This was the weekend of The Chicago Architecture Foundation’s second annual Open House Chicago, a free invitation to peek inside a number of buildings across the city that aren’t usually open to the public.
Despite a busy weekend and lousy weather, I managed to pop in to a few locations yesterday and today. None was as impressive and affecting as the Agudas Achim Synagogue in Uptown. Built in 1922, the synagogue hasn’t been in use since the late 1980s and was closed in 2008, so the CAF open house was a rare opportunity indeed.
The building is impressive and eerie. In its current crumbling state, it serves as a sobering reminder of what happens when an architectural gem languishes, awaiting restoration. Open House Chicago is a wonderful way to raise awareness to historic preservation, while giving the public a glimpse inside buildings we’ve passed by for years, thinking to ourselves, “I wonder what it looks like inside.”