Fall colors pop into tree leaves at Promontory Point in Hyde Park. Credit: Colin Boyle/Block Club Chicago

HYDE PARK — A free walking tour of Hyde Park is kicking off this weekend to commemorate the latest edition of the AIA Guide to Chicago, a prime source for local history and architecture.

Laurie Petersen will start the tour 1 p.m. Oct. 8 outside the Seminary Co-op bookstore, 5751 S. Woodlawn Ave. The tour will be around 90 minutes.

Eric Allix Rogers, a photographer specializing in Chicago’s built environment, also will join the event. Rogers made all the photos featured in the latest edition’s color supplement, which marks the first time color photos have appeared in the guide.

The fourth edition of the guide produced by the American Institute of Architects Chicago comes eight years after its last release in 2014.

The book covers almost 2,000 sites, including new destinations like the Riverwalk, the St. Regis Chicago and The 606, as well as updated descriptions of Willis Tower and other refreshed landmarks, according to the Society of Architectural Historians’ website.

With Chicago classics like two-flats and courtyard apartments alongside the historical Rosalie Villas and student housing designed by Studio Gang, the Hyde Park area is a “microcosm” of the city’s architecture, Petersen said.

At nearly 50 pages, the “Hyde Park/South Shore” chapter is the second-longest in the book behind only the Loop, she said. 

“It’s one of Chicago’s older neighborhoods, and because of the [University of Chicago], you have a lot of cutting edge modern buildings,” said Petersen, a freelance writer who has been involved since the book’s first edition in 1993.

In addition to landmark architectures and quintessential Chicago housing designs, the book also features innovative projects such as imaginative rehabs of Cook County Hospital, artist Theaster Gates’ conversion of an old bank on the South Side into a cultural center and a former firehouse on the North Side now devoted to Chicago filmmakers.

The newest guide looks at more recent architectural eras with “fresh eyes,” Petersen said. 

Mid-century buildings were reevaluated for this edition, giving the work of John Moutoussamy — the Black architect behind the Johnson Publishing Company’s headquarters and South Shore high-rises — a chance to shine.

From the post-fire buildings of the 1870s through postmodern structures of recent decades, the AIA Guide gives Chicagoans a “crash course” of the architecture that surrounds them, Petersen said.

“I hope that this book gives people an appreciation of their own neighborhood as well as neighborhoods around the city,” Petersen said. “What this book shows is that there is wonderful architecture in so many diff corners of Chicago.”

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