Study Trip Chicago day 7

Keeping up with the practice of getting a ‘good night’s sleep’, Mollier was up and running at 8 am after a quick breakfast to head to Arcadis downtown.

While stuffing our faceswith some amazing and fresh baked muffins, we were introduced to Arcadis’ company organization, the various disciplines and their future plans by Paul Darby, the associate VP and an avid water skiing enthusiast. He then guided us on a walking tour of their projects and sites- first through an art museum designed by Renzo Piano, to the Shirley Ryan Ability Lab and then to the Gems World Academy, one of Chicago’s premier schools (which will leave you $40,000 poorer every year). Here we also passed by the city’s next tallest building, a wavy beast which most of us thought was a construction error.

If no one has already mentioned, Chicago’s trains are hideously loud. These living acoustic and vibration nightmares are being renovated by the amazing George, who is also from Arcadis. He also explained a lot about how the project was being undertaken while the transit lines were active. Every seven minutes, the work was stopped to allow the trains to pass. Most of the work happened on the weekends, with only a few irate passengers inconvenienced by the stoppage. All in all, it was a marvel of a project with very challenging constraints that were meticulously negotiated and executed by their team. On the same CTA line are four other stations slated for renovation, with a total cost of around 2 billion dollars expected to take 7 long years. The city does plan to replace all the noisy-ness soon. It might take long, but they will get there soon. Or so they say.

After looking at some intimidating construction drawings, we had worked up an appetite to devour a barbarically large American pizza which was almost a meter across. No lies. Not one. Three. We Mollier pigs finished it all. Even the salad and soda were not spared. Some people got to peep into the vault of the bank that was in the same building. Only looking and no touching.

After being highly recommended by multiple Chicagoans, we took a(n extremely cheap) ride on the water taxi through downtown and some beers were involved*. While most of the group decided to freeload back downtown, some of us set out on an adventure to explore china(town) and were thoroughly disappointed by the lack of dragons.

In the free time, a couple of beers were emptied*. The hot temperatures of the city drove Mollier to the beach and a swim in the freezing cold water, which, at the moment, seemed like a really good idea. Some more beers were gedronken*, songs sung and grocery-store-celebrity-run-in anecdotes from Marc were exchanged.

When we finally came home, we finished some more beers for a change, while some other people snored away to glory.

*We do not have an alcohol problem, we promise.

– Written by Meghana, moral support and supervision by Martijn –