Blueprints For the Future of

The challenges of re-inventing such a prominent and well-trafficked domain as were not lost on us. Chicago Architecture Foundation found success in the transactional elements of their existing site. What it lacked was a connection to the Foundation's core value: design. We needed to craft a website that properly represented the importance CAF puts on design as an art form.

The Glue That Binds It All

Fastspot created the Buildings of Chicago database to connect CAF's "collection" of buildings with their tours, educational programs, and glossary of architectural terms. The idea came out of our first meetings with CAF, and what’s come of that initial conversation is a growing interactive encyclopedia of Chicago’s buildings that depicts its unique urban landscape through historical stories and factual data—and all culled from the expertise of CAF's knowledgeable staff and volunteer docents. This complex schema was accomplished using BigTree CMS

Not Just Tours

In order to position CAF as an interpreter of Chicago’s architectural history and as a facilitator of contemporary civic conversations, we needed to showcase their knowledge, beyond tours and events. The people of CAF are experts in their field.

They eat, sleep, and breathe architecture.

They love Chicago. There is constant discourse happening behind the scenes. We envisioned the Topic Hubs in the Topics & News section of the new site to bring those timely conversations to the forefront. These content-rich areas of exploration expand upon historical and contemporary issues affecting the world of architecture.

What's Happening

With so many programs, events, and exhibitions—not to mention hundreds of specialized tours—the new needed a robust calendar system to organize CAF's offerings and make narrowing the choices easier on their users. The calendar is thoughtfully integrated with the Foundation's existing ecommerce system to keep transactions as seamless as possible. Making transactions easy for the user was a key goal of the project. Care was taken to avoid confusing jumps to external links and to provide direct access to the exact item being purchased.

We knew that Fastspot was a team of storytellers, and that's what we do as an organization. Fastspot understood our mission and cared about it. It wasn't just about selling tickets, it was about telling stories. There's no doubt in our minds that Fastspot was 100% the right partner for us.
Jill Farley

Manager of Digital Initiatives, Chicago Architecture Foundation

From the Process

Project Scope

  • Discovery
  • Information Architecture
  • Content Strategy
  • Design
  • Front-end Development
  • CMS Implementation
  • Ongoing Strategic Partnership

Project Details

  • Patron's Edge Online
  • Vimeo
  • Twitter
  • Instagram
  • Google Maps
  • Google Custom Search Engine
  • Responsive Design
  • BigTree CMS



Webby - Official Honoree, Cultural Institutions


Davey Awards Silver for Websites-Cultural Institutions


Davey Award - Cultural Institutions, Silver


Davey Award - Best Visual Design Aesthetic, Silver