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07/09/2014 08:00 am ET

18 Structures That Prove Chicago Is America's Best Architectural City

Chicago is home to some of the best architecture known to man, and now it wants the world to know.

Using Italy's Venice Biennale of Architecture as a model, the city recently announced a major architectural exhibition of its own, set to kick off in October of 2015. If the three-month-long Chicago Architecture Biennial is a success, it will return every two years, the Chicago Tribune reports.

The inspiration is full-circle. Michelle Boone, commissioner of Chicago's Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events, told the Tribune that the Venice Biennial was born from the 1893 World's Fair in Chicago, which was housed in stunning Beaux Arts buildings designed by prominent American architects.

"The mayor of Venice came to Chicago, saw (the exposition), and said, 'Italy is too consumed with its past. We must be about the future,'" she explained.

The Windy City no longer boasts the tallest skyscraper in America, ever since One World Trade Center in New York controversially claimed that honor last fall. But with so much stunning architecture it doesn't really matter: No matter how many vanity inches other structures stack on, size has nothing on the Windy City's style. These 18 buildings are proof positive that when it comes to American architecture, Chicago is on top of the world.

Pavillion at Lincoln Park Zoo South Pond (Studio Gang Architects)

lincoln park zoo south pond

Marina City (Bertrand Goldberg)

marina city chicago

The Rookery (Frank Lloyd Wright, Daniel Burnham, John Wellborn Root)

the rookery chicago

The Carbide and Carbon Building (Daniel Burnham Jr., Hubert Burnham)

carbon and carbide

Inland Steel Building (Skidmore, Owings & Merrill)

inland steel building

Robie House (Frank Lloyd Wright)

robie house

Carson, Pirie, Scott & Co. building (Louis Sullivan, Daniel Burnham)

carson pirie scott chicago

Lake Point Tower (John Heinrich, George Schipporeit)

lake point tower

Chicago Cultural Center (Shepley, Rutan and Coolidge)

chicago cultural center

Aqua Tower (Studio Gang Architects)

aqua chicago

Museum of Science and Industry (Charles Atwood and Daniel Burnham)

museum of science and industry

Tribune Tower (Raymond Hood, John Mead Howells, John Vinci)

tribune tower

Crain Communications (formerly Smurfit Stone) Building (Sheldon Schlegman)

smurfit stone building

Pritzker Pavillion (Frank Gehry)
pritzker pavilion

Sears Tower (What, did you really think we'd call it "Willis"?) (Fazlur Khan and Bruce Graham/Skidmore, Owings & Merrill)
sears tower night

Crown Hall at the Illinois Institute of Technology in Chicago (Mies van der Rohe)

mies van der rohe chicago

John Hancock Center (Fazlur Khan and Bruce Graham/Skidmore, Owings & Merrill)

hancock building chicago

35 East Wacker "Jeweler's Building" (Joachim G. Giaver and Frederick P. Dinkelberg)

jewelers building

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