ArchiSketch: Grant Park/Michigan Ave & Congress

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We'll explore a small section of the 'iconic' Michigan Avenue street wall from Van Buren south to Congress Parkway. Then we'll enter Grant Park. One of the largest parks along the Chicago's lakefront. Not only will we explore the relationship between "work" and "play" but we'll also learn about the evolution of Chicago architecture from late 19th to early 20th century. 


We will begin at the Van Buren and Michigan Avenue with some warm-up sketches of Chicago Club and the art nouveau Van Buren Metra entrance. Longer stop across from the Van Buren-to-Congress streetwall so you'll be able to work on perspective, texture and details of Chicago Club, Fine Arts Building and Auditorium Building (aka Roosevelt University). Then, we'll walk into Grant Park, learn more about its history and development as we head toward its centerpiece, Buckingham Fountain. Another, 30-40 minute sketching stop to capture landscape, skyline, details, and much more. 


Buildings/structures include:



  • Chicago Club

  • Van Buren Metra entrance

  • Auditorium Building/Roosevelt University at Congress Street

  • Buckingham Fountain

  • The Bowman & Spearman sculptures

  • North President’s Court with Michigan Avenue in background

  • Metropolitan Building and Motorola Building at Jackson & Michigan


Presentation topics: Chicago architecture at turn of 20th century, the city’s history, and the relationship between the commerce of the Loop and Grant Park one of the Chicago's lakefront parks.


Sketching exercises will be designed for each stop:



  • Capturing texture

  • Contour drawing

  • Perspective (one-point and two-point)

  • Proportion

  • Capturing shading & highlights


This workshop will require a lot of walking, approximately 2.5-3 miles (4.0-4.8 km) and exposure to sunlight with limited shade.


Learning Goals:


  • interpretation of architecture styles, elements, and overall design

  • connecting to Chicago history and development

  • practicing architectural sketching skills for perspective, scale and capturing the “big view” versus details


Grant Park: Michigan Ave. & Congress Parkway ArchiSketch Chicago is a 3-hour walking workshop.



  • Van Buren Metra Entrance on EAST Michigan Ave (meeting place)

  • Plaza across from Auditorium Building

  • Congress Parkway entrance to Grant Park

  • Buckingham Fountain

  • North Presidents' Court (Sitting Lincoln)

  • Suti Garden adjacent to Michigan Avenue and Jackson Blvd.


Walking route is approx. >3 miles (>4.8 km). Accessible via public transit {preferred} and/or public parking. Walking distance to washrooms and restaurants will be limited. Handicap accessible. No refunds for inclement weather, an indoor workshop will be given and participants will be alerted prior to the workshop. Please note, these workshops are NOT plein air classes; ArchiSketch Chicago participants will be visiting multiple locations with ample time for the sketching exercise and architecture interpretation, versus staying in one place. ArchiSketch Chicago workshops are intended for individuals who are 18 and older with or without any drawing skills. Participants should bring to the designated ArchiSketch Chicago meeting place, their favorite sketching materials: sketchbook, pencils & erasers, pens/markers, or iPad/tablet, a folding stool is optional. Most of all…bring a open mind and a keen eye. It is recommended that you travel light, wear comfortable clothing and walking shoes appropriate for an urban walk; ability to climb stairs maybe needed. 

  1. drawing
  2. history
Materials to bring

Bring your favorite sketchbook and pencils/markers; tablet + stylus is OK (Photographers welcome to join, too.)

Joann Sondy

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Joann Sondy is a graphic designer who specializes in multi-page publications; print and digital. Over the years, she has worked with large, medium and small companies to create a variety of projects that include: annual reports, presentations, proposals and other marketing materials. In addition to the client work, Joann's company has published four books and numerous ebooks. A early adopter of digital publishing tools and resources.

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