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From Vista Tower to Al Capone’s house, the top stories of 2016

These were the stories that had the most impact on Curbed readers this year

Studio Gang/Magellan

Yet again, this year was another big one in the world of Chicago architecture and real estate. 2016 could have been the year that Chicago hosted the Summer Olympics, but instead, the city witnessed a post-recession record of construction activity and welcomed a slew of major tower proposals. So, what did Curbed's readers love in 2016? If the biggest stories of the year are anything to go by, then it’s construction maps, renderings for wild supertalls, and Pokémon Go. Here now are the 10 most read Curbed Chicago stories of 2016.

Frank Lloyd Wright's Robie House

A photo posted by Adrian LaTrace Jr. (@ajlatrace) on

10. Frank Lloyd Wright's Robie House to Host Happy Hours Every Friday in April

Who knew that booze and the Prairie homes of Frank Lloyd Wright would pair together so well? Earlier this year, the Frank Lloyd Wright Trust hosted their April After Hours at Robie House series which welcomed guests into the landmark Frederick C. Robie House in Hyde Park for drinks and hors d’oeuvres.

Curbed Chicago Flickr pool/Debbie Mercer

9. Quiz: Which Chicago Neighborhood Should You Live in?

Chicago is a city of neighborhoods, but with 77 distinct community areas it can be challenge to know exactly where you belong. The Chicago experience greatly depends on the neighborhood you live in, but there are just so many options to choose from. We made a quiz to help point folks in the right direction.

Curbed Chicago Flickr pool/Seth Anderson

8. Mapping the West Loop's unprecedented development boom

It’s been a wild couple of years for the West Loop neighborhood, and 2017 looks to be yet another year of major changes and new development. From condos to offices, boutique shops to hotels, this area seems to have it all, and is poised to get even more. We put together a convenient map to help illustrate exactly how much new construction and renovation work has been happening in the hot downtown neighborhood.

Eric Allix Rogers

7. Open House Chicago 2016: 20 must-see sites

The Chicago Architecture Foundation’s Open House Chicago has become an annual tradition and one of most important highlights for anyone interested in Chicago architecture. This year’s Open House Chicago featured over 200 sites, but we narrowed it down to a list of 20 key places that visitors had to see.


6. Mysterious Mural Revealed After Demolition of Loop Building

What could have been one of the greatest cultural finds in years ended up just being nothing more than a relic of former Loop nightclub. After one of the oldest buildings in the Loop was demolished, an odd mural with characteristics of work by Austrian symbolist painter Gustav Klimt was revealed. It wasn’t a long lost cultural treasure however. The mural was the backdrop of the Superlounge club from around 2002-2003.

Studio Gang

5. A Closer Look at Jeanne Gang's Planned 93-story Vista Tower

Perhaps the single most anticipated new building for the Chicago skyline, the under-construction Vista Tower launched sales for its pricey new condo units earlier this year. In March, we got a look at a slew of new interior renderings and images of the tower’s sales center, which offers potential buyers a look at their future home and its views utilizing a wall of 52 flat-screen displays.


4. A Look at Gensler’s 2,000-foot Conceptual Design for the Chicago Spire Site

While the Chicago Spire, a 2,000-foot supertall designed by Santiago Calatrava, is long dead, the Gateway concept from architecture firm Gensler offered a look at what could be built at the site. The aim of the concept was not just to design a very tall tower, but to illustrate the untapped mixed-use possibilities of the prominent site.

3. Al Capone's First Chicago Home Returns With Big Price Chop

The rather unassuming-looking home at 7244 S. Prairie Avenue has a notable history. The old brick two-flat was actually the first Chicago home of notorious gangster and Chicago Outfit boss Al Capone. The home has bounced on and off the market over the last couple of years and was most recently asking only $179,900.

Curbed Chicago Flickr pool/urbsinhorto1837

2. Mapping the high-rises under construction in Chicago right now

While many won’t look back too fondly on 2016 (for various reasons), this year was truly a significant one in terms of new construction activity for Chicago. Dozens of new high-rise projects began their climb into the sky throughout the course of the year, helping to set a new post-recession record of construction permits and number of operating tower cranes.

#kingler #pokemongochicago #firekitchencatch

A photo posted by Cory Amons (@firekitchencatch) on

1. Where to Catch Rare Pokémon in Chicago

2016 will forever be remembered as the year of the Pokémon Go craze. And a craze it was. At its launch, the game featured 151 different types of Pokémon, but participants had to travel around the city to find the digital creatures. Parks, retail spaces, and transit hubs became the hot spots to find Pokémon and battle it out with other trainers, and with the help of readers, we were able to come up with a map of the places where rare Pokémon were hiding.