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13 Chicago Design Destinations You Won't Find On A Boat Tour

Chicago is renowned for its design marvels, but have you explored these lesser-known sites? Much like the design of these structures, Porsche designs do not follow the times. They are emotional and timeless.

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1. The McCormick Tribune Campus Center

The McCormick Tribune Campus Center opened in 2003, making it a relatively new addition to Chicago's storied architecture scene. It is the first building by Rem Koolhaas built in the United States. The structure is notable for the sound-buffering tunnel surrounding the train tracks above, which stand independent of the building to eliminate vibration, as well as the neon orange interior color scheme.

2. The Battledeck House in Highland Park

Teemu008 / CC BY-SA http://2.0 / Via Flickr: teemu08

Head to the suburb of Highland Park to see the former home of architect Henry Dubin. The "Battledeck house" is an early example of the modern style, and was the childhood home of Henry's son, Arthur Dubin, who would grow up to design Chicago's rail stations.

3. The Mary W. Adams House and the Ward Winfield Willits House in Highland Park

And while you're up in Highland Park, be sure to drive by these two modernist homes by famed Chicago architect Frank Lloyd Wright. The two showcase the Prairie Style for which Wright was renowned — featuring stucco exteriors and numerous art glass windows — but were built outside of the Prairie Home neighborhood of Oak Park. The Willits House is considered the first great Prairie Style home.

4. Deering Library at Northwestern University

The Deering Library (pictured at left during a Winter Lights festival) is a shining example of Collegiate Gothic-style architecture. Architect James Gamble Rogers based the project on King's College Chapel in Cambridge, England.

5. The Baha'i House of Worship (Just North of Chicago in Wilmette)

jelloneck / CC BY http://2.0 / Via Flickr: jelonekphotography

A short drive north of Chicago brings you to the Baha'i Temple. This nine-sided dome structure is designed to evoke a sense of oneness and is surrounded by serene gardens and fountains. The temple is one of only seven in the world, so it's definitely worth the short trip.

6. The South Pond Pavilion at the Lincoln Park Zoo

This project by Studio Gang uses prefab materials to create a hypnotic canopy of wooden webbing. Situated on a boardwalk built of recycled materials, the canopy is part of a larger effort to rehabilitate the urban pond.

7. The E-Z Polish Factory

swanksalot / CC BY-SA http://2.0 / Via Flickr: swanksalot

The "best polish in the world" applies to shoe polish, not Polish sausage, as many falsely assume. Surprisingly, this 1905 factory is the early design work of Frank Lloyd Wright. The small and limited windows high on the building prefigure the styling of the Prairie School of Architecture. Wright would later design and build a home for the factory's owner.

8. The Lavazzorio Community Center

This public building, also by Studio Gang, features a "strata-wall" of concrete that represents the variety of donors who made the project possible. Large windows flood the community learning space with natural light, which is designed to be a functional social hub.

9. Atrium of the Harold Washington Library

The Harold Washington Library is a well-known tourist destination. While the stacks themselves are tight and oppressive, the atrium above the structure is as airy an indoor space as you'll find. Grab a book, find a chair, and you'll feel as though you're reading in a Parisian courtyard.

10. The Reading Room of the Harper Library at the University of Chicago

rseidel3 / CC BY http://2.0 / Via Flickr: 56194068@N04

The reading room of the Harper Library is a masterpiece of Gothic architecture. Completed in 1912, the library took design inspiration from Christ Church College Oxford and King's College Chapel Cambridge.

11. The Regenstein Library at the University of Chicago

The "Reg" is a polarizing structure. Designed in the brutalist style by Walter Netsch, the structure's bold angles produce startling shadows that come alive when seen in black and white.

12. Bond Chapel at the University of Chicago

rseidel3 / CC BY http://2.0 / Via Flickr: 56194068@N04

Built in 1926, the Bond Chapel boasts an extraordinary menagerie of stained glass windows. It's an exquisite example of Byzantine design hidden within a city known for its modern structures.

13. And finally, the Cupola atop the Jewelers Building

Many are familiar with the profile of the Jewelers Building downtown, but far fewer have seen the stunning geometric pattern that decorates the inside of the building's dome. Originally, the inside of the dome was a high-class restaurant frequented by Al Capone. Today, it's a presentation space that offers sweeping views of the city.

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