 2009

ORD: Documenting the Definitive Modern Airport

Chicago Architecture Foundation

In the second half of the 20th century Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport was the biggest and busiest facility of its kind in the world. Designed by a team of architects led by C.F. Murphy Associates, O’Hare remains one of the largest architectural commissions in Chicago’s history.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009 12:15pm to 1:00pm

Planning in Chicago Before the Plan of Chicago

Chicago Architecture Foundation

As we commemorate the centennial of the Plan of Chicago - one of the most influential documents in the history of American urban planning - it is important to recognize that the Plan was the result of a broader social movement, both locally and beyond.  In this illustrated talk, Professor Carl Smith, Fraklyn Bliss Snyder Professor of English and American Studies and Professor of History at Northwestern University, discusses the pre-history of the Plan of Chicago.  [MORE]

Friday, March 27, 2009 8:30am to 2:30pm

Professional Development Workshop for CPS Teachers

Burnham Plan Centennial Committee

The Burnham Plan Centennial in collaboration with the DePaul Center for Urban Education and the Chicago Public Schools Office of Literacy, Instruction and Assessment invites third- and eighth-grade and special education teachers to participate in a special day-long workshop that will help teachers to make the city itself a vital part of the curriculum. [MORE]

Santa Fe Building Tour

Chicago Architecture Foundation

Discover why the Santa Fe Building is considered a crown jewel of Chicago’s gilded age of architecture and the epitome of early skyscraper development during the evolution of the first Chicago School of Architecture. Designed in 1904 by D.H. Burnham & Co., you will learn the message this building has for 21st century architecture and planning.

Upcoming tour dates: [MORE]

Chicago Architecture Foundation


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