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8 Architectural Wonders to See in Illinois | Bard Optical

8 Architectural Wonders to See in Illinois

View from willis tower in illinois

From bustling cities to serene forests, Illinois has a little bit of everything.

Chicago, Springfield, and the smaller cities around central Illinois all feature prime examples of amazing architecture.

See this stunning architecture for yourself!


Willis Tower

Formerly known as the Sears Tower, the Willis Tower looms well above the Chicago skyline.

Built-in 1973, it held the title of the tallest building in the world for 25 years after its erection. Each floor of this monumental building is around 50,000 square feet in diameter.

In 2009, a retractable glass balcony was added on the 103rd-floor Skydeck that features a glass floor that protrudes outward, giving you the illusion that you are leaning off the edge of the building.


Illinois State Capitol

The State Capitol took 20 years to finish after its groundbreaking in 1868.

The total height of the capitol is 361 feet, and it is the tallest non-skyscraper capital in the U.S., even taller than the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C.

Designed to imitate the French Renaissance style of art, the State Capitol features a beautiful, 92-foot-wide dome that adds to the Renaissance feeling.


Frank Lloyd Wright Home and Studio

The home of famous architect Frank Lloyd Wright was built in Oak Park in 1889 and declared a historical landmark in 1976.

It is a modest and expressive home with exterior sculptures designed by Wright’s friend Richard Bock.


Robie House

Also designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, the Robie House was designed and built between 1909 and 1910.

The Robie House is one of Wright’s best-known examples of prairie architecture, and it was recognized as being one of the most important buildings in American architecture history.


GAR Hall

Located in Peoria, the Grand Army of the Republic Memorial Hall was constructed in 1909 as a memorial to American Civil War soldiers.

Designed in a neoclassical style, it features beautiful stained glass windows, an artistic dome ceiling, and an authentic Civil War-era cannon that guards the front entrance.


Holy Name Cathedral

Located in Chicago, Holy Name Cathedral is one of the largest Roman Catholic dioceses in the United States.

It is built in a beautiful gothic revival architecture style and resembles the Catholic churches of old.

The Holy Name Cathedral is most notable because it is a gothic-style church juxtaposed against the modern architecture of the surrounding skyscrapers.


James R. Thompson Center

The James R. Thompson Center opened in May 1985 to mixed reviews by critics. Some critics claimed that it was “outrageous,” while others claimed that it was “wonderful.”

The design of the building aims to simultaneously look to the future while also paying homage to the architecture of the past.


Farnsworth House

Designed between 1945 and 1951 by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, the Farnsworth House was commissioned to be home to a one-room weekend rural retreat.

The modern, rigid architecture style of the Farnsworth House set against the serenity of the Midwest is designed as a deliberate expression of a person’s relationship with society.

Whether you want to see towering buildings or a quaint hamlet in the countryside, Illinois has a beautiful, masterfully constructed architecture for anyone to enjoy.

So get out there this summer and feast your eyes on some of the many beautiful and awe-inspiring pieces of architecture that the Land of Lincoln has to offer.

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