18 February 2018

Chicago IL, USA

Architecture plays an important part in the movie THE LAKE HOUSE. The house from the title is inhabited by an architect, Alex Wyler (Keanu Reeves). After he finds mail addressed to the previous occupant, Kate Forster (Sandra Bullock) in his mailbox, they start to write letters to each other.
The Lake House, 0:03:29
After some time they discover that for an inexplicable reason Alex lives in the year 2004 and Kate two years later, in 2006. To meet each other seems an impossible task with only the magic mailbox to communicate.
The glass house on the lake was built specifically for the film at Maple Lake near Willow Springs, a village in Illinois. The house was constructed around a maple tree.

The house was designed by the British architect Nathan Crowley, in the film the house is a design by Simon Wyler (Christopher Plummer), the father of Alex. The movie was shot between 14 March and 29 May 2005. After filming was completed, the house was demolished. Besides Willow Springs, on location filming was mainly done in Chicago where Kate moves to in the beginning of the film to work as a doctor.

The Art Institute of Chicago,
8 June 2017
Kate is having lunch with her mother (Willeke van Ammelrooy) at the Daley Plaza, located on 50 West Washington Street, looking at the George W. Dunne Cook County Office Building. They are sitting near a sculpture by Pablo Picasso. It is unclear what the steel structure represents, it has two eyes and appears to be an animal-like creature. Picasso never wanted to explain what inspired him. He donated the 50 feet high work to the city of Chicago in 1967. Because it has no title, it is in Chicago simply known as The Picasso. It was the first major work of public art at the time, works by amongst others Calder, Dubuffet, Chagall and MirĂ² have followed. One of the two models Picasso made of the sculpture in 1965 is on display at The Art Institute of Chicago.

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Daley Plaza, Chicago, 7 June 2017
The Lake House, 0:08:36
Daley Plaza, Chicago, 7 June 2017
The Lake House, 0:09:31
Daley Plaza, Chicago, 7 June 2017

Alex waits outside for his brother Henry (Ebon Moss-Bachrach), who is also an architect, at the building where he works. This is the Roosevelt University at 430 South Michigan Avenue, the same lobby can also be seen in The Untouchables. On the other side of the street is the Congress Plaza Garden with, among other things, a statue of an Indian on horseback.

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Roosevelt University, Chicago, 8 June 2017
The Lake House, 0:14:32
Congress Plaza Garden, Chicago, 8 June 2017

Through his letters Alex tells Kate about the architecture of Chicago. Sitting in a softball field in Grant Park he is overlooking the Chicago skyline. The tall black tower is the 110-storey Willis Tower, the highest building in Chicago.

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Softball Field #16, Grant Park, Chicago, 8 June 2017
The Lake House, 0:25:18
Softball Field #16, Grant Park, Chicago, 8 June 2017

Based upon a city-walk that Alex has made, Kate is discovering the city by visiting his favourite buildings. She crosses East Wacker Drive, passes the Tribune Tower on 435 North Michigan Avenue and looks at several houses. The last house of the tour, at 1239 North State Parkway, was demolished a few months before our visit. The design for the future building is displayed on the fence.

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East Wacker Drive, Chicago, 7 June 2017
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Tribune Tower, Chicago, 7 June 2017
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1320 North State Parkway, Chicago, 8 June 2017
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49 East Division Street, Chicago, 8 June 2017
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1325 North Dearborn Street, Chicago, 8 June 2017
The Lake House, 0:26:36
1239 North State Parkway, Chicago, 8 June 2017

Sometimes Alex and Kate are seen at the same place but at different times, for example sitting on benches in front of the Farm-in-the-Zoo, a petting zoo at the Lincoln Park Zoo. The zoo has no entrance fee. From our Hotel Lincoln we had a view of the big red barn and the rest of the zoo.

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Farm-in-the-Zoo, Licoln Park Zoo, Chicago, 6 June 2017
Farm-in-the-Zoo, Licoln Park Zoo, Chicago, 7 June 2017

Later on, some other well-known landmarks are shown, such as the drawbridges over the Chicago River and the statue of Father Time on top of a clock at the Jewelers' Building located at 35 East Wacker Drive.

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Chicago River, Chicago, 7 June 2017
The Lake House, 1:02:12
Father Time clock, Jewelers' Building, Chicago, 7 June 2017

Thanks to Chas Demster from weblog It's Filmed There for providing the addresses of the houses.

Screenshots © Warner Bros./Village Roadshow Pictures