News / 11.16.18

Talking with the Tour Leaders of the Chicago Architecture Center

Epstein’s Steve Marx has been a CAC docent for 25 years

Chicago is known around the world for its architecture. Whether you tour downtown or a neighborhood, interesting stories can usually be found behind most buildings. With more than 85 tours to choose from, the Chicago Architecture Center (CAC) allows participants to visit iconic skyscrapers, elegant hotels and even the legendary houses of Frank Lloyd Wright.

The CAC has five signature tours, with each aimed at inspiring people to discover why design matters:

Epstein’s Steve Marx, Director of Client Services, has been a docent with the Chicago Architecture Center for the past 25 years. Of his personal involvement with the cultural organization, Steve said, “I have met thousands of people from all across the globe who have challenged and kept me on top of my game with their questions and comments.”

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Photo by Tom Harris/Chicago Architecture Center

Steve has led an assortment of walking tours, including Historic Skyscrapers, Rise of the Skyscraper, Streeterville and Millennium Park. And he’s recently picked up two new tours, Chicago Modern and Hotel Boom.

“Over the years as a docent, I have developed and conducted public and private tours and serve as an interpreter of Chicago’s architecture and its history. I love sharing my viewpoints, knowledge and passion for great design. This excitement really complements my work at Epstein,” Steve said.

Steve, who, among other tasks, is responsible for developing and managing relationships with clients in the office, hospitality and retail markets, says the confidence and skills necessary to lead tours have been hugely beneficial.

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A look inside the center’s eye-catching Skyscraper Gallery. Photo by Tom Harris/Chicago Architecture Center

“The docent training is a rigorous experience,” Steve noted. “In addition to becoming a content expert, you also have to acquire a broad understanding of architecture and architectural language. This comes into play in my day-to-day work at Epstein.”

Epstein has been a proud member of the organization for over 25 years. Furthermore, we were pleased to donate to the CAC’s new building, which officially opened its doors in August.

The nonprofit group previously known as the Chicago Architecture Foundation opted for a new name, too, dropping “foundation” in exchange for “center.” The move further signifies the arrival of an active cultural destination along the city’s evolving riverfront at 111 E. Wacker Drive.

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The glass-walled space invites guests to observe both the models inside and the city beyond. Photo by Anthony Tahlier/Chicago Architecture Center

The CAC made its new home at the base of the Mies van der Rohe’s 1970 Illinois Center office complex. The design of the new space came from Chicago-based Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture, who extended the broad Miesian columns down to the sidewalk and enclosed what was once a raised outdoor plaza to create a dynamic new 20,000-square-foot space.

Steve said, “The new Chicago Architecture Center showcases the evolution of this amazing institution and raises its visibility tremendously.”

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