CCAC eNews
July 2017
CCAC eNews is the monthly newsletter of the Chicago Central Area Committee. For more information about the CCAC or to inquire about membership, please contact Kelly O'Brien at (312) 602-5148 or

Download the 2017 Meeting Calendar!
The CCAC 2017 Meeting Calendar is ready to download in PDF format. The Calendar lists this year's dates and locations for our popular luncheon speaker series, hosted each month by a different CCAC member organization. (NOTE: Locations subject to change--see website for newest calendar. Meetings open to paid members and guests, only.)
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CCAC Hears a Discussion on Unlocking the Beauty of Gateways From Architecture Critic, Blair Kamin
CCAC would like to thank Steve Galler, Executive Vice President and General Counsel of The Habitat Company for hosting CCAC’s monthly luncheon on Tuesday, July 11th at Hubbard Place. Our membership heard a presentation on “Unlocking the Beauty of Gateways” from Pulitzer-Prize winner and Chicago Tribune architecture critic, Blair Kamin. Gateways create an indelible first impression, whether they form an entrance to a university, a cemetery or a city. Kamin’s remarks examined gateways around the world, including the gates of Harvard Yard, and highlighted the focus of his book, “Gates of Harvard Yard.”
Kamin discussed a topic that has relevance in the central area. Gateways can be either train stations (Union Station), O’Hare International and Midway Airports, along the Dan Ryan expressway or Lakeshore Drive in Chicago. According to Kamin, “Gateways tell you the values and visions of the people who built them. They send a message about the city that visitors are encountering for the first time."
(L:R) Kelly O'Brien, Executive Director, CCAC; Daniel Levin, Founder and Chairman, The Habitat Company; Blair Kamin, Architecture Critic, Chicago Tribune; and Stephen Galler, Executive Vice President and General Counsel, The Habitat Company.
In general, Kamin stated, “At their best, gates and gateways lend a poetry of their own to acts of passage that form an essential part of our lives as individuals and as part of something larger than ourselves. Not all gates are created equal. They can articulate noble ideals and aspirations; express the profound power of the transitions we make, from confinement to freedom, life to death, and ignorance to understanding.” 
No matter where you are in the world, Chicago makes an architectural impact. Roughly five years ago, Kamin participated in a yearlong Nieman Journalism Fellowship at Harvard University. During his stay, he became intrigued by the 25 gates that surround the Harvard Yard. During his exploration, he learned that Chicagoan Samuel Johnston donated $10,000 to Harvard University to offer a gateway. The Johnston Gate, named after its donor was built in 1889. Kamin became interested in the way gateways framed movements in correlation with the use of the buildings. Kamin’s curiosity was also piqued observing details such as the wrought-iron flower, hidden numbers and the image of the boar’s head in the gates. As a part of his fellowship and newly found interest, Kamin taught a class on the Gates of Harvard Yard and from there started giving tours of the Harvard Gates, as well as touring famous gates from all over the world.
It’s important to distinguish between gates and gateways. According to Kamin, “Gates have ambiguous beauty because they’re about control. Gateways are about framing an entrance, accentuating a passage and celebrating that passage. Making an entrance is crucial to the identity of our cities, their quality of life and the way that one experiences the buildings that are yet to come.”
Kamin expressed that "gates are ubiquitous and transcend geography and cultural differences. They are built for protection and control, to announce treasured areas in cities and to symbolize the power of those who built them."
In understanding and framing gateways, Kamin proposed to look at them through three lenses: objects of beauty, makers of places and vessels of identity. Examples of objects include gates to cemeteries and universities. For makers of places, Kamin highlighted Jerusalem's Golden Gate and the biblical story of Lot waiting on the Angels at the city of Sodom. An example of vessels of identity for institutions, nations and conflict is the Brandenburg Gate.
In Chicago, “gates and gateways are the symbols of the neighborhood. For example, gates on Division street create a sense of place within the vast undifferentiated area,” Kamin expressed. He continued, “What would North Michigan Avenue be without its gateway towers?” He went on to explain that Chicago architect Andrew Rebori created a conceptual plan that led to the placement of the Chicago Tribune Tower and the Wrigley Building so they  form the portal into North Michigan Avenue.
Kamin discussed the Cloud Gate structure or commonly nicknamed, “The Bean” in Millennium Park. His fascination is due largely in part because strictly speaking, it’s not a gate. “It’s not attached to a fence or wall. It’s a free-standing object. Even though it’s a sculpture, it has a strong 3-dimensionality to it, a sense of passage and really symbolizes how gates rather than separating us can draw us together,” Kamin noted.
“Gates and gateways are important because they sound the opening notes in the architectural symphony of a city and university; they’re powerful symbols of belonging; signifiers of history; and vivid expressions of transitions through space and time that form an essential part of the human experience. The question is not whether we should build them, but how.”
 CCAC Audience at Hubbard Place for the July 11th Lunch.
Please Note:
CCAC does not host a luncheon for the month of August.                
Next CCAC Meeting:                                       
Tuesday, September 12, 2017 at the Tortoise Club
Join us at the Tortoise Club on Tuesday, September 12, 2017 for the next CCAC meeting hosted by Thomas McElroy, Principal, Level-(1) Global Solutions. 
(Reminder: Monthly lunches are for CCAC members in good standing and their guests)

Ray Lang

Senior Director- National State Relations




Tuesday, September 12, 2017



12:00 -- 1:30 p.m.



Tortoise Club

350 N. State Street

Chicago, IL 60654



Thomas McElroy

Level-(1) Global Solutions

Kelly O'Brien at

“Amtrak's Development Plan for Chicago"
Mr. Lang will provide an overview of Amtrak’s commercial development plan for Chicago Union Station and the surrounding property.  This plan will include the construction of several towers on the air rights that Amtrak owns in and around Union Station.  Amtrak hopes to use the revenue generated from this development to help pay for the Chicago Union Station Master Plan, which is the comprehensive plan that Amtrak, Metra and the City are working on to modernize and improve the station’s tracks, platforms and concourse.
Highlights from the Young Leader Tour of Northerly Island 
Our CCAC Young Leaders had the opportunity to learn about the History, Framework Plan & Design, Construction, and Program & Future Planning of Northerly Island. Our June 28th event included the following speakers: Gregg Calpino, SmithGroup JJR, Teishetta Daniel, Chicago Park District and Bob Foster, Chicago Housing Authority, formerly with the Chicago Park District. The event began with a presentation in the fieldhouse and concluded with a brief walking tour of Northerly Island. 
Special thank you to Young Leader Board Member, Katie Martin, Associate Principal, Forum Studio for organizing the 3rd Quarter Event.
Immediately following the tour, CCAC sponsored a "Happy Hour" networking reception at The Scout Waterhouse & Kitchen.  
CCAC would like to thank the speakers and members for making the event enjoyable for all.
Register Today!
CCAC Young Leader Connector Sprint
CCAC has a long history of organizing charrettes. The 2017 Charrette/Sprint is an opportunity to learn about the neighborhood where the Obama Presidential Center will be located and provide visions for transportation and unlocking economic development.
Sign up today to be part of one of the dynamic teams. 
Wednesday, September 27th
5:30 pm- Introduction, Driving Tour, Stakeholder Dinner
Thursday, September 28th
9:00 am: Stakeholder Interviews
12:00 pm: Team Break Out
7:00 pm: Working Dinner
Friday, September 29th: Final Presentations
9:00 am: Bagels & Coffee
4:00 pm: Final Presentations
5:00 pm: Reception
Participants in the workshop will focus on how transit can unlock economic development opportunities that enrich the existing community and integrate the Obama Presidential Center plans.
Sponsorships are available.
For more information and to register, e-mail Shalora Jasper at
For more information, please contact Executive Director, Kelly O'Brien at 
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