The Space Within
Patr ick F. Ca n non
Photogr a phs by Ja m e s Cau l fi e l d
Inside Great Chicago Buildings
The Space Within
The Space Within I n s i d e G r e at C h i c a g o B u i l d i n gs Patrick F. Cannon â€˘ Photographs by James Caulfield
Preface TK Introduction TK Residences TK
Clarke House TK Glessner House TK Frank Lloyd Wright Home and Studio TK Nickerson Mansion (Driehaus Museum) TK Charnley-Persky House TK Brewster Apartments TK William H. Winslow House TK Ward Willits House TK Ragdale TK John W. Farson House TK Frederick C. Robie House TK Harry V. Peters House TK Charles Schweppe Mansion TK R. W. Glasner Studio TK Paul Schweikher House TK Farnsworth House TK Glore House TK Crab Tree Farm Guesthouse TK
Public Buildings TK
Auditorium Building TK Art Institute of Chicago TK Chicago Cultural Center TK Field Museum of Natural History TK Chicago Union Station TK Elks Veterans Memorial TK Shedd Aquarium TK Civic Opera House TK Joe and Rika Mansueto Library TK
Houses of Worship TK
Second Presby terian Church TK Holy Trinity Orthodox Cathedral TK St. Mary of the Angels Church TK Unity Temple TK St. Thomas the Apostle Church TK Bond Chapel TK Madonna della Strada Chapel TK Bahá ’í Temple TK Seventeenth Church of Christ, Scientist TK North Shore Congregation Israel TK St. Procopius Abbey Church TK
Commercial Buildings TK
The Rookery TK Macy’s on State Street TK Marquette Building TK Monroe Building TK Field Building TK Inland Steel Building TK Blue Cross–Blue Shield Building TK
About the Author and Photographer TK
Oriental Theatre, Ford Center for the Performing Arts; Rapp & Rapp, 1926. 7
’m sure you’ve heard a variation of the old saying, “If I’d known how much work this would be before I started . . .” Well, I did have an inkling. I had already authored four other architecture books, but none of them included the number and variety of buildings that you’ll find here. In this book, each of the forty-five buildings required some expected research. But because the book’s subject is the interior architecture of those buildings, we were also required to gain entrée into each. While I haven’t counted, there were roughly two hundred people who had at least some role in helping us gain access. Naming each would be more or less meaningless to the reader, and there would be the almost certain danger of leaving someone out inadvertently. So, let our thanks to them be our dedication to showing their buildings in the best possible way. Some of you may wonder why this or that building isn’t included. First, there are always space limitations in books like this. Out of the hundreds of buildings we could have chosen, we made lists of those we felt must be included. Because we also wanted to give each building enough space to properly showcase its unique architecture, the number of buildings featured was always going to be fewer than the Chicago area’s rich architecture warrants. If a special favorite of yours isn’t here, chances are we did consider it. Some that we visited and photographed couldn’t make the cut. With very few, people simply refused to give us access, for reasons that must have seemed sufficient to them, if puzzling to us. Still, others never responded, despite our repeated entreaties. As you’ll see from the stunning images herein, the book is also a showcase for the original architectural photography of James Caulfield, my friend and partner on four previous books on Chicagoarea architects and architecture. While Jim took the majority of photographs in our prior books—on the work of Frank Lloyd Wright,
his Prairie school followers, and his mentor, Louis Sullivan—we have always been interested in the broader story of architecture in Chicago and wanted to create a book that would both widen our scope and showcase his photography. The amount of time he devoted to photographing the buildings, and then preparing nearly three hundred images for publication, went far beyond any income he might reasonably expect from sales. The same is true for the time I spent gaining access and then researching and writing the text. We had another partner, designer Bill Sosin. A photographer himself as well as a designer, Bill is a longtime friend of Jim’s, and thus particularly sensitive to his aesthetic vision. All books have a designer, but the design is more critical in what is really an art book. Bill has been a full partner in everything that you will see here. In a book of this complexity, despite my best efforts, errors may creep in. In most cases, I have relied on information from the source—received directly from the building owner or builder or from sources I consider trustworthy. Dating a building can be a problem. In cases where the date wasn’t clear from other sources, I relied on the 2014 edition of the AIA Guide to Chicago (University of Illinois Press, 2014), a book that anyone interested in Chicago architecture should own. I should also mention that all buildings shown are in Chicago, unless otherwise noted, and that we defined Chicago very broadly. For example, Mies van der Rohe’s Farnsworth House in Plano is a long haul from downtown Chicago, but its connections to the city are close—both its architect and original owner lived and worked in the city. Finally, I would like to thank my wife, Jeanette, whose constant encouragement has enabled me to keep moving forward despite setbacks, and has willingly seen me off to photo shoots in the wee hours of the morning, and sometimes in the waning hours of the day.
Charles Barr House,RiverForest; William Drummond, 1912. 9
“The space within becomes the reality of the building.” —Frank Lloyd Wright
This book has had a long genesis. Although I was born in the Pittsburgh area, my family moved to the South Shore neighborhood of Chicago early in 1946. I can tell you that Chicago was a revelation to me, after the grit and grime that defined Pittsburgh then. We lived across the street from Jackson Park in a typical Chicago courtyard apartment building. Many of my school friends lived in Jackson Park Highlands, a neighborhood of large and impressive homes (most had servants). Unlike many Chicagoans, I have lived on the south and north sides and in Glenview and Oak Park, where I have lived for the last forty years. My father’s fortunes ebbed and flowed, but when they flowed we would often drive downtown for lunch and shopping, and perhaps a matinee. When my father was busy on some weekends, selling furnaces, my mother would take us downtown on the Illinois Central Railroad, which ran down the center of Seventy-first Street. During the 1948 election, my father, a staunch Democrat, took us to the Blackstone Hotel in hopes of seeing President Truman. (The crowd was immense, so all I saw was the president’s hat.) My memories are of a city of grand buildings, magnificent department stores, and, of course, the noisy L. The narrow strip of Grant Park along Michigan Avenue was separated from the rest of the park by railroad tracks, the very tracks that took us downtown. Only the Art Institute bridged this scar on the urban landscape. The buildings that stood out and up from the rest included the Board of Trade; the Field, Wrigley, and Palmolive Buildings; and, of course, Tribune Tower. Chicago has become a cyclist’s city. It really was then, too, with far less traffic to worry about. We often rode our bikes to the Museum of Science and Industry, which was then free and just as full of wonders. It was the first place I saw myself on television and
the first place I descended into a coal mine. We also explored every inch of Jackson Park, primarily created for the World’s Columbian Exposition of 1893, of which I then knew very little. One treasure left over from the fair was the replica hulk of Columbus’ flagship Santa María, slowly deteriorating in Jackson Park Yacht Harbor. More than once, we were chased away by harbor employees. We also, on a couple of occasions, rode our bikes all the way downtown. I had a school friend who lived near the museum in an apartment hotel called the Flamingo, a curious name for a Chicago property. They lived there because both of his parents worked, a rarity in those days. His mother, I’m sure, appreciated the fact that the rent included maid service. During the time I visited him, a new apartment building was going up next door to the south. As kids, we were fascinated by its construction: It was framed with reinforced concrete, which we assumed would have decorations applied just like all similar buildings in Hyde Park. But it never did, and we marveled at that. I learned the building was called the Promontory Apartments, the first high rise designed in Chicago by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe. Now, of course, it doesn’t seem so strange. After a few years spent back in Pittsburgh, I returned to Chicago in 1956 as the city had begun its transformation into what we know today. The Prudential Building at Michigan Avenue and Randolph Street had been completed, the first tall building built since the Depression. It was the first of an endless number. Eventually, the tall buildings I had remembered from the 1940s could no longer be easily seen on a new skyline. And, while I had had no concept of what architecture meant when I was younger, I began to notice that the old and new buildings were not all the same. In 1956 I had little money and had begun to attend Northwestern University, mainly at night. But I walked the city constantly. I saw the
Charles Purcell House, River Forest; Purcell & Elmslie, 1909. 11
city at ground level and from the outside. It was only when I took a course on the Chicago school of architecture, taught by Professor Carl W. Condit (1914–1997) and based on his book of the same title, that I learned how to look at buildings and gain some idea of what was both within their walls and beneath their surfaces. Condit was an amusing and knowledgeable lecturer. Originally trained as a mechanical engineer, he later got a PhD in English literature. At Northwestern, he ended up in the Art History Department and later founded the History of Science Department. One of his passions was the history of the skyscraper, a building type that I discovered had been born in Chicago. Although his lectures were fascinating, the field trips were the most illuminating. I recall two: One was a walking tour of the Loop, where we not only saw the outsides of iconic buildings such as the Rookery and the Monadnock, Marquette, Old Colony, and Fisher Buildings, but went inside to get a more complete picture. I also remember seeing Skidmore, Owings & Merrill’s recently completed Inland Steel Building, the first of many Chicago buildings influenced by the ideas of Van der Rohe. Condit pointed out that the gleaming stainless steel building was only a logical progression from the masonry-clad Marquette Building just a block away on Dearborn Street. We boarded a bus for our other field trip. On the south leg, we stopped at the Illinois Institute of Technology, many of whose buildings had also been designed by Van der Rohe. In Hyde Park, we visited Frank Lloyd Wright’s Robie House, recently saved from demolition through the efforts of Wright himself with the support of the Chicago architecture community, including the increasingly ubiquitous Van der Rohe. Owned by the University of Chicago and used for offices, it wasn’t in entirely original condition, but it had survived. We also visited Oak Park, which along with neighboring River Forest had the largest concentration of Wright’s work in the world. I would later live there briefly in the mid-1960s, then return permanently in 1974, just when Wright’s original home and studio was taken over for restoration by the organization now called the Frank Lloyd Wright Trust. From the beginning, they intended to give tours throughout the restoration process, and I was among the first to volunteer. Except of a brief period, I have given tours of the Home and Studio, the surrounding neighborhood, and Unity Temple ever since.
While the Robie House and Wright’s Home and Studio had been saved, much was lost during those years. Adler & Sullivan’s Schiller Building was lost in the early 1960s, replaced with a nondescript parking garage. When their Chicago Stock Exchange was torn down in 1972, I was working across the street and watched as it fell and was replaced with a mediocre glass tower. This tragedy (only some 30 of the firm’s approximately 180 buildings now survive) was compounded by the accidental death of preservationist and photographer Richard Nickel, who died while attempting to save fragments of Louis Sullivan’s ornament. While other important buildings have since been demolished, the loss of the Stock Exchange in particular spurred greater efforts for preservation, including the saving of many other architectural landmarks, several of which appear in this book. During those years, I pursued a career as a publicist, editor, and publisher. When I retired, I decided to make use of what I had learned and write about a subject I both knew and loved. I persuaded the Frank Lloyd Wright Trust to partner with me, and it was through them that I met my photographer, partner, and now friend, James Caulfield. Our first book, Hometown Architect (Pomegranate, 2006), explored Wright’s work in Oak Park and River Forest in some detail, and with original photography for the surviving buildings. The interiors of many had never been published, and available guidebooks typically showed only exterior views, mostly old black-and-white photographs. Though born in St. Louis, Jim was raised in Chicago and had undertaken the restoration and repurposing of several buildings, notably a Frommann & Jebsen–designed bank on Milwaukee Avenue in the East Village, a Midcentury Modern house by Keck & Keck in Glencoe, and several industrial spaces in Chicago as studios in support of his commercial work. This is our fifth book together. It is the result of the years that Jim and I have lived in Chicago and its suburbs, looking at the buildings we saw in our wanderings and asking the question: what’s inside? We hope that what we found and documented will encourage you to visit the buildings that are open, at least sometimes, to the public. As Wright suggested, the real story of a building begins inside. And for those structures that most people are unlikely to experience firsthand—mostly private homes—we are happy to have been your eyes. Ernest J. Magerstadt House; George Washington Maher, 1908.
Residences Clarke House Glessner House Frank Lloyd Wright Home and Studio Nickerson Mansion (Driehaus Museum) Charnley-Persky House Brewster Apartments William H. Winslow House Ward Willits House Ragdale John W. Farson House Frederick C. Robie House Harry V. Peters House Charles Schweppe Mansion R. W. Glasner Studio Paul Schweikher House Farnsworth House Glore House Crab Tree Farm Guesthouse
Clarke House Architect u nknow n
epending on how you define Chicago, the 1836 Clarke House may or may not be the oldest surviving house in the city. The south wing of the Noble–Seymour–Crippen House in Norwood Park, on Chicago’s far northwest side, dates from 1833. And while the Clarke House was originally located at what is now Sixteenth Street and Michigan Avenue, the location was then outside the original city boundary. Though the area became part of Chicago long before Norwood Park, the Crippen is the oldest house in the current city. The house was built by Henry and Caroline Clarke, who had come from New York State to make their fortune. Henry supported his six children by putting his hand to farming, trapping, and selling dairy products. After his property was annexed to Chicago, he served as city clerk. He died in the 1849 cholera epidemic, after which Caroline sold some of the property to help support the family. After her death, the children sold the house to John Chrimes, who moved it south to Forty-Fifth Street and Wabash Avenue. In 1941 his descendants sold it to Bishop Louis Henry Ford and the St. Paul Church of God in Christ, which used it as a residence and community center. To save it from demolition, the City of Chicago purchased it in 1977 and moved it to its present location in the Women’s Park and Gardens just south of Eighteenth Street between Indiana and Prairie Avenues. The highly publicized move required lifting the house over the rapid transit tracks that had not
existed for the prior move. Service on the line was suspended during the operation, scheduled for midnight. While the house was built in stages, the Clarkes chose to finish it in the popular Greek Revival style. It boasts a well-proportioned portico with Doric columns and a simple pediment, as well as an Italianate cupola added in the 1850s. The construction method was typical for the time, with timber framing held together by mortise-and-tenon joints reinforced by wooden pegs. The Clarke House’s survival is a testament to its robust construction. None of the original furniture remains. The National Society of the Colonial Dames of America stepped in to refurbish the interior, choosing proper period finishes and furniture. It is now operated as a museum and is a Chicago Landmark.
1836 Greek Revival 16
Previous: The dining room ceiling has a colorful medallion. Most rooms would have had a fireplace at a time when central heating was rare.
Left: The main staircase is in the central hall, which runs the length of the first floor. Right: The parlor has furnishings typical of the period, including a piano that would have featured in the homes of prosperous families.
Glessner House Henry Hobson R ichar dson
hen it was completed in 1887, the Glessner House stood in fascinating contrast to its neighbors on the then very fashionable Prairie Avenue on Chicago’s Near South Side. Rather than the more typical Classic, Gothic, or Queen Anne Revival designs that housed neighbors such as Marshall Field, Philip Armour, and George Pullman, it presented a simple, even forbidding, Romanesque Revival facade to its Prairie Avenue and Eighteenth Street sides. This formidable sense of protection and privacy gave way to window-filled facades facing the extensive and very private gardens. Its architect, Henry Hobson Richardson, of Boston, had died at age forty-seven just a year earlier, but not before finishing the home’s design. The second American to attend the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris (the first was Richard Morris Hunt), Richardson had made his reputation with his design for Boston’s Trinity Church (1872). In Chicago, Richardson had designed the massive Marshall Field’s Wholesale Store in the Loop, since demolished. Its massive Romanesque presence had immediately influenced Louis Sullivan’s designs for the Walker Warehouse and original Standard Club, both demolished, as well as the surviving Auditorium Building (see p. TK). Frank Lloyd Wright, working for Sullivan at the time, found Richardson’s simple forms a source of inspiration. John Glessner (1843–1936), with his wife, Frances (1848–1932),
had moved in 1870 to Chicago, where he headed the Warder, Bushnell & Glessner farm-machinery company. In 1902 the firm merged with several others to form International Harvester, where Glessner then served as a vice-president until his death. The Glessners were highly active in the community. Like others of his class, John was a member of various men’s clubs, including the Chicago, Union League, Quadrangle, and Chicago Literary Clubs. But he also served the wider community by supporting the Chicago Relief and Aid Society, Chicago Orphan Asylum, and Rush Medical College, among others. Both Glessners were active in support of the Art Institute (see p. TK). Their great passion was music. They were among the founders of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and counted its founding conductor, Theodore Thomas, among their close friends. Indeed, Thomas chose for the family their Steinway grand piano. The family returned it, along with many of the original furnishings, to the house during its restoration. Frances Glessner died in 1932, her husband in 1936. They had previously deeded the house to the Chicago chapter of the American Institute of Architects, but the high cost of maintenance during the Depression forced the institute to return it to the family in 1937. It was then deeded to the Armour Institute (now the Illinois Institute of Technology), and eventually was bought by a graphic design company. They sold it in 1966 to the Chicago School of Architecture Foundation, which was formed by a group of local architects specifically to save the building. In 1994 they finally spun it off to create the current Glessner House Museum. It is now a both a Chicago and National Historic Landmark. The museum has a substantial collection of original furniture and decorative art. It is open to the public.
1887 Romanesque 20
Previous: Much of the original furniture has come back to the house. The Steinway piano was chosen for the Glessners by Theodore Thomas, first music director of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. Left: The reception area has a beamed ceiling with wrought iron brackets.
Above: Another view of the living room, showing the fireplace. Right: The main floor is on the second level, reached from the front door by these stairs.
Above: The kitchen is a rare survivor, perhaps because the house was not lived in after the Glessners left. Right: The paneled dining room has a bay that extends into the garden area. 24
Frank Lloyd Wright Home and Studio Fr ank Lloyd Wright Oak Park
rank Lloyd Wright was twenty-two years old in 1889 and newly married to Catherine Tobin when he borrowed the considerable sum of $5,000 from his employers, the architecture firm of Adler & Sullivan. The money was used to buy a lot at the corner of Chicago and Forest Avenues in the growing suburb of Oak Park and to build a home for a family that would eventually number eight. The property included a small house at its east end. The house he built was quite modest, consisting originally of living and dining rooms, a kitchen, two bedrooms, one bath, and a rather large studio for Wright. The exterior was simple and relatively unadorned. The materials used—Chicago common brick, cedar shingles, and wood trim—were anything but lavish. The style could be described as Queen Anne or Shingle. It did not imitate the work of his employers, whose practice by that time was largely commercial, but rather the domestic work of his former employer, Joseph Lyman Silsbee, and more likely the designs of East Coast architects such as Henry Hobson Richardson and Bruce Price. Both designed summer cottages (a quaint term for houses of twenty or more rooms) for the rich. As would be the case for almost all of Wright’s buildings, the design was highly geometric, with its prominent front triangular gable, semi-circular verandah, and bay window and door. The windows were diamond-pane art glass: decorative, but also providing what Wright would later call a “light screen” to preserve a level of privacy.
The couple would ultimately have six children, all but one born in the 1890s. As a result, major additions were made in 1895, including a second, north-facing bay window in the living room; a new, larger dining room where the kitchen had been (the old dining room became a library); and a new kitchen and connecting servants room, above which Wright created a barrel-vaulted playroom. In 1893 Louis Sullivan fired Wright, or Wright quit, depending on whose version you believe. In any event, the architect was now on his own, usually sharing space with other architects in various locations in Chicago’s Loop. By 1898, he was able to build his own studio connected to his home, perhaps emulating the home and studio that Henry Hobson Richardson, who he greatly admired, had built in Brookline, Massachusetts. The studio faces Chicago Avenue, by then a busy thoroughfare with a streetcar line and a commercial section just to the west. It uses the same materials as the home, and is also highly geometric. It consists of the larger drafting room and smaller library (both octagonal) joined by a common lobby, behind which was Wright’s office. While the main structures have no applied decorations, the entrance area has a colonnade with sculptured panels by Wright’s friend Richard Bock. Adjacent piers are also topped by Bock sculptures. The entire property is operated as a museum by the Frank Lloyd Wright Trust.
1889 (Home), 1898 (Studio) Queen Anne, Shingle 26
The bay window (left) is original. The other was added in 1895. Built-in seating remained a feature of Wrightâ€™s work for the rest of his career. The chairs are early examples of his furniture designs.
Left: Radiators were hidden behind the panels. The copper urn was designed by Wright in the mid-1890s, originally for a client. The art glass was a standard pattern.
Above: This was the main staircase design in place in 1909; an earlier version had a built-in bench. The frieze, coffered ceiling, and Venus are often a surprise to first-time visitors. Right: This overall view of the dining room shows the fretwork laylight screen, clearly influenced by Louis Sullivan, and the table and chairs Wright designed for the room. They were a gift to the museum from Wrightâ€™s third wife, Olgivanna.
Left: The master bedroom includes facing murals by Orlando Giannini that meant to depict Native Americans from the western plains.
Above: While the playroom was added in 1895, this is a post-1900 Prairie-period fixture. Right: The barrel-vaulted playroom has a fireplace and walls of Roman brick. The mural, showing the fisherman and genie from the Arabian Nights, is by Charles Corwin. The ceiling panels, similar to the one in the dining room, here admit natural light.
When the new dining room was done in 1895, the original was converted into a library. The library table is surrounded by typical occasional chairs, used by Wright in many of the Prairie-period houses. Just visible to the right is the passageway that leads to the studio.
The studio lobby has reproduction furniture but the laylight is original, as are the columns visible through the windows, which were executed by sculptor Richard Bock. The glass design is meant to suggest the fall leaf canopy.
The playroom is reached by this arched hallway. The opening to the right is a stairway leading to a balcony that overlooks the room. 34
The light for the studio library and meeting room comes from a frosted-glass skylight and clerestory windows. The corkboards are hinged so both sides may be used. The table is original, the chairs reproductions.
Details of art glass from Wrightâ€™s office (top) and the studio lobby (bottom).
In 1898, when the studio was built, Wright connected it to his home with this passageway. The tree branches replicate those that Wright built the original passageway around.
The drafting room had to be rebuilt during restoration, as Wright had converted it into a separate home after he closed the studio. While the large library table is original, the drafting tables and other furniture are reproductions. Lighting was always commercially designed. The green-shaded work lights are adjustable with wooden balls.
Nickerson Mansion (Driehaus Museum) Bur ling & Whitehouse
amuel Mayo Nickerson was a founder and president of the First National Bank of Chicago, which for many years was the city’s largest bank before it lost its local identity through a series of mergers in the 1990s. In 1879 Nickerson commissioned the firm of Burling and Whitehouse to design and build his family a residence that would
match his lofty status as leader of a major institution in the world’s fastest-growing city. Edward Burling (1819–1892) was one of Chicago’s first professional architects. His partner, Francis M. Whitehouse (1848–1938), was a New Yorker who had attended the University of Göttingen, in Germany. They were responsible for the largely Italianate exterior and the basic structure of the home. Designed to be the city’s largest private home, it was sited at the corner of State and Erie Streets, where it still stands. In contrast
to the restrained exterior, the interior would be an eclectic mix of Gothic, Renaissance, Queen Anne, and Classic Revival styles executed by several interior design firms. Because its construction began only a few years after the Chicago fire of 1871, special care was taken to make it fireproof. Very little wood was used. According to an article in the Chicago Daily Tribune of July 27, 1879, “The floors are laid on iron beams, between which brick arches are sprung. These arches are overlaid with cement. The handsome staircase . . . will be built of marble. Tile and stone will constitute most of the interior surfaces that are not decorated. . . . A novelty in the interior construction is to be the entire absence of plaster. . . . The entire surface will be marble, tile, ornamental woods, and hangings and tapestries.” Nickerson sold the house in 1900 to Lucius G. Fisher, president of the Union Bag and Paper Company. In future years, as wealthy Chicagoans moved farther north and closer to Lake Michigan, the mansion would house offices and even an art gallery but, unlike so many similar mansions in the area, it survived. In 2003 venture capitalist and philanthropist Richard Driehaus began to restore it to its original glory, and in 2008 it was opened as the Driehaus Museum to showcase many of its original furnishings and Driehaus’s own collection of fine and decorative arts, including the work of such designers and Louis Comfort Tiffany and Herter Brothers.
The front hall provides access to the main rooms of the first floor, and the grand staircase to the gallery and rooms of the second floor.
1879 Italianate 38
Left: The dining room has its original table and chairs. The paneling and parquet floors were carefully refinished during the restoration. The Tiffany punch bowl on the table is part of the Driehaus collection.
Above: Looking from the library into what was originally a picture gallery, this space was remodeled by George W. Maher in 1900 into a den for the second owner. The dome and fireplace surround are typical of Maherâ€™s use of natural motifs. Right: A view from the library into the drawing room, with the front parlor beyond. Originally, furnishings would have been more extensive, but they have been pared back to permit better access for visitors.
Left: The sitting room of Nickersonâ€™s wife, Mathilda, is paneled in sycamore and has a Moorish sensibility. The chandelier, by Tiffany, is part of the museum collection.
Above: This is the front door, surely a suitable portal for such a house.
The elaborately paneled reception room features the original large micro-mosaic above the fireplace. Made in Italy, they were popular purchases for wealthy travelers in the nineteenth century.
Charnley-Persky House Adler & Sullivan
ames Charnley, a leading Chicago lumberman, and his wife, Helen, were friends of Louis Sullivan. When they decided to build a home on Astor Street—just a block from the lake and near the showy Potter Palmer mansion—James and Helen naturally chose Adler & Sullivan. Even today, the building’s cube-like geometry and restrained decoration stand in stark contrast to its Georgian and Classic Revival neighbors. At the time of its design and construction, Frank Lloyd Wright was the bright star among Adler & Sullivan’s draftsmen. In his Autobiography, Wright claimed credit for the design. While it somewhat resembles Wright’s Winslow House of 1894 in River Forest (see p. TK)—his first major commission after leaving Adler & Sullivan in 1893—the question of how much Wright contributed to the design of the Charnleys’ house is still open to debate. Nevertheless, if Sullivan indeed turned over major responsibility to his favored assistant, he most certainly supervised him closely. The main facade of the house, facing Astor Street, is symmetrical, with two equal wings flanking a recessed door. Above is a wooden loggia, the only significantly decorated exterior element. A 1927 addition to the south by the Waller family, the residents, destroyed the symmetry; however, a restoration by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill from 1987 to 1988 returned the facade to its original dimensions and the interior to its original finishes and colors. Other restorations were carried out by John Vinci in 1982 and John Eifler & Associates in 2003.
It is the interior that most impresses the first-time visitor. After entering through the outside door and going up a short flight of stairs, one reaches a light-filled hall that rises three stories to a skylight, creating an atrium that is the main circulation area of the house. Dominating the reception hall is a centrally located fireplace surrounded by a mosaic of multicolored ovals, a favorite Sullivan motif, instead of a mantle. Arches predominate above passages to nearby spaces, including the multipurpose living room and library to the north and the dining room to the south. Small alcoves with window seats covering radiators frame either side of the door. The pattern of the fretwork balustrade on the second floor has Sullivan’s typical combination of geometric and foliate forms. A screen obscuring the stairway to the third floor creates the impression that stairs rise unsupported to the next level. Although the overall decoration is relatively restrained for Sullivan, impressive wood carvings fill both the living room and the dining room, where fireplaces are faced with African rose marble. Despite the house’s undoubted distinction, it would be difficult to imagine as a family home today. No photos exist of the building with its original furnishings, but the reception hall, with its fireplace and alcoves, seems to defy such enhancements. It’s perhaps entirely appropriate that the Charnley-Persky House now serves as the headquarters of the Society of Architectural Historians, which was gifted the building by former owner Seymour Persky.
1892 Early Modern 44
Previous: The front porch is the homeâ€™s only outside space. Access is available from the inside balcony or from the master bedroom. Left: The second level has family bedrooms. This view looks to the south end. Below: Stairs lead to the third floor, with the skylight directly above. Right: The fireplace has a mosaic surround but no mantle. Openings on the main floor are all arched.
Left: A view of the balcony, looking north. The door on the left leads to the outside porch. Below: This view is from the library and sitting room to the main stairs. The sconces are not original. Right: The screen hides the stairs to the third floor, which seem unsupported at first glance.
Brewster Apartments Enoch Hill Tur nock
f you walked past the Brewster Apartments on Pine Grove Avenue, you would be forgiven for thinking it was a pleasant-enough vintage building, a survivor in an area conveniently close to Lincoln Park. If you were lucky enough to enter through the impressive front door, however, you would find a magical interior of iron-and-glassblock stairways and bridges. The use of glass blocks in this way was fairly unusual for the time. Later, of course, in the 1920s and 1930s, art deco–period architects would make extensive use of them. A few years after the Brewster was built, Frank Lloyd Wright designed a series of glass blocks for the Luxfer Prism Company. He also designed an office building (never built) that would have employed the prisms to amplify light to the interior, much the way the glass blocks in the Brewster permit light to pass from the skylight down through the floors. Originally called the Lincoln Park Palace, the Brewster was designed by architect Enoch Hill Turnock (1857–1926), who was born in England but moved to the United States with his family in 1871. They settled in Elkhart, Indiana, where he completed his basic education in the public schools and worked for a time as a patternmaker. Wishing to become an architect, he moved to Chicago, attended the Art Institute for a time, and eventually went to work for William Le Baron Jenney, whose busy firm was a training ground for many famous architects, including Louis Sullivan.
In 1907 Turnock returned to Elkhart, where he opened a flourishing practice that produced designs for the Elkhart City Hall, Elkhart General Hospital, Elkhart Public Library, and numerous commercial and residential buildings. He became, in short, a big fish in a somewhat smaller pond. He served as the first president of the Indiana Society of Architects and was a fellow of the American Institute of Architects. In its long history, the building has had many notable residents, including former Governor of Illinois John Peter Altgeld, who was immortalized in John F. Kennedy’s Profiles in Courage for pardoning three German-American anarchists convicted of complicity in the Haymarket Riots. But perhaps its most famous occupant is said to have been Charlie Chaplin, who lived in the penthouse suite from 1915 to 1916, when Chicago’s Essanay Studios were briefly a center for a fledgling film industry. The building was converted to condominiums and each unit has exterior windows, but also windows facing the interior atrium, with its cast-iron stairways, open elevator cages, walkways and bridges of glass block, and a massive skylight to bathe it all in natural light. Although its architect abandoned Chicago for a less hectic small town, he left behind one of its most inspired spaces. In 1982 the Brewster Apartments building was declared a Chicago Landmark.
1893 Chicago School 50
This is the penthouse level, with the elevator visible on the left.
Left: This typical floor shows the glass block floors and bridges as well as the apartment windows that open onto the light court.
Above: Details of decorative columns. Below: The floors rising above.
Right: The column capitals and beams are highly decorated, and the floor and bridge beams are lined with bulbs for illumination at night or on darker days.
This view of the penthouse level shows the stairs that rise to the skylight level. 54
Entrance doors to two current apartments that were converted from a larger, single one.
Another view of a typical floor, with the elevator cage on the left. 55
William H. Winslow House Fr ank Lloyd Wright R iver For est
illiam H. Winslow was in the ornamental iron business, and would have met Frank Lloyd Wright during the architect’s years with Adler & Sullivan. Winslow’s company had done decorative ironwork for, among other projects, the firm’s Auditorium Building (see p. TK). Later, for Sullivan alone, his company created the exterior base for the former Carson, Pirie, Scott and Company State Street department store, now the Sullivan Center. They had also done the ironwork for Burnham & Root’s Rookery (see p. TK), whose lobby Wright later remodeled. Wr ig ht ’s de sig n for t he William H. Winslow House is often said to look ahead to the Prairie designs of 1900 and later. The evidence for this is usually the roof’s low-hipped form and wide, overhanging eaves. While these would be features of some Prairie designs, without the roof the home more resembles Adler & Sullivan’s Charnley-Persky House of 1892 (see p. TK), which Wright later claimed—after Sullivan’s death—to have designed. Like that home, the Winslow House has a very formal, symmetrical facade. You would struggle to find a Prairie house anything like it. The exterior materials are Roman brick and stone. A foliate frieze reminiscent of Sullivan’s motifs defines the second floor. On the main level, a porte cochere on the north side was originally to be balanced by a pavilion on the south, but it was never built. The interior is notable for the fireplace that directly faces the front door. It is set behind an arcade of decorative columns, yet
another Sullivanesque touch. Sullivan’s influence also shows in carvings in the front door and other woodwork. Wright had a further connection to Winslow: With another Wright client, Chauncey Williams, Winslow formed the Auvergne Press, named after the street where the Winslow House is located. On a hand press located in the garage, Winslow and Wright printed The House Beautiful, by William C. Gannett, based on an essay that Wright heard the author give at All Souls Church in Chicago. Wright designed the book, his first of many forays into graphic design throughout his career. He framed the text with intricate tapestry-like patterns printed in black, with red accents, and complemented by green end papers. Demonstrating his f lorid prose, Wright contributed these words about Gannett, in part, to the frontispiece: “Appreciation of the beauty in his work we weave,—in part ourselves to please, yet may we better fare, and, weaving so, with you our pleasure share.” The Winslow House has generally been well maintained over its life. Although it once stood alone, it is now part of a group of homes reached through gates designed by Wright at the entrance to Auvergne Place.
Previous: The large, circular bay in the dining room faces the backyard. The murals here, and in other parts of the house, are not original.
1894 Early Modern 56
Left: The front door carving is clearly a leftover influence from Louis Sullivan.
Above: The windows in the dining room bay are intricately patterned but have a clear center to permit a better view. This fireplace, enclosed within an inglenook, is in the reception area and faces the front door.
Above: The main staircase is within a separate tower at the rear of the house. Right: A living room bay includes an intimate seating area. 60
Ward Willits House Fr ank Lloyd Wright Highland Park
he Ward Willits House has been called Frank Lloyd Wright’s first true Prairie style house. That designation would depend on one’s definition the “true” Prairie style. For example, do they all— like the Willits House—have low-hipped roofs? They do not. Several have gabled roofs and many more, flat roofs. Thus the definition begins to soften. If you then look at all the houses he designed from roughly 1900 to 1920, with their variety of roof forms, interior plans, and surface materials, you might suggest that the 1900 Bradley and Hickox Houses in Kankakee were the first Prairie houses. But perhaps we should leave this parsing to the scholars and simply say that the Ward Willits House is the first masterpiece of Wright’s career. He did not, after all, coin the term Prairie style. What he was after, rather, was a new American architecture suited to the temperament of its people and the midwestern landscape. He liked to describe his work as organic, and his adherents cling to this design philosophy today. As Wright said, and as I adopted for the title of this book: “The space within is the reality of the building.” In every sense, he fully succeeded in achieving that reality in the Willits House. Ward Willits was a vice-president (and eventual president) of the Adams & Westlake Company, a brass foundry that produced architectural products. Wright may well have met him when he was with Adler & Sullivan, where he also met William Winslow, Isidore Heller, and other future clients. Wright’s friend and collaborator, the artist Orlando Giannini, had also worked for Willits. In any event,
Willits called upon Wright when he was ready to build a new house on an expansive piece of property in Highland Park. The experience must have been enjoyable, since Willits and his wife asked Wright and his wife, Catherine, to accompany them on their trip to Japan in 1905. Although Willits and Wright later fell out, likely because of Wright’s cavalier attitude toward borrowed money, Willits liked his house well enough to live there until his death nearly fifty years later. Instead of dominating the landscape as so many North Shore mansions do, the home spreads out over the terrain and becomes part of it. The living spaces are set above grade, so the views are of treetops rather than neighbors’ houses. At the same time, this elevation provides privacy, enhanced by the high placement of the art glass windows. A verandah extends the living room space out into the landscape. The plan is essentially cruciform. The interior is anchored by a massive Roman brick fireplace, from which the spaces on the main floor extend. Because he had a generous budget, Wright was able to design the furniture and use extensive art glass in skylights and light fixtures. Wright was also commissioned to design a gardener’s cottage with stables, which has been converted to a separate dwelling. Over the years, the main house has seen additions and changes, including a garage, but the primary rooms and main facade facing Sheridan Road remain as designed. Today, passers by still slow down or even stop when the house comes into view.
1901 Prairie 62
The Roman brick fireplace in the living room is flanked by built-in cabinets. The house is lavishly provided with built-ins of all kinds.
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[locator TK]:This view from the second floor shows the sitting room on the landing between the floors. Previous: One is rarely far from the out of doors in a Wright house. These doors lead to the front verandah. Left: When the client could afford it, Wright liked to provide extensive overhead lighting. These would cast a warm glow on the table, placed where Wright wanted it. The high-back chairs are typical of the Prairie period, and Wright later admitted that they could have been a bit more comfortable. Right: There is a reception area adjacent to the front door. The screen at the top of the stairs is next to the living room fireplace.
Ragdale Howar d Van Dor en Shaw Lake For est
n his book Two Chicago Architects and Their Clients, Leonard K. Eaton compared the early careers and clients of Frank Lloyd Wright and Howard Van Doren Shaw. Both practiced in Chicago and were contemporaries—Wright born in 1867 and Shaw in 1869. And both, in many ways, were influenced by the ideas of William Morris and his followers in the English Arts and Crafts movement. There the similarities largely end. Wright was born in small-town Wisconsin, did not graduate from college, and learned his profession by apprenticing himself to the architects Joseph Lyman Silsbee and, later, Louis Sullivan. Shaw, on the other hand, was born into a prominent Chicago family, who resided on the fashionable Near South Side. He was educated at the private Harvard School in Hyde Park and Yale University. He then received architecture training at MIT, whose curriculum at that time closely followed the tenets of Paris’s École des Beaux-Arts. Returning to Chicago in 1891, he joined the large architecture firm of Jenney and Mundie, where both Sullivan and Daniel Burnham had spent productive time. He then did the European grand tour to closely observe the famous buildings he had studied at MIT. Shaw was, in short, a member of the establishment. And it was from the establishment that he found his clients. He lived with them and belonged to the same clubs. When they needed to build a new house in the city or a summer home on the North Shore, they naturally thought of him. Although best known for his residential designs, which
included apartment buildings as well as houses, Shaw also had a considerable commercial practice. For Richard R. Donnelly, whose son Thomas was a classmate of Shaw’s at Yale, he designed two Lakeside Press buildings on the Near South Side, not far from present-day McCormick Place. In Lake Forest in 1915 he designed Market Square, the first planned shopping center in America. The U-shaped mall, once anchored by a branch of Marshall Field & Company, was surrounded by parking spaces, a harbinger of the country’s surrender to the automobile. Shaw designed houses in a variety of historical styles, but for his own home he looked to the English Arts and Crafts movement. Of most direct influence were the country homes of C. F. A. Voysey and Sir Edwin Lutyens, which developed from vernacular English styles rather than the more typical Tudor and Classic Revival designs still favored by England’s aristocracy. Shaw named his home Ragdale after a Tudor house in England because he liked the name. It was meant to be a summer retreat and included a barn. Nowadays, visitors to the North Shore find it hard to believe that many of its estates were only used seasonally, with their owners spending the winter months in their Chicago town houses. The entire Shaw family was artistic. His mother was a painter, his wife, Frances, a playwright, and his daughter Sylvia a sculptor. In future years, Shaw would add an outdoor theater, called the Ring, and Sylvia would add a studio in 1943, designed by John Lord King. Eventually, the property would encompass some fifty acres, much of it now protected as a nature conservancy. The house and other buildings are now used by the Ragdale Foundation, which provides a refuge and residency for writers and other artists.
1897 Arts and Crafts
Ragdale was a summer getaway meant for casual and comfortable living.
The Arts and Crafts influence is apparent in this bedroom, with its simple fireplace and furnishings. 70
This view from the front hall into the dining room shows that each window has a different design. 71
While the dining room fireplace is basic, the wallpaper is a typical William Morris design.
Top: Simplicity itselfâ€”a plain shelf and candleholder. Bottom: The year the dining room table was built is carved on its base. Designed by Shaw for his Chicago house, it was later moved here.
The entrance hall has a vaulted ceiling and built-in window seats.
John W. Farson House George Washington M aher Oak Park
ohn W. Farson (1855–1910) was an energetic character for the relatively staid Oak Park of the late nineteenth century. A roller-skating, horse, and early automobile enthusiast, he was known for his pristine white flannel suits, colorful cravats, and jaunty top hats. He owned no fewer than four automobiles by 1903 and would preside over both the Chicago Automobile Club and American Automobile Association. Born in Union City, Indiana, Farson attended the Illinois Industrial University (now University of Illinois) and arrived in Chicago with boundless ambition. Post-fire Chicago was fertile ground, and Farson eventually attended law school at night while working for the banking firm of Preston, Kean & Company. Over the following decade he joined or founded three more firms. In 1892, with his wife, Mamie, Farson purchased a large plot at the corner of Home Avenue and Pleasant Street for $20,000, an unprecedented sum in Oak Park. He would eventually buy adjacent properties, tearing down homes to provide space for elaborate gardens, now Mills Park. The home’s architect, George Washington Maher (1864–1926), is often included with the Prairie school architects, most of whom either worked for or were influenced by Frank Lloyd Wright. It isn’t an entirely comfortable fit. While Wright and his followers took great pains to simplify or even eliminate decoration, Maher made it a touchstone of his work. He would develop what he called the
motif-rhythm theory, where he would take a shape—say a broken arch—and a natural form—often a poppy or other flower—and work them into the details and decoration of his houses. There are echoes of both Louis Sullivan and European art nouveau in his work. The Farson House, also known as Pleasant Home, came before these ideas were fully developed. It does have a kind of Prairie horizontality, but features an immense front porch and large porte cochere. Inside are thirty rooms in a layout ideal for entertainment, a priority for a man with a vast circle of friends. The trim and built-in furniture is rather heavier than Maher would design in later years, but is of superb craftsmanship. In 1972, it was listed i n t he National Register of Historic Places, and in 1996 was designated as a National Historic Landmark by the National Park Service. The home and adjacent park are now owned by the Park District of Oak Park and are open to the public. Restoration, which is ongoing, is the responsibility of the Pleasant Home Foundation.
Previous: The dining room table and chairs are original. Maher would later simplify his furniture designs.
1897 Pre-Prairie 74
The library has built-in bookcases and a fireplace with simple tile surround. 76
The dining room has an annex with art glass windows. 77
The reception room, trimmed with details.
The libraryâ€™s art glass chandelier.
The carved panel in the reception area reflects Farsonâ€™s interest in musical entertainment. 79
An art glass window next to the front door. 80
The reception room as viewed from the front door.
Frederick C. Robie House Fr ank Lloyd Wright
hen Frank Lloyd Wright’s iconic Robie House was threatened with demolition—for the second time—in 1957, the ninetyyear-old architect came quickly to its defense. Destroying it, he said, would be like destroying a famous painting or sculpture. He added that the house was better than any such artwork could ever be. Wright was then building the Guggenheim Museum, in Manhattan, and he said much the same thing when artists complained that his building overwhelmed their art. Art critic Robert Hughes, who, in an article in the New York Review of Books, called Wright “the greatest visual artist ever born and raised in America,” agreed with him. Wright never wavered in his belief that architecture was the mother of all visual arts. Wright didn’t always defend his earlier work. He seemed to accept that they couldn’t all survive the tides of development. So when he went out of his way to save the Robie House, it was because he felt it represented the best of his work at an important period of his career. Indeed, it is widely considered to be the ultimate Prairie house. Built for manufacturer Frederick C. Robie, it represents Wright’s concept of the ultimate form for the flat midwestern prairie landscape: you build out, not up. It is perhaps the most horizontal of the architect’s Prairie-period houses. Stretching to fill most of its 60-by-180-foot lot, it has low-hipped roof forms, long bands of
art glass windows and doors (which total no fewer than 174!), and well-defined limestone trim. The vertical mortar matches the color of the Roman bricks so that their courses are visually undisturbed. Likewise, the gutters lack downspouts, the water pouring out of stubs to drains in the ground or balcony floors. The house, owned by the University of Chicago and operated by the Frank Lloyd Wright Trust, is now surrounded by university buildings. Across the street to the south is the Booth School of Business. When the Robie House was finished in 1910, the area was essentially parkland, with the Midway Plaisance, connecting Jackson and Washington Parks, just beyond. So the term Prairie house to describe the Robie House wasn’t as incongruous as it has become. Although the house appears very low to the ground, it is a full three stories tall. As with many of the Prairie houses, there is no basement. The first level has a reception area, a billiard room, a children’s playroom, and the necessary utility spaces. The second level includes the living and dining rooms, a guest bedroom, and a kitchen, which connects to servants quarters above the garage. The third floor has three bedrooms. Wright later called it the first modern house. In addition to an attached three-car garage, it had a pump-driven water-heating system and even a central vacuum cleaner. Its numerous planters were also served by a built-in watering system. The cost of all this, including the land, construction, furnishings, and Wright’s commission, was about $60,000. Unfortunately, Robie got to enjoy his house for only about eighteen months. He had to declare bankruptcy to pay his late father’s debts, and his wife divorced him at the same time. Despite his troubles, his name lives on in one of Wright’s great masterpieces.
1910 Prairie 82
The dining room breakfast nook. The colors are close to the originals, and were used forboth the living and dining areas. The original table was actually square but was turned so it pointed to the prow.
This row of doors runs the entire length of the living and dining areas. The staircase is behind the restored screen above the buffet.
The screen is missing from this view, which was photographed before the restoration. The screens at the top are laylights.
The main floor living room, with fireplace core separating it from the dining area. The couch is a reproduction of the original, which is displayed by the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.
The dining set, with art glass lanterns, is perhaps the ultimate expression of Wrightâ€™s Prairie-period furniture.
Left: The long balcony beyond this row of doors faces south, so this side of the house gets abundant light. The fireplace is one of four, served by a central core. Above: View of the staircase core. Right: There are three bedrooms on the third floor. This is the master bedroom dressing area.
Left: The landing between the second and thirds floors has art glass windows and a bench.
Above: Each bedroom has a vaulted ceiling. The casework under the window originally hid a radiator. Right: The master bedroom has a fireplace, which is directly above the one in the living room. Each bedroom has a small balcony.
Harry V. Peters House Walter Bur ley Griffin
f all the architects who worked for Frank Lloyd Wright, Walter Burley Griffin (1876–1937) was perhaps the most creative. Not only would he develop his own take on the Prairie style, but he and his wife would go on to win the competition to design the new capital city of Australia in Canberra. As a young man, Griffin wished most of all to become a landscape architect but was persuaded by a family friend that traditional architecture was a safer bet. He got his degree from the University of Illinois in 1899 but never lost his passion for landscape design, an obvious advantage when the Australian competition came along. After graduation, Griffin returned to Chicago. During his job search he visited Steinway Hall, then the home of several young architects, including Dwight Perkins, Robert Spencer Jr., and Myron Hunt. Frank Lloyd Wright had been a tenant but had moved his studio to the Rookery (see p. TK), where he would later remodel the lobby. Griffin initially went to work for Perkins but must have eventually met Wright, who offered him a job late in 1901. Among Griffin’s many colleagues were William Drummond, Barry Byrne, and his future wife, the MIT-educated architect and designer Marion Mahony. A talented artist as well, she was responsible for the most striking renderings of Wright’s Prairie-period designs and later would prepare the renderings and drawings instrumental to Griffin gaining the Australian commission. Griffin finally left Wright in 1906. Never easy to work for or with,
Wright had borrowed a substantial sum from Griffin to help finance his 1905 trip to Japan. Upon his return, Wright insisted that Griffin take repayment in Japanese prints instead of cash. Griffin resisted but was finally forced to take the prints. When Wright also complained of Griffin’s management of the practice in his absence, Griffin left and set up his own practice. Before leaving for Australia in 1914, Griffin designed numerous houses in the Chicago area, as well as a planned community and several associated houses in Mason City, Iowa. He became known as the father of modern architecture in Australia and later received commissions in India, where he died of complications of a ruptured gall bladder in 1937. The Harry V. Peters House was Griffin’s first commission after leaving Wright. Its plan is based on Wright’s “Fireproof House for $5,000,” as originally published in the Ladies’ Home Journal. Wright’s designs had either a f lat or low-hipped roof. Griffin’s has a steeply pitched roof and, unlike Wright’s, a garage attached to the house by a breezeway. But the interior plan is similar, with the now ubiquitous L-shaped living and dining room. While the Prairie designs of Wright employees William Drummond and John Van Bergen are sometime confused with Wright’s, Griffin’s are entirely his own. The living room has a vaulted ceiling and a fireplace inset in a small inglenook.
1906 Prairie 92
Charles Schweppe Mansion Fr ederick Wain wright Perkins Lake For est
rchitect Frederick Wainwright Perkins (1866–1928) seems largely forgotten now, especially compared to architects such as Howard Van Doren Shaw and David Adler. Yet, in his day, Perkins received his share of commissions from Chicago’s elite. Born in Burlington, Wisconsin, Perkins was educated at Phillips Exeter Academy, MIT, and the École des Beaux-Arts, in Paris. He maintained offices in Chicago and Duluth, Minnesota, where he designed numerous public and private buildings. In Chicago and its suburbs, he is credited with approximately one hundred buildings, including offices and factories, as well as residences. Of most relevance is the mansion he designed in 1896 (demolished) on Drexel Boulevard for John G. Shedd, president of Marshall Field & Company and namesake of the Shedd Aquarium (see p. TK). As a wedding gift to his daughter Laura, Shedd commissioned Perk ins to design what would become one of the North Shore’s most impressive mansions. Built on 5.3 acres on a bluff overlooking Lake Michigan, the brick and Bedford limestone Tudor Revival building now has twenty-four rooms occupying twenty-five thousand square feet. In addition to the main rooms, there are eleven bedrooms and ten and a half bathrooms. Room sizes are impressive: living room (42 by 23 feet), dining
room (28 by 23 feet), and library (35 by 20 feet) are examples. Laura Schweppe died in 1937, leaving the bulk of her multimillion-dollar estate to her children and only $200,000 to her husband, Charles Schweppe, a Harvard-educated investment banker and member of the boards of Marshall Field’s, the Shedd Aquarium, and St. Luke’s Hospital (now Rush University Medical Center). He died in 1941, and the house remained in the family and largely vacant until purchased and restored beginning in 1987. The striking interior is largely intact. Room styles vary but all are variations on Tudor or medieval styles. The intent, apparently, was to emulate an English manor house that grew over time, incorporating Tudor, Stuart, and Georgian elements. The quality of woodwork and plasterwork is particularly noteworthy. It is said that as many as seventy artisans were involved in the restoration at one time or another.
The house includes garden rooms that can serve multiple purposes.
1917 Tudor Revival 94
The reception room provides access to the main staircase, living and dining rooms, and gardens.
The reception room features this immense Tudor fireplace, and elaborately decorated plaster ceiling.
Left: The front door as seen through the hall and vestibule. Above: The door to the dining room has an elaborate stone surround. Right: The dining room features a marble fireplace and mirrored wall panels.
Above: A desk is placed in the library bay, another Tudor touch. Below: Paneling in the reception room hides cabinets and even a bar.
The corner of the formal living room has a bay window and the entrance to a garden room. The ceiling here has foliate decorations and dentil moldings.
This garden room has large arched windows on three sides. The decorative plaster ceiling features rosettes within octagons.
R. W. Glasner Studio Edgar Miller
dgar Miller (1899–1993) was an artist in the broadest possible definition. He drew, painted, sculpted, carved, designed—and did almost all of it with his own labor. No tools were foreign to him, including hammer, saw, and chisel. Everything he did was personal and handmade. Not formally trained as an architect, he became as much of one as necessary to realize his visions. Miller was born in Idaho Falls, Idaho. His mother, Hester, was a schoolteacher and his father, James Edgar, was a jeweler, watchmaker, and optometrist who would later become a beekeeper. While the frontier may have been closed by the turn of the century, Idaho would have seemed like the frontier to a young boy. Miller lived an outdoor life steeped in nature and hard work. But his parents both had artistic temperaments, which all of their children inherited to some extent. Among the five siblings, Lucille was a lapidary artist, Frank a woodcarver, Hester a church decorator. From the start, however, it was clear that Edgar had special talent. He greatly admired local eccentric Ozro French Eastman, known as Jo He, for his ability to put his hand to nearly everything and make an artistic statement. But in 1913 Miller left for Australia to raise bees with his father and brother. Here was the real frontier, and Miller busily sketched almost everything he saw. The trip, however, was not a total success. Drought killed many of the bees, and the trio found themselves doing odd jobs to survive. Finally, fearing Miller would be drafted into the Australian army to serve in World War I, his mother sent fare for the return trip. He
finished high school and earned a scholarship to the Art Institute of Chicago (see p. TK), beginning his classes in 1917. But the war caught up with the United States, and he briefly served in the Army before returning to the Art Institute in 1919. Miller left before graduating (he would later return to the Art Institute as a teacher). He took a job with Alfonso Iannelli, whose design studio would produce an incredible variety of work, including architectural decorations for architects such as Frank Lloyd Wright, Barry Byrne, and, as late as 1955, Naess & Murphy. In 1927, classmate Sol Kogen came to Miller with the idea of repurposing an old apartment building and stable, in what is now called Old Town, into artists studios. In their book Edgar Miller and the Hand-Made Home, Richard Cahan and Michael Williams wrote, “Miller and Kogen eventually conceived a plan to rebuild the apartment house as six duplex studios, to build a new structure with two duplex studios up front and to convert the stable into a huge studio.” That “huge studio” became the R. W. Glasner Studio, and it became Miller’s masterpiece. From the front door, which Miller carved, to each of the home’s four levels, his touch is evident. While there are elements of art deco and even English Tudor styles, it’s clear that the vision is one artist’s alone. Unfortunately, that vision is within a private home, a place few people will ever see. But thanks to Cahan and Williams’s wonderful book, and our modest addition, it can at least be enjoyed secondhand.
1928 Modern Eclectic 102
Previous: The windows in the dining room symbolize the beauties of nature, color, and the female form.
Left: Miller was a hands-on designer and did most of the carving himself. Above: Every detail shows Millerâ€™s touch, including the fireplace surround in the living room, with figures resembling those in prehistoric caves.
Above: This fireplace has a simpler, art decoâ€“like sensibility. Right: The bay window has a Gothic shape, and the figures reinforce the medieval theme. The banister is another Miller carving.
Left: Miller said his aim here was to maximize available light by minimizing dark colors in the glass. Right: The plaster frieze is meant to symbolize the arts.
Left: This view of the frieze, above the front door, also shows the carving on the underside of the floor above.
Above and right: The stairways are literally handmade. Miller returned to this home again and again to perfect and enhance its decoration. [locator TK]: This staircase lands on the fireplace hearth. [locator TK]: The variety of carving and decorative touches seems almost endless.
Paul Schweikher House Paul Schweikher Schaumburg
n 1953 Robert Paul Schweikher (1903–1997) was named chair of the Yale School of Architecture. Considering his early education and training, it would have seemed an unlikely appointment. His education proceeded in fits and starts. Born in Denver to a family of musicians, Schweikher spent a year at the University of Colorado, married, moved to Chicago, and studied at the Art Institute (see p. TK) while working for Lowe & Bollenbacher, where he became a construction supervisor. Within a few years he joined David Adler’s practice, where he worked on, among others, the home Adler designed for William McCormick Blair, in Lake Bluff. Schweikher continued his studies at the Armour Institute (now the Illinois Institute of Technology) and transferred to Yale, where he finally earned his degree. Back in Chicago by 1930, Schweikher joined a practice with Fred Keck and Philip Maher, son of George Washington Maher, a Prairie school contemporary of Frank Lloyd Wright. 1930 was not perhaps the best year to enter the profession. But Schweikher gained recognition in 1933 after his work exhibited at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, and Chicago’s Century of Progress International Exposition. As the decade wore on, he found more commissions, including Chicago’s Third Unitarian Church, now a Chicago Landmark. He would eventually design numerous Midcentury Modern houses in the Chicago area, as well as Yale’s
Josiah Willard Gibbs Research Laboratories. After leaving the school for what is now Carnegie Mellon University, he designed the student union at Duquesne University, a branch of the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh, and a building for WQED, the pioneering public television station in Pittsburgh. His own home was built on 7.5 secluded acres in what is now Schaumburg. Schweikher obtained the property, which had been part of a farm, as a portion of his fee for adapting a nearby barn into a residence. Its unassuming form and use of natural materials was influenced by his trip to Japan, where he was impressed by simple wooden buildings and certainly by the work of Mies van der Rohe and Frank Lloyd Wright. Like Wright’s own earlier home and studio in Oak Park (see p. TK), it includes spaces for both living and working. Schweikher’s work was also highly influential for the architects he trained at Yale and Carnegie Mellon and for those who worked for him, including Edward Dart and Bertrand Goldberg. Schweikher certainly deserves to be better known to a wider public, and the opening of his home and studio for tours should help in this regard. The living room’s design, influenced by both Japanese domestic architecture and the unbuilt brick houses of Mies van der Rohe, features common brick and redwood. The glass wall offers a view of the courtyard.
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Below: The entrance area is lit naturally by the double-glazed door with sidelight, supplemented with this simple globe.
Right: The bedroom features built-in cabinets and a wall of glass that also opens onto the courtyard.
Farnsworth House Ludwig Mies van der Rohe Plano
udwig Mies van der Rohe (1886–1969) was almost certainly the architect who most influenced young American architects from the 1930s until his death. His stricture that less is more became gospel and transformed the skylines not only of Chicago, but of cities throughout the world. Born in Aachen, Germany, he quickly earned a place among the avant-garde in architecture. The purity of form in his German Pavilion at the 1929 Barcelona International Exposition earned him influence and presaged later work. He also led the Bauhaus school, for a short time, until its ideas were deemed unacceptable to the new Nazi regime. He arrived in the United States in 1938 to head the Department of Architecture at t he Armour Institute, now the Illinois Institute of Technology. The former director had resigned, and a search committee, led by John Holabird, offered him the post. Traditionalist architect David Adler, showing notable open-mindedness, was among those who supported this choice. Van der Rohe would eventually design most of the buildings on the institute’s campus, including the famous Crown Hall, which houses the College of Architecture. From his private practice, his Chicago buildings include the 860–880 Lake Shore Drive Apartments, the three buildings of the Federal Center (courthouse and office towers, plus a post office), the Promontory Apartments in Hyde Park, and the IBM Building. But perhaps his most famous office tower is Manhattan’s Seagram Building, with its open plaza and facade of copper-colored steel and glass. And then there’s the Farnsworth House, in Plano on the Fox
River, southwest of Chicago. Like the Barcelona Pavilion, it is an exercise in pure form; unlike the pavilion, it was meant to be lived in, a fact that has divided visitors from the beginning. Some admire it for its simplicity and abstract sculptural form but add that they wouldn’t want to live there. Others see it as a perfect object in a perfect landscape and would gladly spend their lives there. And many simply don’t understand it. If one thinks of the house as shelter and protection, then the Farnsworth is to them not a house at all. The home was commissioned by Edith Farnsworth, a Chicago nephrologist, who had met Van der Rohe at a dinner party. It was to be built on land she had purchased from Colonel Robert McCormick, publisher of the Chicago Tribune. The site, approximately fifty-five miles from Chicago, would be a weekend retreat where she could play her violin, translate poetry, and enjoy the secluded, wooded landscape. Apparently, she told Van der Rohe to design a house he would like to live in. It would be fifteen hundred square feet of interior space, essentially one room with a core containing kitchen and bathroom facilities. Because it would be in a floodplain, the home would be built on stilts, with utilities coming up from the ground through a central core. While the stilts proved high enough for normal flooding, increasingly high waters have breached the house a handful of times, and the catastrophic floods of September 2008 caused major damage. The home was repaired and reopened in the spring of 2009. Alternatives to protect the house from future flooding are being studied, including hydraulically raising it above any conceivable flood. The architect-client relationship did not end smoothly. The final cost was $15,600 higher than the original $58,400 estimate because of inflation in materials cost, and Van der Rohe had to sue his client for payment. The bitterness was perhaps exacerbated by the speculation that Farnsworth had harbored some hope that she and her architect might become lovers. The house is now on the National Register of Historic Places and is a National Historic Landmark. It is operated by the National Trust for Historic Preservation and is open to the public.
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Previous: The Farnsworth House, screened from view by the Fox River and trees, is as much about the outside as it is about the inside. Left: The interior is built around a utility core, including a simple but functional kitchen. Right: A purely Miesian view of travertine, wood, glass, and his own furniture. The Fox River, a mixed blessing, is visible to the left.
Glore House Fr ank Lloyd Wright Lake For est
he Glore House is Frank Lloyd Wright’s only house in Lake Forest. It is usually grouped with Wright’s Usonian designs, which were his attempt to create low-cost houses for middle-class Americans. Homes were typically built on a slab, used simple materials, had a carport rather than a garage, and featured radiant heating. The smallest among them have a single story, with either a linear or L-shaped plan. The word Usonia is attributed to American writer James Duff Law, who in 1903 wrote that American was too broad, as it included Canadians and Mexicans. Wright adopted the term, and many came to believe he had actually coined it.
Charles F. Glore was an investment banker, who commissioned Wright to design an apartment tower to be called the Golden Beacon, on Chicago’s lakefront. The tower took its place on the lengthy list of Wright’s unbuilt housing projects. While the Glore House uses basic materials such as Chicago common brick, concrete block, and Honduran mahogany, it is considerably larger than the average Usonian. Its two-story plan includes five bedrooms, four and a half baths, and four fireplaces. As
befitting a wealthier Lake Forest client, it features servants quarters. The nearly two-acre site overlooks one of the many ravines that run through much of the North Shore. The home provides contrast to Mies van der Rohe’s Farnsworth House (see p. TK). Both are built on secluded sites, but Van der Rohe created a transparent glass facade while Wright treated the front of his house as a protective, if pleasing, barrier to intruding eyes. Only the rear is open to the ravine and woods beyond. For both architects, correct placement contributed to the total experience. The Glore House deteriorated over the years and was partially renovated in the 1970s. After being vacant for some time, serious renovations to the house began in the late 1980s. A terrace added around a hexagonal deck (where Wright had originally planned a swimming pool, which wasn’t permitted because of local laws protecting the ravines). A copper roof replaced shingles and the exterior mahogany was refinished. Once threatened with demolition, the house is now owned and occupied by an architect and her family, who are dedicated to preserving it. It was designed during a phase of Wright’s long career when commissions finally came to him on a regular basis—a time when he became, because of the advent of television (among other factors), more famous than he had ever been. In the public’s mind, he came very close to being thought of, as he would have claimed, the greatest architect in the world.
Wright’s concern with maximizing usable space is apparent in the placement of bookcases below the windows.
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Left: Originally the dining room, this space is now used for breakfast and casual meals. Right: The living room is designed to maximize the view. Built-in seating was a feature of Wrightâ€™s architecture from the beginning.
Left: The hallway staircase seems to float in the space. Right: The corner of the living room has built-in cabinets and shows the typical interplay of materials and angles. [locator TK]: An addition by architect Paul Harding was meant to be a family room but is now used as the main dining room. Itâ€™s clearly sympathetic to the original design. [locator TK]: The bedroom has the same concrete blockâ€“surrounded windows that are used on sides of the house that might be visible to visitors or passersby, thus preserving privacy.
Crab Tree Farm Guesthouse Vinci-Hamp Architects Lake Bluff
ompared to Michigan and Wisconsin, Illinois has but a miniscule shoreline on Lake Michigan. In this limited stretch, most of which is taken up by Chicago and its northern suburbs, only one farm remains: Crab Tree Farm in Lake Bluff. The first owner of the farm as it exists today was Grace Durand, a wealthy woman who had founded a dairy farm in nearby Lake Forest. Neighbors’ objections to its aromas and escaped cows prompted a move farther north in 1905. When the original buildings
burned in 1910 she commissioned architect Solon Spencer Beman, most famous for his designs for the Pullman factories and village on Chicago’s South Side. Around a central courtyard with reflecting pool, the buildings include a large main barn with clock tower, four additional buildings, and two silos. Meant to be fireproof, the buildings are steel framed, with terra-cotta block walls finished with concrete and stucco. Even the roofs are concrete, molded to look like tiles. Unlike most farm buildings of the era, they were equipped with electric lighting,
refrigeration, water, and adequate ventilation. In 1926 Durand sold some of the lakefront property to William McCormick Blair and his wife, Helen, who commissioned David Adler to design a summer home. After Durand died in 1948, the Blairs purchased the rest of the farm. The current owner, a businessman and Chicago civic leader, purchased the lakefront home from the Blair estate in 1984 and the rest of the farm and its buildings a year later. Several of the buildings have been repurposed as an Arts and Crafts museum (only open by special arrangement). Most of the furniture on display is the work of Gustav Stickley, but there are also examples of the work of other furniture designers and a considerable collection of related metalware, ceramics, textiles, paintings, and other items. A woodshop supports the collection but also accepts some outside commissions. Other buildings have been added to the farm over the years, including, most recently, a guesthouse designed by Vinci-Hamp Architects. The airy structure includes six bedrooms and office space for the owner. Meant primarily for visits by children and grandchildren, it also includes an adjacent pool house and pool. The guesthouse is sited to the north of the farm buildings, using the same materials but with a more modern sensibility. The view to the north includes crop fields and a distant stand of trees. A stair tower both relates the house to the barn’s clock tower and provides an unobstructed view of the entire property.
Previous: The largest windows in the house face north. Between the house and the stand of trees is a strip of lawn with narrow pools and a field that’s planted with corn or other crops during the growing season.
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The kitchen window over the sink faces south toward the original farm buildings.
The dining room, with a view to the north, is directly opposite the kitchen. Both the table and cabinets were made in the farmâ€™s woodshop.
Left: The farmâ€™s owner, a businessman and philanthropist, maintains an office in the house. A lower level has additional office space.
Above: This view is from the bottom of the east stairs. Right: A view of the living room from the east stairs. Identical stairs lead to bedroom suites on either side. The east wing includes additional bedrooms.
Houses of worship Second Presbyterian Church Holy Trinity Orthodox Cathedral St. Mary of the Angels Church Unity Temple St. Thomas the Apostle Church Bond Chapel Madonna della Strada Chapel Bahá’í Temple Seventeenth Church of Christ, Scientist North Shore Congregation Israel St. Procopius Abbey Church
Second Presbyterian Church James R en wick Jr. (original), Howar d Van Dor en Shaw (r emodel)
he Second Presbyterian Church was built in 1874 to serve the spiritual needs of Chicagoans who made nearby Prairie Avenue the neighborhood of choice. George Pullman and George Armour were members, and Abraham Lincoln’s son, Robert Todd Lincoln, was its legal advisor and a longtime trustee. Architect James Renwick Jr. (1818–1895), an exemplar of the Gothic Revival, is now best known as the designer of St. Patrick’s
Cathedral in New York and the original Smithsonian Institution, in Washington, DC. He had also designed the original 1851 church that stood at Washington Street and Wabash Avenue, a victim of the Chicago fire of 1871. In 1900 a fire at the current church destroyed the roof and much of the nave. Congregation member Harold Van Doren Shaw redesigned the interior in the Arts and Crafts style with the assistance of muralist Frederic Clay Bartlett. In addition to the murals reflecting the English Pre-Raphaelite style, the interior includes many unique light fixtures and handsome wood carvings. The wealth of the members also permitted the installation of glorious stainedglass windows: nine by Tiffany, two by Pre-Raphaelite artist Edward Burne-Jones (for William Morris Studios in London), and others by Healy & Millet and William Fair Kline. Eventually most of the wealthy residents of the area moved north to Lake Shore Drive and Astor Street. As the neighborhood declined, so did membership. In recent years, the Near South Side has seen a revival, with new housing, restaurants, and other amenities. Because of the efforts of Friends of Historic Second Church, the building has been preserved. It is now a Chicago Landmark that is also listed on the National Register of Historic Places and was declared a National Historic Landmark in 2013. Although there are many challenges remaining in both maintenance and restoration, it may be that the neighborhood’s revival will lead to the rebirth of a thriving congregation.
Previous: After a fire, church member Howard Van Doren Shaw redesigned the church interior. The murals executed in the Pre-Raphaelite style are by Frederic Clay Bartlett.
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Left: Many of the organ pipes are hidden behind this screen. Angels are a prominent decorative feature; there are no less than 175 in glass, wood, plaster, and in the murals themselves.
Above: This view is from the balcony and shows the stained glass and clerestory windows. Right: The side aisles have murals above the arches.
Left: This angel is one of four at the top of the pulpit platform. Above: A detail of the pulpit screen, behind which are some of the organ pipes. Right: Light enters the sanctuary at three levels. Shaw designed ten crown chandeliers suspended from angle brackets.
Holy Trinity Orthodox Cathedral Louis Sullivan
y 1900, Louis Sullivan had been on his own for five years. In 1895 his longtime partner, Dankmar Adler, had felt obligated to accept a job with an elevator company because of the serious economic downturn that had affected new building. He had a family to support. Sullivan, who did not, reacted angrily and later refused to reform the partnership. He received the commission to design t he Holy Trinit y Or t hodox Cathedral and rectory in 1899. In the next few years, he would complete his work on the Schlesinger & Mayer department store at Madison and State Streets (later Carson, Pirie, Scott and now the Sullivan Center), certainly a major commission and among his greatest works. But then, in part because of his inability to deal diplomatically with clients and his increasing drinking, his practice slowly declined. In the last twenty years of his career, he averaged less than one building a year, and most of these were small-town banks, albeit masterpieces in their own way. When he received the commission for Holy Trinity, he undertook the study of Russian Orthodox theology and history. According the cathedral authorities, the final design was based on a small wooden church in the village of Tatarskaya in Siberia. Its plan—with its square, narthex, nave, and sanctuary and octagonal dome and bell tower—complies with traditional Russian practice.
The cornerstone was laid on March 31, 1902, and the cathedral consecrated a year later. For its interior decorations, Sullivan filtered orthodox symbols and ideas from the congregation through his own well-developed ideas of architectural decoration to create the stenciling, leaded glass, and decorative touches. He never, even in his last years, lost his ability to create an awe-inspiring interior. Over the years, changes deviated from Sullivan’s design. The congregation and its clergy are working to restore the building to its original condition and appearance. The work is ongoing and has included repairs to the roof and stucco and the installation of a new heating system. The total cost for all the work involved is currently estimated at $2 million. Holy Trinity is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is a Chicago Landmark.
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The cathedral is a combination of Sullivan’s designs and later additions by the congregation.
Aside from the building itself and Sullivanâ€™s stencil designs, most of the furnishing have been accumulated over the years.
The design of the clerestory windows is relatively restrained. The chandelier is by Healy & Millet, a frequent Sullivan collaborator.
Only the windows are Sullivanâ€™s design. 146
A view from the balcony shows larger side windows.
From the balcony, close-ups of stenciling and the chandelier. 147
St. Mary of the Angels Church Worthman n & Steinbach
t. Mary of the Angels Roman Catholic Church can be considered a perfect stand-in for the hundreds of Catholic churches built to serve Chicago’s bourgeoning population of European immigrants— contributors to a city that grew from hundreds of people in the early 1830s to 3.5 million just a hundred years later. Chicago has been called a city of neighborhoods. To many Roman Catholics, it has been, rather, a city of parishes. One may well answer the question “Where do you live?” with “St. Jerome’s,” rather than “Rogers Park.” If you were a Polish-American living in Bucktown near the “Polish Dow ntow n” of Mi lwau kee, Ashland, and North Avenues, you would have answered “St. Mary of the Angels.” The parish was organized in 1899 to provide a new church and school for a growing Polish-American population that had overcrowded nearby St. Stanislaus Kostka parish. The first structure was a combination school, church, and rectory built on land purchased by the Archdiocese of Chicago. The first pastor was Francis Gordon, a resurrectionist priest who, despite his name, was Polish born. By 1912 the parish had grown to more than 1,200 families and ground was broken for a new church. The cornerstone wasn’t laid until 1914, and the church wasn’t dedicated until 1920, part of the delay occasioned by material shortages caused by World War I. Its interior is Baroque, sometimes called Polish Baroque, since the style became highly popular in Poland in the seventeenth and
eighteenth centuries. The style strongly influenced Polish-American churches in the United States. Its true antecedents, however, are Italian. The dome, for example, was certainly influenced by Michelangelo’s dome at St. Peter’s in Rome, as is the exuberant decoration throughout the building. And while not nearly as large as St. Peter’s, its size is impressive for a parish church, with seating for two thousand. The exterior by contrast is a mixture, with its front facade very similar to the Gothic Notre Dame in Paris, albeit in brick instead of stone. The church came on hard times after World War II. Increasing numbers of parishioners were moving to the suburbs, and a heavy blow fell when the Kennedy Expressway cut through the neighborhood, causing wholesale destruction of homes in its path. By 1988 the church, deemed unsafe, was closed and threatened with demolition. Former parishioners and historians organized to save it but were not hopeful. Then, in 1991, Cardinal Joseph Bernardin turned over the administration of the church and school to the Roman Catholic religious order Opus Dei. Serious fundraising began and slowly the church was restored. First, the dome, roof, and stained-glass windows were repaired. By 1997, work began on the interior. It was largely completed in time for the parish’s one hundredth anniversary in 1999. Additional restoration work has continued, particularly on the dome, where prior restorations had not been sufficient. Thus, one magnificent building was saved. Others were not so fortunate, as Catholic families moved out of the neighborhoods their parents and grandparents had settled. Many churches changed hands and denominations, with mixed results. Many more were lost to the wrecking ball. St. Mary’s survives as a monument to the Polish immigrants who sacrificed to build it.
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Previous: The painting above the altar is of the Assumption, the Virgin Maryâ€™s entry into heaven.
Left: Both the central and side aisles have vaulted ceilings, and the decoration everywhere can only be described as high baroque. Above: A detail of the vault crossing. Right: One of the side aisles.
Left: A broader view of the vault crossing, with its central dome. Below: The Mary Chapel, with a statue of the angel Gabriel appearing to the young Mary to announce that she has been chosen to be the mother of God. Right: A view from one aisle to another.
[locator TK]: A view toward the choir with its organ pipes and rose window. [locator TK]: The elevated pulpit would rarely be used today. The dome is encircled by stained-glass clerestory windows.
Unity Temple Fr ank Lloyd Wright Oak Park
rank Lloyd Wright’s Unity Temple stands as one of the architect’s greatest achievements. The building continues to meet the needs of its congregation for worship and community while providing an unmatched experience for architecture enthusiasts from around the world. Designed in 1906 and completed in 1908, the commission came to Wright at least partially due to his own Unitarian background. While he was never a member of any religious congregation (he said his only religion was Nature with a capital N), his mother, Anna, was a Unitarian and a member of the congregation. It didn’t hurt that clients and close friends Thomas Gale and Charles Roberts we also members. Unity Temple was built to replace a conventional church destroyed by fire in 1905. The prominent location at the corner of Lake Street and Kenilworth Avenue was provided at reduced cost by Edwin Gale, father of Thomas. Including the proceeds from an insurance policy, the congregation had approximately $40,000 available for its new church. Wright had previously used reinforced concrete in commercial structures and had toyed with the idea of using it for homes. Now he designed a building that could use the same concrete forms over and over as a way to keep costs down. While the premise was logical, Wright’s constant changes even after construction began drove the
final cost to nearly double his estimate. Ultimately, the congregation was able to pay for the building; the contractor wasn’t so fortunate— he had to declare bankruptcy. Wright called the building’s plan binuclear, meaning that it consisted of two sections joined by a common lobby. The taller wing, essentially a cube, houses the auditorium, used for church services and other gatherings. Light enters through art glass windows in the coffered ceiling and clerestory windows under the cantilevered overhangs. There is no religious iconography, since the Unitarian Universalists (the two merged in 1961) have no creed and believe its members should find their own path to belief. The decorations (trim, windows, light fixtures, etc.) are organic, to use Wright’s terminology. To Wright that meant that decorative elements must be inherent in the design of the building as a whole. Thus, the very shapes of the building, a cube and rectangle, inform all of these elements. As this is being written, a restoration plan is being prepared. Changes were made over the year that will be removed or renewed. For example, Unity House balcony spaces were enclosed to provide classroom spaces. These partitions will be removed. Over the years, interior wall surfaces have been repaired and repainted many times. All will be redone to return the sand-finished plaster surfaces. And while the current colors are approximately correct, the method of applying them was not. Originally, the walls were covered with a white base coat, then a series of watercolor washes that gave the surfaces a glistening effect. Restoration is the responsibility of a separate foundation, with the congregation responsible for general maintenance.
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The auditorium was designed to seat four hundred. Light comes from above through clerestory windows and skylights.
Left: A view from a balcony. Note how the light fixtures hang from the corner coffers. The space is a cube, and the cube predominates in every element of the design.
Above: This pair of lanterns flank the podium. Right: Congregants are meant to enter the auditorium through cloisters below, so this would be the first view many see.
Left: There are twenty-five coffers in the ceiling. The pews were not designed by Wright but are appropriate.
Above: The stairway on the right leads to the podium, organ, and ministerâ€™s office; to the left is the stairway to the exit doors. Right: Unity House also has art glass skylights. Originally open, the balconies were later enclosed to provide more classroom space. 160
Left: These doors from the auditorium to the lobby were designed as for exit only and have no handles.
Above: Pairs of lancet windows provide natural light to the corner stairs. Right: While the art glass panels in the ceiling coffers are identical, they are rotated to provide variety.
St. Thomas the Apostle Church Fr ancis Bar ry Byr ne
rancis Barry Byrne (1883–1967) has the distinction of designing the first modern Roman Catholic Church in America, St. Thomas the Apostle in Hyde Park. He broke a conservative mold that had seen Roman Catholic churches designed in variations of the Gothic, Romanesque, Byzantine, and Baroque styles. He came by his modernist tendencies honestly, having served his apprenticeship with Frank Lloyd Wright and, later, with Wright’s principal assistant, Walter Burley Griffin. Born in Chicago, he had to leave school at fourteen when his blacksmith father died. He was working in the mailroom of Montgomery Ward in 1902 when he saw Wright’s work in an exhibit of the Chicago Architectural Club. He talked his way into an apprenticeship in Wright’s Oak Park studio, where he worked under the more experienced Walter Burley Griffin and William Drummond. By 1907, Byrne had become a regular member of the staff and worked on the drawings for such Wright designs as the Beachy and Coonley Houses and, most tellingly, Unity Temple (see p. TK). After leaving Wright in 1908 he moved to Seattle, Washington, and went into partnership with another former Wright employee, Andrew Willatzen. Byrne returned to Chicago in 1914 to work with Griffin, and when Griffin went to Australia after winning the competition to design that country’s capital at Canberra, he took over the practice. After World War I, he established his own practice in Chicago. Although Byrne had designed a protestant church during his
sojourn in Seattle, it was in Chicago that he began his long career designing Roman Catholic churches and schools. In addition to St. Thomas the Apostle, perhaps his most famous religious building in Chicago is the former Immaculata High School, built in 1922 at Irving Park Road and Lake Shore Drive. His practice later became national and even international, most notably designing the Church of Christ the King in Cork, Ireland. St. Thomas, finished in 1924, suggests its architect’s Prairie school roots with its earth-hued bricks and unconventional massing. The interior is column free, the trim restrained and very Prairie-like. The stained-glass windows are relatively narrow and set in sharply peaked alcoves. The altar was placed well forward in the nave, as if predicting the changes in placement that would come with the Second Vatican Council of 1962. Byrne also collaborated with one of Wright’s own chosen decorative designers, Alfonso Iannelli, who had worked with Wright on several commissions, most notably Midway Gardens. For St. Thomas, he worked closely with Byrne on the design and decoration of both the facade and interior spaces.
Previous: The open plan and restrained decoration were revolutionary for the time, even though they may seem less so after more than ninety years have passed.
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Above: The high altar, which would no longer be regularly used, is clearly a gesture to the past. Right: This view is toward the Mary Chapel. The paneling is fairly simple, and the windows are narrow and sharply peaked. 166
Left: A closer view of the Mary Chapel showing the vaulted ceiling.
Above: A typical stained-glass window in its recessed niche. Right: The doors separating the sanctuary from the vestibule are colorful but have no obvious religious symbolism.
Bond Chapel Coolidge & Hodgdon
rchitectural definitions are sometimes less than precise. Thus, on the campus of the University of Chicago we have Rockefeller Chapel, a freestanding and sizeable building that most people would describe as a church, and the Joseph Bond Chapel, part of the University’s Divinity School that is connected to Swift Hall by a stone cloister.
Churches and, more often, cathedrals generally have smaller chapels within the larger structure, often dedicated to a particular deity or saint. And European castles often include chapels for the private use of the monarch. They are almost always modest in size. University chapels, however, have generally been modeled after English college chapels such as the King’s College Chapel at Cambridge or the New College Chapel at Oxford University. Bond Chapel is much closer to the latter model.
Bond Chapel was designed by architects Coolidge & Hodgdon for the Baptist Theological Union, the predecessor to the University of Chicago Divinity School. The firm was the successor to Shepley, Rutan & Coolidge, which designed the Art Institute of Chicago (see p. TK) and the Chicago Public Library, now the Chicago Cultural Center (see p. TK). It was a gift of Mary Olney Bond in memory of her husband, Joseph Bond, who had been a trustee of the union. When daughter Elfleda Goodspeed died in 1949, her husband, Edgar Goodspeed, donated the stained-glass windows in her memory. Unlike those at Rockefeller Chapel, these windows have overtly religious themes. The chapel was renovated and an organ installed in 2012. David Woodhouse Architects received an award from the American Institute of Architects for this work. The baroque-style organ was moved from the Chicago Theological Seminary and placed in the structurally reinforced loft on the east side of the chapel, against a panel of stained-glass windows. It is called the Reneker Organ to honor the late Robert W. Reneker and Betty C. Reneker. The woodbeamed vaulted ceiling is particularly fine. The only permanent seating is in the choir, typical of Gothic cathedrals and chapels. The Divinity School uses the chapel for regular services and ceremonial occasions. It is also a venue for weddings, funerals, and gatherings of the wide variety of religious groups in the university community. Because of the organ, it is a popular venue for baroque and early music concerts. It seats about 150 people.
A wood-and-glass screen separates the vestibule from the main chapel.
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Churches and chapels in the Middle Ages rarely had permanent seating for the congregation, so this kind of seating would have been typical. The organ was moved from the Chicago Theological Seminary when the building that housed it was repurposed.
Because the chapel was once part of a Baptist seminary, the stained-glass windows have religious subjects.
Madonna della Strada Chapel A ndr ew R ebori
esigned by Andrew Rebori for Loyola University of Chicago, Madonna della Strada Chapel is named for a thirteenth- or fourteenth-century icon that was moved from its original home in Rome to the Church of the Gesù, the mother church of the Society of Jesus, better known as the Jesuits. Founded by Ignatius Loyola
during the Counter-Reformation, the order is now best known for its educational institutions, including Boston College, Ford ha m Universit y, Georgetow n University, Marquette University, and many others. In addition to Loyola University, in the Chicago area they operate Saint Ignatius College Prep and Loyola Academy.
Loosely translated from the Italian, the chapel’s name means “Our Lady of the Way” and dates back to a fifth-century roadside shrine and a related thirteenth-century icon. The Madonna della Strada Chapel might well have had a different name: it was expected to eventually face an extension of Lake Shore Drive to the north that was never built. So, while the front faces Lake Michigan, the building turns it back on the rest of Loyola’s Lake Shore campus. Rebori, born in New York to an Italian-born engineer, originally designed the chapel in 1929. But the Depression slowed fundraising and construction was delayed until 1938. It opened for worship in 1943 but wasn’t completed in all respects until 1948. Like Rebori’s Fisher Apartments, it is done in the art moderne style, although it is more often described as art deco. The difference between the two is mainly of emphasis—art moderne strives for simplicity of form over decoration, while decoration is inherent in art deco. According to the , “The curving art moderne form is reminiscent of a small dirigible or airplane hanger. The walls of the apse are ‘accordioned’—the folds were originally filled with glass blocks to admit slim slices of light. Names of famous Jesuits are crisply incised along the roofline; the tall tower is flat-topped and windowless.” The glass-block windows have since been replaced with stained glass. Recent renovations have included updating the heating and cooling systems, replacing the tile floor with marble, and installing a new baptismal font, altar, and tabernacle. Gold leaf was also added to the Stations of the Cross. The tower never had bells, but plans are underway to add them.
1939 Art Moderne
Previous: The chapel’s vaulted ceiling reflects art moderne’s interest in reflecting shapes of utilitarian structures, in this case the immense hangars used for docking air ships.
Left: The Mary Chapel has a reproduction of the original Madonna della Strada.
Top: A view of the ceiling ribs. Bottom: The side aisles have floors with simple, geometric patterns.
This view from the entrance shows the baptismal font and the altar painting with its gold leaf background.
Bahá’í Temple Louis Bourgeois Wilmette
he Bahá’í Temple, as it’s generally known, has been a landmark along the lakefront in Wilmette for so long that most people alive today can’t remember it ever not being there. Yet, it was only completed and dedicated in 1953. Of course, like the Gothic cathedrals in Europe, it did take a few years to build. The temple in Wilmette is the only one in the United States. While the cornerstone was laid in 1912, construction began in 1921 and proceeded in fits and starts as funds became available. While the exterior was completed by early 1943, work inside continued until the 1953 dedication. Architect Jean-Baptiste Louis Bourgeois (1856–1930) was born in Quebec and started his career working for a church contractor. After moving to Montreal, he became an apprentice to the sculptor Napoléon Bourassa, who sent him to Paris to further his studies. He also traveled to Italy, Greece, Egypt, and Persia. When he returned, he worked for a time for Louis Sullivan and others in Chicago before moving to Southern California, where he designed several buildings in the Mission Revival style. In 1901 he and his wife settled in New York, where he converted to the Bahá’í faith, founded in nineteenth-century Persia by Bahá’u’lláh upon the belief in the spiritual unity of all people. The path to getting the temple commission was a long one, beginning in 1909 and finally ending in 1920. The final design was a reworking of one Bourgeois had submitted for a competition to
design a Peace Palace at The Hague. It was an eight-sided design, but he changed it to nine-sided to represent the belief that nine, being the last number in the decimal system, symbolizes perfection and completion. This symbol is carried over to other building elements. There are nine entrances, nine interior alcoves, nine sections in the dome, and nine fountains in the gardens, which are an important part of the temple experience. The basic material used is a mixture of portland cement and qu a r t z , b ot h c a s t a nd c a r ve d . Symbols of many religions are prominent, including the cross, Star of David, the star and crescent, and the swastika (as used by Hindus and Buddhists). At the top of each of nine pillars is a nine-pointed star, symbolizing Bahá’í. Bourgeois died in 1930, leaving behind the drawings that would be used to complete the building. The exterior was completed by structural engineer Allen McDaniel, a member of the faith, and the interior by Alfred P. Shaw, who had worked for Graham, Anderson, Probst & White and would later form Shaw, Metz & Associates, one of Chicago’s most successful firms in the 1950s and ’60s. The gardens, an integral part of the temple, were designed by Hilbert E. Dahl.
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Previous: Regular services are held at the temple. Robust columns help support the building.
Left: White in various shades predominates in these two views, and perhaps suggests purity of thought and intent.
Above: Outside light enters through the almost lacelike voids in the walls and dome.
Left: The gold fixtures provide contrast to the white surfaces. Above: The dome is topped with Arabic script that reads, â€œO Glory of the All Glorious.â€?
Left and above: A closer view of the dome and sidewalls. Carvings include symbols of most of the worldâ€™s major religions. 183
Seventeenth Church of Christ, Scientist Har ry Weese & Associates
he Seventeenth Church of Christ, Scientist, is notable both for its location—at Wabash Avenue where Wacker Drive changes direction—and its size. It is a low-rise building surrounded by skyscrapers, and it sits directly across the Chicago River from the Trump Tower, Chicago’s second tallest building. The church was designed by one of the city’s most famous architects, Harry Weese (1915–1988). Perhaps best known nationally Washington, DC, Metro rapid transit system stations, his work is scattered throughout the Chicago area. Born in Evanston, he was educated at the progressive Joseph Sears School in Kenilworth, MIT, Yale University, and at Michigan’s Cranbrook Academy of Art under Eliel Saarinen. A f ter ret u rni ng to Chicago he joined Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, but his career was interrupted by World War II. He returned to Skidmore in 1945 and started his own practice in 1947. His list of designs is long. In the Chicago area, it includes the Time-Life Building, the Latin School, Pierce Tower (demolished) at the University of Chicago, River Cottages on the north branch of the Chicago River, and the Metropolitan Correctional Center, as well as important restoration work at the Auditorium Theatre (see p. TK), Field Museum (see p. TK), and Orchestra Hall.
Weese’s style is difficult to pigeonhole. The Time-Life Building is a small gem in the International style, with its facade of Cor-Ten steel and glass. The Washington Metro stations have been lumped with the so-called brutalist school of heavy reinforced, and often massive, concrete forms. Like most architectural fashions, there are both good and bad examples. Seventeenth Church might be counted among those brutalist numbers that are simply pleasing forms. Circular in shape on a six-sided site, the church has few visible exterior windows. It is built on seven levels, including two below grade. The first level includes mechanical equipment and limited parking, the second houses the Sunday school and nursery rooms that look out to a sunken garden, and the third provides the church’s main entrance. The auditorium is situated at levels four and five and is meant to resemble a Greek theater, reflective of the democratic nature of the religion, whose congregations are self-governing. The final two include administrative offices and meeting rooms. Light for the auditorium, which seats approximately 750, comes from skylights at the top of the oculus at the center of the conical roof and from several clerestory windows. The ribs supporting this roof are clearly visible on the exterior. The most important interior feature is the speaker’s platform, where members present the testimonies that are such a feature of Christian Science. No seat in the auditorium is more than fifty-four feet from the platform. A sophisticated sound system with 350 hidden microphones also permits members to give testimony without leaving their seats. In 1996 the church was given the Twenty-five Year Award of the Chicago chapter of the American Institute of Architects. Considering how valuable the land is today, it is hard to imagine that Seventeenth Church could now be built in the same location.
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Previous: Light enters the auditorium from above through clerestory windows, much like Frank Lloyd Wright’s Unity Temple.
Above: Dual staircases lead from the lobby to the auditorium.
A wide aisle encircles the auditorium. The concrete shows the imprint of the wood forms used in the construction.
Above: Stairs leading from the landing to the auditorium level. Right: A broader view of the auditorium.
North Shore Congregation Israel Minoru Yamasaki Glencoe
ne of the more pleasant drives in the Chicago area is to head north on Sheridan Road from Rogers Park to Lake Bluff. A fall day might be best, but it’s rewarding most of the year. On the way, in Glencoe, is the wholly surprising North Shore Congregation Israel designed by architect Minoru Yamasaki (1912–1986). Completed in 1964, it is a pure white concrete form, a series of fan vaults filled with glass. Born in Seattle to Japanese immigrant parents, Yamasaki attended t he Universit y of Washington and graduated with a degree in architecture in 1934. He then moved to New York and got his master’s degree from New York University. He spent some time working in Detroit, where the firm he worked for helped him avoid internment during World War II. He started his own practice in 1949. For St. Louis, he designed the Pruitt-Igoe public-housing project in 1955. Like so many of the urban high-rise apartment buildings built on ideas for so-called worker housing, espoused by European architects such as Le Corbusier and others, it failed to understand the needs of the urban poor for whom it was meant. The project was famously blown up in 1972, a fate suffered by similar public housing projects, including those in Chicago. But it was the World Trade Center in New York for which he
is best remembered. The Twin Towers were the tallest buildings in the world when they were finished in 1972 (they were surpassed by Chicago’s Sears Tower just a year later). Their destruction by terrorist attack in 2001 was at least partially blamed on their innovative structure, but the architect and his engineers could not have conceived of what the buildings were to endure. Although obviously the scale is quite different, the sy nagogue and t he massive skyscrapers share the same ta ll, narrow w indows. The windows in the World Trade Center were often criticized as too narrow, but seem just right for the synagogue. In recent years, additions to the complex, including a second sanctuary by architect Thomas Beeby, have somewhat obscured the view of Yamasaki’s building, but a walk around them is a worthwhile exercise.
Previous: The shape of the sanctuary and its windows can be called ideal for encouraging religious feeling. This view is toward the ark, the centerpiece of any synagogue.
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Left: When this image was taken, snow coated the roof and provided contrast to the bright sunlight coming through the sides.
Above: The shape of the ark, which contains the Torah, conforms to the shape of the space. Right: The balcony at the opposite end has a perfectly shaped and placed pipe organ.
St. Procopius Abbey Church Edwar d Dart Lisle
truly pleasing modernist Roman Catholic church is a rarity. It may be that church leaders have been afraid to unsettle their congregants with something too far outside their experience. What often results are auditorium-like spaces with faux-modern decorations that might have been ordered off the shelf from the same companies that provide interiors for chain restaurants. Edward Dart (1922–1975), a Roman Catholic himself, created in St. Procopius Abbey, in Lisle, a complex that is wholly modern in form but fully traditional in its ability to foster religious feeling. When the abbey was built for the Benedictine order, Dart was a partner with Loebl, Schlossman, Bennett & Dart. He is perhaps most remembered for Water Tower Place, the extraordinarily popular Michigan Avenue mixed-use skyscraper (retail, hotel, and residential). His best works, and perhaps more congenial to his taste and abilities, were his many houses and churches. Born in New Orleans, he was educated at the University of Virginia and the Yale School of Architecture, where his teachers included Marcel Breuer, Richard Neutra, Louis Kahn, and Edward Durell Stone, among others. Frank Lloyd Wright was also a major influence. Upon graduation, he worked for Stone in New York, and then moved to Chicago to work for Paul Schweikher, another of his teachers at Yale. He then had an independent practice before joining the firm that became Loebl, Schlossman,
Bennett & Dart. The abbey is sited on top of a hill and includes living, dining, working, and meeting spaces. Only the church is generally open to the public, although retreats and other events are held in other parts of the complex. Like with much of Dart’s domestic and religious architecture, natural materials predominate, in this case common brick, wood, and concrete. The only opening in the church’s solid prow shape, which dominates the hilltop, is a clerestory window that bathes the sanctuary with light. The sanctuary features the same common brick with a notable lack of decoration, the focus being the simple altar facing slightly angled pews that seat seven hundred. This is fully in keeping with the focus on the celebration of the Catholic Mass that came out of the historic Second Vatican Council. Dart died at age fifty-three in 1975, but not before winning eighteen awards from the American Institute of Architects, including a National Honor Award in 1973 for the abbey. When he was only forty-four, he was made a fellow of the institute, a recognition that normally comes much later in an architect’s career.
Previous: One of the small chapels in the abbey complex shows how outside light spotlights an icon.
1967 Modern 194
Top: Another small chapel.
Bottom: The baptismal font, where the light and angles serve to make the common brick surface into something much richer.
The main abbey church is lit by a large clerestory window.
This view of the main sanctuary shows the clerestory window and organ pipes on a platform. The furniture here and throughout the abbey could not be simpler.
Public Buildings Auditorium Building Art Institute of Chicago Chicago Cultural Center Field Museum of Natural History Chicago Union Station Elks Veterans Memorial Shedd Aquarium Civic Opera House Joe and Rika Mansueto Library
Auditorium Building Adler & Sullivan
hen it was dedicated on December 9, 1889, the Auditorium Building was hailed as the wonder of the age. It was not only the largest modern building in the world, but its seventeen-story tower was the highest structure in Chicago. A 4,200-seat theater designed to accommodate the most elaborate operatic productions was also the largest permanent facility of its kind in the world. In addition, the structure included a four hundred–room hotel and abundant retail space. No wonder, then, that President Benjamin Harrison attended the dedication. The association that built it was formally incorporated in December of 1886, and, at a meeting over which Marshall Field presided, Dankmar Adler (1844–1900) and Louis Sullivan (1856–1924) were chosen as architects, despite some misgivings about Sullivan’s age (he was just thirty). Balancing Sullivan’s youth was Adler’s
acknowledged expertise as both a structural engineer and as a builder of acoustically successful theaters (he would later consult on Carnegie Hall, in New York). The building was an aesthetic opportunity for Sullivan and a daunting engineering challenge for Adler. The Auditorium would be just over one hundred thousand tons, and Adler would have to design a structure within a structure for the theater. While the foundations of large buildings in Chicago would soon consist of caissons drilled into bedrock, the Auditorium is supported by something that resembles a series of rafts floating on the subsoil. The tower, for example, is supported on a raft five feet thick, reinforced with eight layers of timbers, rails, and I beams. The final exterior design owes much to the influence of Henry Hobson Richardson, one of America’s most admired architects, whose Marshall Field’s Wholesale Store of 1887 had a profound effect on Sullivan and other designers. Designed in a style that has come to be known as Richardsonian Romanesque, the store had a massive presence and dignity unmatched in Chicago. Richardson also designed the Glessner House (see p. TK), which still stands as a reminder of his genius. While the Auditorium’s exterior has its own solid dignity, Sullivan’s treatment of the theater and hotel’s interior spaces guaranteed its lasting fame. The sheer variety and inventiveness of Sullivan’s forms and decorations are unmatched. It is difficult today to imagine assembling the army of artisans and craftsmen that had to be mobilized to execute the architect’s elaborate designs. The designs themselves, in their incredible variety, had to progress from Sullivan’s hand to final working drawings. For this, he had another army of draftsmen, including Frank Lloyd Wright and George Grant Elmslie. A l l of t h is —t he complex it y of bot h st r uc t u re a nd
1889 Romanesque 200
decoration—resulted in a final cost of approximately $3.4 million, an immense sum for the time. While small profits were made in the early years, financial problems eventually became the norm. Chicago Symphony Orchestra director Theodore Thomas thought the Auditorium Theatre was too large for orchestral concerts—he claimed not enough sound returned to the stage—and insisted they needed a purpose-built auditorium. He got his way, and in 1904 the orchestra moved into the new Daniel Burnham–designed hall, now called Symphony Center after recent renovations and additions. The Auditorium’s life as a home for grand opera was also starcrossed. While it did serve as a home for traveling companies such as New York’s Metropolitan Opera, local companies weren’t able to survive. By 1941 the Auditorium Building was owned by the City of Chicago, which used it as a serviceman’s center during World War II. Among its amenities was a bowling alley installed on the theater’s stage. In 1946 the new Roosevelt University negotiated an agreement with the city to take over the building and convert it to classrooms and offices, with the understanding that the school would also eventually restore the theater. These efforts began in earnest in 1956 and continue to this day. While the University has felt it necessary to modernize some areas rather than restore them, in general they have done their best to return the complex to its original glories.
Previous: This was the smoking lounge in the upper lobby of the Auditorium Theatre. Right: The theater saw one of the first extensive uses of electric lighting. It was also cooled by a system that used blocks of ice and fans. The murals on either side are by Albert Fleury. 202
Left: The main lobby and entrance doors. The patterns on the floor are meant to suggest oriental rugs. Above: Lightbulbs are set in a variety of foliated medallions. Right: These columns, whose combination capitals and brackets are products of Sullivanâ€™s fertile imagination, support the balconies.
Left: These doors, with their elaborately decorated arches, are at the north end of the former hotel lobby. Above: The main entrance to the hotel. Right: A detail of the lobby columns and ceiling.
Left: The main hotel staircase leads to the upper lobby, then to first room level.
Above: The top of the staircase is lit by a skylight and art glass windows. The stairs in the foreground would have led to the first sleeping room level. Right: The main staircase at the lobby level.
The main dining room was at the top of the building. Now part of the Roosevelt University library, this would have been an annex to the main dining room. 210
Just off the upper lobby was a ladies lounge, hence the feminine sensibility. 211
Left: Now a recital hall called Ganz Hall, named after a noted pianist and former president of Chicago Musical College, the space was once a private dining room. The murals are also by Albert Fleury.
Above: The art glass windows are open to natural light. Right: Each of the twenty column capitals, executed by Robert W. Bates, has a unique design.
Art Institute of Chicago Shepley, Rutan & Coolidge
he Art Institute of Chicago began life in 1879 as the Chicago Academy of Fine Arts, adopting its current name in 1882. It occupied rented space initially, until moving into a Burnham & Root–designed building at Michigan Avenue and Van Buren Street. A better opportunity presented itself with the coming of the World’s Columbian Exposition of 1893, and so the institute sold their building to the Chicago Club. (The building collapsed in the 1920s during remodeling, at a time when few members—Chicago’s elite—were inside. The club’s current building dates from 1929 and was designed by Granger & Bollenbacher.) The Art Institute’s new building, a few blocks away, was constructed on Chicago Park District land in Grant Park with the understanding that it would house the World’s Congress Auxiliary of the world’s fair, and then revert to the Art Institute when the fair closed. It officially changed hands on November 1, 1893. Shepley,
Rutan & Coolidge and its survivor firm, Coolidge & Hodgdon, designed the original building and its many additions until the mid1920s. The firm was formed by former associates of Henry Hobson Richardson, who died in 1886 at age forty-seven. The Gunsaulus Hall addition of 1916 bridged the tracks of the Illinois Central Railroad, a pioneering use of air rights that would become common in Chicago in future years, and is still used today. Thereafter, it would seem as if construction projects were almost continuous. Most notable were the 1925 Goodman Theatre by Howard Van Doren Shaw (demolished); the 1962 Morton Wing by Shaw, Metz & Associates; and the 1977 School of the Art Institute facilities, east entrance, and other museum spaces along Columbus Drive, all designed by Walter Netsch of Skidmore, Owings & Merrill. The expanded structure also includes the 1977 reconstruction of the Trading Room of Adler & Sullivan’s Chicago Stock Exchange Building, which had been demolished in 1972. The room includes some materials from the original, and is the work of Vinci & Kenny Architects. The latest addition, the Modern Wing designed by Renzo Piano, and opened in 2009 on the site where the Goodman Theatre once stood. In addition to gallery space, other amenities, and a new public entrance, it includes a bridge connecting the museum to Millennium Park, with its gardens and Frank Gehry–designed music pavilion. All of this has made the Art Institute the second largest art museum in the United States after only the Metropolitan Museum of Art in Manhattan.
[locator TK]: The grand staircase of the original building, bathed in natural light.
1893 Beaux-Arts 214
[locator TK]: A ceiling detail in the Fullerton Hall foyer. [locator TK]: The main lobby with stairs to lower level.
Left: Another view of the grand staircase, with balustrade and columns. Above: Fullerton Hall includes this domed skylight by Tiffany. Right: The Franke Reading Room in the Ryerson and Burnham Libraries features a skylight by Healy & Millet.
Left and right: The reconstructed trading room from Adler & Sullivanâ€™s Stock Exchange Building, demolished in 1972. Below: The stenciling on the beam at the top was salvaged from the original room.
[locator TK]: Griffin Court in the Modern Wing provides a second entrance to the Art Institute and is the wingâ€™s main circulation space. [locator TK]: This staircase in the Morton Wing is between the Asian and American Indian galleries. The window faces the south gardens and Michigan Avenue.
Chicago Cultural Center Shepley, Rutan & Coolidge
he Chicago Cultural Center began life as Chicago’s first purpose-built library, designed to house a growing collection of books scattered in temporary locations after the original library and its collection burned in the 1871 Chicago fire. The rebuilt collections began with eight thousand books donated by Queen Victoria and a roster of British authors, including John Ruskin, Robert Browning, Charles Darwin, and Alfred, Lord Tennyson. The volumes were first housed in an old water tank, hardly conducive to proper preservation. The growing collection was later housed in several temporary locations while the library board searched for a permanent space. The location chosen was Dearborn Park, at the time located on Michigan Avenue, on the block between Randolph and Washington Streets. There was a hitch, however. The north portion of the lot had been promised to a civil war veterans organization. The problem was solved by requiring the building to serve two purposes: as Chicago’s main library and as a Civil War memorial. While most of the building would house the library, it would also include the Grand Army of the Republic Memorial Hall. The GAR, as it was known, was the veterans organization equivalent to today’s American Legion or Veterans of Foreign Wars. Because its membership included only Civil War veterans, it eventually died as they died. While the space survives in its original location, the collections it once held are partially on display at the Harold Washington Library.
The commission was given in 1892 to Shepley, Rutan & Coolidge, which had recently designed the building that became the Art Institute of Chicago (see p. TK). It was the survivor firm of Henry Hobson Richardson (see p. TK), who had died in 1886, and it still carries on as Shepley Bulfinch, in Boston. The resulting building, which now faces Millennium Park, is constructed of Bedford limestone, also known as Indiana limestone, on a granite base. Its design is neoclassical, with both Greek and Roman motifs. No expense was spared in decorating its interior— perhaps a cliché, but eminently provable in this case. Domes provide centerpieces for each end of the building. A stunning art glass dome by Healy & Millet graces the GAR rotunda on the Randolph Street side. A Favrile glass dome by Louis Comfort Tiffany, in what was once the main circulation room (now Preston Bradley Hall), tops the Washington Street side. Both once admitted natural light but have since been covered. The grand staircase on the Randolph side was also decorated by Tiffany, and its mosaics include both mother-of-pearl and gold leaf in their intricate designs. In the early 1970s the building was clearly in need of updating and renovation. A design competition was held but the estimated $28 million needed to bring the library up to date was considered excessive, and it was decided to build a new library. The Harold Washington Library wasn’t finished until 1991, and its cost of $144 million dwarfs the cost of updating the old building. Its postmodern design by Thomas Beeby is not universally admired. Although initially threatened with demolition, the old building was saved and converted into a free cultural center for Chicago. After the last book was moved to a temporary site, the longtime Chicago firm of Holabird & Root began a three-year restoration and renovation that preserved the center’s most glorious spaces, while providing facilities for exhibitions, lectures, and concerts—held under the magnificent Tiffany dome.
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Previous: The main staircase on the Washington Street side is decorated with elaborate mosaics. The underside of the arches have plaques honoring authors, in this case Cicero, Virgil, and Plato.
Left: The top of the Washington Street staircase. Above: In contrast to the Washington Street staircase, the staircase on the Randolph Street side is more restrained. Right: Preston Bradley Hall, once the location of the main circulation desk, is now used for events, including weekly concerts named in honor of Dame Myra Hess, who organized concerts in London during the Blitz.
The entrance to the Grand Army of the Republic Memorial Hall, with dome by Healy & Millet.
Tiffany dome and chandelier in Preston Bradley Hall.
Another view of the Washington Street grand staircase.
Top: View from the staircase up to Preston Bradley Hall Bottom: An elevator, no longer operable.
The main room of the GAR hall has names of Civil War battles engraved in marble.
Field Museum of Natural History Gr aham, A nderson, Probst & White
he Field Museum was born in controversy. Like most structures created for the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition, its home at the former Palace of Fine Arts was made of temporary materials not destined for life beyond the world’s fair. Though the palace would later be rebuilt as the Museum of Science and Industry, the museum that had been known as the Field Columbian Museum needed a permanent residence. Daniel Burnham wanted to locate the new building in Grant Park at Congress Street, seeing the museum as an important element in his Plan of Chicago. Aaron Montgomery Ward, whose offices overlooked the park, consistently fought any plans to build there, citing a designation that said the lakefront should “remain forever open, clear and free.” Ward won. Construction began, at a site just south of Roosevelt Road, a decade after the search for a new location had started. By then Burnham was dead, and the commission went to the survivor firm Graham, Anderson, Probst & White, which for a time was America’s largest architecture firm. Its principal designer, partner William Peirce Anderson, was educated at Harvard and the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris, and was also mainly responsible for designing Chicago’s Union Station (see p. TK) and portions of the Marshall Field & Company store, among others. Construction on the Field Museum of Natural History, renamed for its early benefactor, took almost six years and cost approximately $7 million. When it finally opened, the museum was clad in no less
than 350,000 cubic feet of white Georgia marble and boasted twenty acres of floor space. Today, exhibitions occupy more than square feet on three levels. The central circulation space, Stanley Field Hall, is three hundred feet long and seventy feet wide. Appropriately for a natural history museum, its floor is composed of three-hundredmillion-year-old fossilized limestone. Its generous size provides abundant space for both stuffed-andmounted African elephants and the museum’s most famous exhibit, the Tyrannosaurus rex called Sue. The exterior is a seeming compendium of classical styles. Among inf luences are the Erechtheion in Athens, the Temple of Minerva Polias at Priene, and the Pantheon in Rome. Henry Hering, who trained with Augustus Saint-Gaudens, sculpted the eight paired caryatids (female figures) that support four small porches and decorative panels above. Each panel represents a different department of the museum: anthropology, botany, geology, and zoology. The Field Museum is also a major research institution. Most of its collection of approximately twenty-five million specimens, and much of the work of its staff, takes place in areas generally hidden from the public. This includes the 2005 construction of a 186,000-square-foot Collections Resource Center, mostly underground, which added forty-five thousand storage drawers and shelves. On occasion, members of the museum are invited to tour the research and collections areas.
Previous: Stanley Field Hall, with its stunning coffered ceiling, is the museum’s main circulation space.
Left: The north end of Stanley Field Hall has the famous Sue, the Tyrannosaurus rex, as a permanent display. The pterodactyl (upper right) may never arrive at its destination. The statues, by Henry Hering, represent Science (left) and Dissemination of Knowledge (right).
Above: One of the chandeliers in Stanley Field Hall. Right: The porch at the north entrance has now been enclosed.
Left: The porch, with its later glass enclosure visible to the left. Above: Here, as in the rest of the museum, the Ionic order is used for column capitals. Right: Each side of the balcony level has a vaulted aisle that leads to exhibit areas.
Left: Statues at the south end of Stanley Field Hall represent Record (left) and Research (right).
Above: The main north staircase to the balcony level. Right: A view from the west balcony into Stanley Field Hall.
Chicago Union Station Daniel H. Bur nham; Gr aham, A nderson, Probst & White
uring World War II, Chicago Union Station handled as many as three hundred intercity trains and one hundred thousand passengers daily. And it was only one of six passenger stations in downtown Chicago. The famous trains that served the city were known throughout the country: The Illinois Central’s City of New Orleans came and went daily at Central Station; the Santa Fe’s Super Chief departed for Los Angeles at Dearborn Street Station; businessmen and entertainment icons rode the New York Central’s 20th Century Limited overnight to New York City from LaSalle Street Station; politicians and lobbyists took the B&O’s Capitol Limited to the nation’s capital from Grand Central Station; and the Chicago & North Western’s fleet of 400s served the Twin Cities and other destinations to the north from Northwestern Station. At Union Station—along with a rebuilt Northwestern Station now called the Ogilvie Transportation Center— the Pennsylvania Railroad’s Broadway Limited competed for New York traffic with the 20th Century Limited out of LaSalle. The station’s other tenants operated famous trains such as the Denver Zephyr, Empire Builder, North Coast Limited, and the City of Los Angeles. These trains and the railroads that operated them are mostly gone, victims of the interstate highway system and more convenient and faster air travel. Union Station survives as the terminus for Amtrak and a busy commuter service operated by Metra. Approximately fifty Amtrak trains operate daily, and 130,000 commuters pass through
the station on weekdays. Designed by Daniel Burnham (1846–1912), who died before construction began in 1913, the station was completed by Graham, Anderson, Probst & White. The station finally opened in 1925, although infrastructure work wasn’t finished until 1927. From the beginning, it was intended that all passenger trains serving Chicago would use Union station, hence its name. For a variety of reasons, this never occurred. After World War II the issue was raised again, as the other stations and their tracks occupied much of the land south of downtown. The decline of passenger service made the question moot, as one by one these stations were demolished. Only the headhouse of Dearborn Station survives. Construction of the Union Station buildings would not have taken so many years, but the tracks, viaducts, freight houses, and even the massive former Main Post Office were part of the overall plan. The passenger station consisted of two structures: the main concourse, where the tracks were located, and the waiting room, above which was an office building. Unfortunately, the station company sold the air rights in 1969, so the concourse—with its massive steel arches, high ceiling, and clerestory windows—was demolished and replaced with a smaller, utilitarian concourse. Over the years, other changes were made, primarily to the Amtrak facilities. The waiting room, called the Great Hall, remains. One of the great spaces in the city—indeed the country—its 219-foot-long barrel-vaulted skylight is 115 feet above the floor. Balconies, grand staircases, and numerous entries provide access for passengers, and an arcade under Canal Street connects it to Amtrak facilities, ticket offices, and the tracks. The Great Hall is easily accessible from both Canal and Clinton Streets.
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Previous: The arcade leads from the Great Hall to the commuter and Amtrak facilities and includes the elevator lobby for offices above.
Left: The south staircase in the Great Hall was the location of the runaway baby buggy scene in The Untouchables film, which itself paid homage to Sergei Eisensteinâ€™s similar scene in Battleship Potemkin. Above: A detail of the base of the immense columns. Right: The Great Hall, still used as a waiting room, is bathed by natural light.
Left: The south balcony offers a closeup view of column capitals, coffered ceiling, and light fixtures. Above: Freestanding light fixtures provide additional illumination after dark. Right: These stairs show the wear of millions of feet since the station opened.
Left: This view from the top of the south stairs shows that the flanking pilasters have Ionic capitals instead of the Corinthian order on the main columns. Above: This is the skylight seen from the south balcony. Right: Corinthian capitals on the massive columns are highlighted with gold.
Elks Veterans Memorial Egerton Swartwout
he Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks is a fraternal organization whose clubs are still familiar in towns and cities throughout the United States. It was, like similar clubs (the Moose, Odd Fellows, and Eagles), a male bastion. Along with these and related service organizations such as the Rotary, Lions, and Kiwanis, the Elks has seen membership decline as society and its mores changed after the 1960s. Highly patriotic then as now, members decided after World War I to build a memorial to their fellow Elks who had died in the war. In addition to the memorial, the building would contain meeting space and offices. The site chosen, at the corner of Diversey Parkway and Lakeview Avenue, directly across from Lincoln Park, could hardly be improved upon. New Yorker Egerton Swartwout (1870â€“1943) of Tracy & Swartwout won the competition to design the building. Born in Fort Wayne, Indiana, Swartwout was educated at Yale (he later designed the first Yale Club in Manhattan). After learning his profession in New York at McKim, Mead & White, a leading firm of its day, he went into partnership with coworker and fellow Yale graduate Evarts Tracy. While barely known in Chicago now, Swartwout had a successful national practice. In addition to the Yale Club, he designed the Missouri State Capitol, the United States Post Office in Denver, and the Department of Commerce Building and National Baptist Memorial Church in Washington, DC. (One perhaps less relevant accomplishment: he was the father of writer R. E. Swartwout.) The most eminent artists of the time were commissioned to decorate the memorial. It features works by sculptors Adolph Weinman, James Earle Fraser, and Laura Gardin Fraser, all of whom had notable works in federal buildings, state capitols, and private homes, as well
as having designed coins for the Mint and medals for the armed services. The murals are by Eugene Savage and Edwin Blashfield, who painted murals for the state capitol buildings of Iowa, Minnesota, and Wisconsin, among his many public commissions.
Previous: The main rotunda includes statues and murals symbolizing the virtues of Elks club members who served in World War I.
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Left: A view into the rotunda from the main entrance. Above: Charity is the theme of this mural.
Above: A velvet rope handrail adorns the staircase leading to a lower level. Right: This statue in the rotunda symbolizes fidelity.
Left: Various kinds of marble were specified by the architect. These examples are in a side hall. Right: Another view into the rotunda shows that the Corinthian columns are also constructed of several kinds and shades of marble.
Above: The center of the dome in the rotunda gives the illusion of movement.
Above: The mural is a representation of the armistice of November 1918. Right: The Grand Reception Room is used for formal meetings and receptions.
Shedd Aquarium Gr aham, A nderson, Probst & White
ike the nearby Field Museum of Natural History (see p. TK), the Shedd Aquarium was built through the generosity of a Marshall Field & Company leader, John G. Shedd. Alongside the Adler Planetarium and the Museum of Science and Industry (endowed by Sears’ Max Adler and Julius Rosenwald, respectively), Shedd Aquarium is yet a further example of how merchandising has benefitted the people of the Chicago area. The original aquarium building was designed by Ernest Graham (1868–1936), who had worked for Daniel Burnham and was then a partner in Graham, Anderson, Probst & White—Chicago’s most successful architecture firm for many years (it only recently dissolved). The aquarium was the firm’s last essay in the BeauxArts style. Resembling a Greek temple, it’s clad in white marble and detailed with terra-cotta and bronze. Motifs are aquatic, imaginative, and pervasive. Visitors who take the time to look at the building as well as its occupants will be amusingly rewarded. The Shedd was the first inland aquarium to include both freshwater and saltwater fish. Because there were delays in shipping salt water in tanker cars from Florida, there were actually no fish on display when the building opened to the public in 1929. But when it finally opened with exhibits in place in May 1930, it contained the greatest variety of sea life ever shown in one institution. Perhaps less known to the public is the Shedd’s contribution as a major research institution. Since then, like so many Chicago museums, the Shedd has been a work in progress. In 1971 the central tropical pool was replaced by the Caribbean Reef, with its hundreds of Caribbean fish and creatures. Regular feedings by Shedd divers are a popular attraction. In 1991 a major addition, the Abbott Oceanarium, was built on lakefill east of the main building, nearly doubling the aquarium’s
size. It was designed by Lohan Associates and features an amphitheater with a wall of windows looking out onto Lake Michigan. Wild Reef, a permanent exhibit highlighting Philippine coral reefs, designed by EHDD Architects in association with Perkins & Will, opened in 2003. Most recently, Valerio Dewalt Train Associates developed a master plan and prepared enhancements to the main building and Abbott Oceanarium, including additional staff office space and improvements to visitor amenities.
Previous: While these columns (viewed from the foyer into the rotunda) have more or less standard Corinthian capitals, the rest of the decorative motifs are distinctly aquatic.
1929 Beaux-Arts 256
Left: Shells and dolphins guard the door into the rotunda.
Top: The main entrance hall features Ionic columns.
Above: Octopuses drape over lanterns in the entrance area.
Each of the cast-bronze doors weighs five hundred pounds. The revolving-door frame abounds with aquatic life.
A corner detail in the entrance hall. 260
A view into the foyer and its coffered ceiling. 261
The Caribbean Reef exhibit was installed in 1971; feeding times are a highlight for visitors. 262
Seemingly continuous with Lake Michigan outside, the Abbott Oceanarium was built on 1.8 acres of lakefill, nearly doubling the size of the original building. The theater is home to shows featuring beluga whales, otters, dolphins, and penguins.
Civic Opera House Gr aham, A nderson, Probst & White
he Civic Opera Building, named for the opera house contained within, is a legacy of one of Chicago’s great characters, Samuel Insull (1859–1938). Insull, born in England, came to the United States as the private secretary to Thomas Edison, with whom he rose to positions of increasing responsibility. When someone else was named president of what became General Electric Company, he moved to Chicago to become president of Chicago Edison. He eventually created what became Commonwealth Edison, w h ic h pro s p e re d u nt i l t he Depression, when the failure of its holding company wiped out the savings of approximately six hundred thousand shareholders. Insull was blamed and became a hated man, although he was later acquitted in court of any wrongdoing. He died in Paris with only his pension to live on. But he left behind a functioning electric utility and a worldclass opera house. Opera was his passion and, as president of the Chicago Civic Opera Association, he decided to build a new home that would replace Adler & Sullivan’s Auditorium Building, one that would be supported by a commercial office building. Ironically, the Auditorium (see p. TK) was built on a similar model, with a hotel and office building to provide support. Neither could manage to adequately sustain their original tenants. In its history, the Civic Opera House has housed the Chicago Civic Opera, Chicago Grand Opera Company, Chicago City Opera
Company, and Chicago Opera Company, none of which was ultimately successful. Finally, in 1954, Lyric Opera of Chicago was founded, and it has thrived ever since as one of the world’s leading companies. The theater seats 3,563. Its basic design is art deco, with some art nouveau touches in its decoration. The building is a limestone skyscraper with a forty-five-story central tower and two twentytwo-story wings. Comedy and tragedy masks alongside collected instruments adorn the entrances, inspired by Charles Garnier’s famous Paris Opera House, although (perhaps happily) without the belle époque exuberance. While the main facade faces Wacker Drive, its rear is on the Chicago River and is shaped somewhat like a chair. Inevitably, it was dubbed Insull’s Throne. In 1993, the Lyric Opera purchased Civic Opera House’s theater and backstage spaces. The company then began a series of renovations and restorations. These included greatly increasing backstage storage and handling areas, provision of a new rehearsal hall with the same dimensions as the main stage, and renovation of dressing rooms and offices. Mechanical systems were updated, as were facilities for people with disabilities. During the summer of 1996 all seats and carpeting were removed, and the interior was repainted completely for the first time since 1929. Seats were refurbished and new carpeting installed. The original main stage curtain was replaced with 580 yards of wool foot-high, forty-thousand-pound soundproof door was installed to separate the scenery handling area from the stage. Thus, the Civic Opera House became a fitting venue for even the greatest of grand operas.
1929 Art Deco
Previous: The opera house was completely refurbished in the mid-1990s, returning it to its 1929 glory.
Left: The foyer, with its gilt cornice, elaborate ceiling, and Austrian crystal chandeliers, offers a suitable transition to the grand opera to come. Right: The elaborate decoration is eclectic, with a combination of art deco and art moderne flourishes.
The fire curtain was created by the American artist Jules GuĂŠrin and illustrates a scene from Verdiâ€™s Aida.
Left: Beginning in 1993, a major expansion of backstage areas was undertaken. This view shows work in progress on the stage and a view of the large orchestra pit.
Above: A good pair of opera glasses would be helpful at the very top of the auditorium. Right: A closer view of the ceiling and column capitals in the grand foyer.
Joe and Rika Mansueto Library Murphy Jahn
he Joe and Rika Mansueto Library at the University of Chicago is both a major addition to the University’s library system and a stunning example of design on a campus that has moved beyond its Gothic beginnings to become a showplace for modern architectural thinking. Its construction was made possible by a large donation from two alums, Morningstar founder Joe Mansueto and his wife, Rika. Designer Helmut Jahn (b. 1940) of Murphy Jahn (now simply Jahn) was born in Nuremberg, Germany, and graduated from the Technische Hochschule in Munich in 1965. The school had long been associated with the ideas of Mies van der Rohe, and it was on this, as well as Jahn’s undoubted talent as a designer, that the firm of C. F. Murphy & Associates brought the young architect to Chicago to help design the second McCormick Place convention center, the first having been destroyed by fire. This center, finished in 1971, was all black steel and glass in the Miesian manner. It has since been dwarfed by many additions to the complex but still has pride of place on the lakefront. It was not the only government-financed building designed by C. F. Murphy. Its principal, Charles Murphy, was a close personal friend of Mayor Richard J. Daley, and his firm seemed to get a very large percentage of city business, including most of O’Hare International Airport. Until recently, Jahn’s most notable building in Chicago was the State of Illinois Center, completed in 1985. Responses to it have been, to say the least, mixed. Its curious shape and blue-and-pink exterior cladding have drawn the most criticism, but its dramatic central atrium rarely fails to impress, despite initial problems with noise and climate control. But it is a bold statement, and so is the Mansueto Library. Most of the library’s structure is below ground. Above ground, beneath a
soaring elliptical insulating glass dome enclosing a space of 120 by 240 feet, are the reading room, circulation service center, preservation department, and conservation and digitization laboratories. The books and other materials are, however, underground. While other solutions for storage were considered, it was deemed easier and less costly to achieve the desired constant temperature of sixty degrees and 30 percent relative humidity underground. In racks extending fifty feet down, the automated storage and retrieval system requires only one-seventh the space of conventional stacks. When users request an item, a robotic crane retrieves it in minutes. The racks have a capacity of 3.5 million items. Of course, the joy of wandering through the stacks and perhaps discovering something unexpected is lost.
Like an iceberg, most of the library is below the surface, with only the reading room and associated functions above.
The automated stacks can find and bring up any book or document in minutes.
The reading room is flooded with light and provides views of surrounding university bui
Commercial The Rookery Macy’s on State Street Marquette Building Monroe Building Field Building Inland Steel Building Blue Cross–Blue Shield Building
The Rookery Bur nham & Root
till a first-class office building more than 125 years after it was built, the Rookery is associated with four of Chicago’s most famous architects: Daniel Burnham, John Wellborn Root, Frank Lloyd Wright, and William Drummond. The Rookery was built with an infusion of New England money, as so many of Chicago’s post-fire office buildings were (like the Monadnock, Marquette, and Chicago Buildings, to name a few that still stand). Sited at the corner of LaSalle and Adams Streets, it had been the location for the temporary city hall and nearby stables, both of which attracted pigeons, hence the name. The original architects were Burnham & Root. John Wellborn Root (1850–1891) was born in Georgia and educated in England, where his father sent him during the Civil War. When he returned, he earned a civil engineering degree from New York University. He moved to Chicago and met Daniel Burnham in 1872 at the architecture firm of Carter, Drake & Wight. Daniel H. Burnham (1846–1912) was born in New York but raised in Chicago. After failing to gain entrance at both Harvard and Yale, he eventually found his calling after apprenticing, like so many young men, with William Le Baron Jenney. The men were complementary. Root was the artist, Burnham the great planner and promoter. As a team, they were highly successful in getting their share of commissions in a rebuilding Chicago. Root would die tragically young of pneumonia at age forty-one, but Burnham would carry on with other partners until he died in an accident in 1912. In the meantime, he became one of America’s most
famous architects, chosen to coordinate the designs for the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition and to build major structures nationwide. He is perhaps best remembered as the author of the 1909 Plan of Chicago, still considered a model of its kind. The Rookery’s reddish exterior is a combination of marble, masonry, and terra-cotta. Decoration is eclectic, with Moorish, Indian, Islamic, and Romanesque elements, among others. Its structure was transitional, with load-bearing walls and interior iron framing. To provide maximum natural light to all office spaces, the Rookery, like many of its contemporaries, featured an interior light court with white-glazed brick and covered by a skylight, just like the lobby. When the building was completed, Burnham & Root moved their offices to the eleventh floor. In 1905 the owners commissioned Frank Lloyd Wright to remodel the lobby, which by they then considered old-fashioned. This was the period when Wright designed great Prairie masterpieces such as Unity Temple in Oak Park (see p. TK) and the Larkin Building and the Darwin Martin House, both in Buffalo. Yet here, while covering much of Root’s ironwork with white marble, he incised many of Root’s design motifs into his own, including elements taken from the oriel stairs. Wright’s former employee William Drummond, who had worked for Wright during the Rookery remodeling, was hired in 1931 to further modernize the building. Some renovations, such as replacing the elevator cages, were probably code related, but he also divided the lobby into separate floors and made other changes. Over the years, skylights were tarred and painted over, thus obscuring one of the buildings great features. When the building was sold in 1988, the new owner decided to restore it to an approximation of its former glory. The result, overseen by architects at McClier, is a compromise between Wright and Root, with the balance tending toward Wright, as the record of his work was both clearer and more available.
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Previous: Frank Lloyd Wright was commissioned in 1905 to remodel the lobby area; more recently, the skylight was returned to its original transparency. Left: The staircase rises above the balcony level to the top of the light court.
Above: The light court, common in buildings of this period, was glazed in white to reflect even more light into inside offices. Right: A view of the skylight and staircase from the lobby.
The library from Burnham & Rootâ€™s offices on an upper floor. 282
Former Wright employee William E. Drummond was commissioned in the early 1930s to make changes to the lobby, including updating the elevator lobby.
A view of the light court staircase from above. 284
The lobby chandeliers by Wright are clearly in his Prairie mode. They replaced more elaborate electroliers designed by Root. 285
This part of the staircase retains the original Burnham & Root design. 286
A view of the upper balcony. 287
Macy’s on State Street D. H. Bur nham & Compan y; Gr aham, Bur nham & Compan y
y the time Federated Department Stores officially changed the names of its Marshall Field’s stores to the Macy’s brand in September 2006, the stores, particularly the State Street flagship, bore little philosophic resemblance to the store that many older Chicagoans remembered so fondly. Despite a storm of protest, the decision stood, and now, some ten years later, only a few diehards still refuse to accept the decision. The Field’s of memory was a magical place. As a child, one could v isit t he toy depar t ment at Christmas, and wander awestruck through a profusion of toy trains, trucks, toy soldiers, stuffed animals, building sets, and so much, much more. When older, one would visit the book department, not only for the latest best sellers but for rare and specially bound editions. The Field’s buyers also roamed the world looking for antique furniture, art, and silver. Its china department was the destination of choice for prospective brides. And there was the Store for Men, in a separate building across Washington Street. All of that began to change when Marshall Field & Company was sold in 1982 to the retail affiliate of British American Tobacco. In 1990 Dayton Hudson acquired Field’s. By the time it sold Field’s and its other chains to the May Company in 2004, it had changed its name to the Target Corporation, a clear indication that it felt that
mass merchandising in the Wal-Mart mode was the wave of the future. The very next year, May sold everything to Federated. While the store’s merchandising philosophy has necessarily changed to suit the times, the building remains what it has always been—a theater for merchandising. It was built in phases, beginning with the south Wabash Avenue section in 1892, designed by Charles Atwood (1849–1895) of D. H. Burnham & Company. The same firm designed middle Wabash section in 1906 and north Wabash section in 1914 (by then the firm had changed its name to Graham, Burnham & Co. after the death of its founder, Daniel Burnham). On State Street, which is the public face of the store, the north section was completed in 1902 and the south in 1907. In 1992 Design International carried out a major restoration and addition of a new circulation atrium linking south Wabash and State. The main interior features are the arcades on the State Street side. On the north end the arcade rises to the full thirteen-story height of the building, lit by a skylight. But it is the south arcade that commands the most attention. Rising a more modest five stories, it terminates in one of Louis Comfort Tiffany’s greatest achievements—a Favrile glass mosaic dome of more than six thousand square feet, made up of more than 1.6 million individual pieces. It is the largest of its kind in the world. Hanging from it are two complementary globe-shaped art glass chandeliers. Another holdover from the past is the Walnut Room. Opened in 1907, it was the first department store restaurant, designed to provide a place for ladies to have lunch or tea, thus prolonging their stay and, ideally, increasing their purchases. Along with viewing the decorated windows along State Street, breakfast or lunch around the Walnut Room Christmas tree is an unbroken Chicago holiday tradition.
1892–1914 Chicago School 288
Previous: The Tiffany dome at the top of the south atrium is made up of 1.6 million pieces of Favrile glass. The chandelier is also by Tiffany.
This spread: The Walnut Room was the first department store restaurant, and visiting during Christmas is still a tradition to many Chicago-area families.
Left: The north atrium rises to the buildingâ€™s full thirteen stories and is topped by a skylight. Above: The Tiffany dome seen from below.
Above: Embedded in the ground floor is a reminder that the store was once the flagship of Marshall Field & Company, whose demise still saddens many Chicagoans. Right: Full view of the south atrium and Tiffany dome.
Marquette Building Holabir d & Roche
esigned by William Holabird (1854–1923) and Martin Roche (1853–1927), the Marquette Building survives as a splendid example of the late nineteenth-century office buildings that together came to be called the Chicago school. Financed by businessmen as income generators, their very practicality resulted in an entirely new building type: the tall, steel-framed office building. Holabird & Roche, along with Burnham & Root, Adler & Sullivan, and others, were the leaders in transforming the business districts of major cities throughout the country. Indeed, the firm was perhaps the most successful of the Chicago school firms in terms of numbers built. Although not all of Holabird & Roche’s designs have survived, a substantial number have, including the Monadnock Building (sout h addition), Old Colony Building, Chicago Building, Gage Group, McCormick Building, and Monroe Building (see p. TK). They were also responsible for the Stevens Hotel (now the Hilton Chicago), City and County Building, and University Club. Located at the northwest corner of Dearborn and Adams Streets, the Marquette Building is directly to the north of Federal Plaza, whose three buildings were designed by Mies van der Rohe. Because of the plaza, the Marquette is easily seen. While its exterior of terra-cotta and masonry is quite different from Van der Rohe’s
black steel and glass, it is in fact an early example of the kind of building that would lead to the skyscrapers of today. As was common with early tall buildings, it was built around a central light court so that interior offices would have access to natural light. While the intent was to maximize return on investment, it was recognized that some money had to be spent to make the building attractive and unique for prospective tenants. In this case, the building was named after the French Jesuit priest Jacques Marquette (1638–1675), who, along with Louis Jolliet, had explored the Great Lakes and Mississippi River system and stayed in what is now Chicago. Above the main entrance are bas-relief panels showing scenes from Marquette’s travels. On the revolving doors are kickplates adorned with tomahawks as well as push plates decorated with panthers designed by Edward Kemeys, who also designed the bronzes above the elevator doors. In the lobby, the hexagonal balcony railing is decorated with a mosaic frieze—yet more scenes of Marquette’s explorations—designed by J. A. Holzer and executed by the Tiffany Glass and Decorating Company. The building was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1973, designated as a Chicago Landmark in 1975, and named a National Historic Landmark in 1976. It is now owned by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, which undertook a four-year renovation in 2002, directed by restoration architect Gunny Harboe. The building is open to the public during regular business hours. In addition to its original decorations, there are exhibits on the building’s history and on the work of the MacArthur Foundation.
1895 Chicago School
Previous: The balcony frieze illustrates the travels of Jacques Marquette and was executed by Tiffany.
The bronze plaques depict explorers of the region and Native Americans they met. One original elevator grille remains.
Left: A view from the main lobby to the balcony.
Above: A view from the top of the main staircase. Right: The lobby originally received natural light from the interior light well.
Monroe Building Holabir d & Roche
he Monroe Building is one of the buildings along Michigan Avenue from Randolph Street to Roosevelt Road, a stretch of buildings where no one overpowers the others and all face Millennium and Grant Parks. It was designed by Holabird & Roche to complement their 1909 University Club, across the street to the north. After the Monroe Building was finished, its designers moved in with their offices and studios. Over the course of the building’s history, it was also the home of Frank Lloyd Wright, Walter Burley Griffin, and Alfonso and Margaret Iannelli, a husband-and-wife artist-designer team. Alfonso’s relief of the Rock of Gibraltar, on the south side of the Prudential Building across the park, is visible from the Monroe Building. In line with the University Club, the Monroe Building is topped by Gothic-inf luenced gables. Like the firm’s Marquette Building of 1895 (see p. TK), it features an impressive lobby, this time consisting of tiles manufactured by the famous Rookwood Pottery Company and complemented by ornate wrought iron elevator grilles and fittings. Though many changes were made to the building over the years (not always to its benefit), a 2006 total restoration and update by building owner J&J Arnaco uncovered these features still intact under layers of materials. The architect was Holabird & Root, the
successor firm to the original designers, though none of their family members are involved in the present firm. Architectural drawings helped them replicate other elements, such as transom grilles and lighting fixtures. At the same time the building was brought up to date: modern security, information technology systems, a fitness center, and even a bike storage facility were added. The primary tenant is the Pritzker Military Museum & Library, which includes a collection of more than forty thousand books and memorabilia on military history, with a focus on telling the story of the citizen soldier. Supporting the library and its extensive programs is a 110-seat auditorium and a broadcast center, also added in the renovation.
1912 Chicago School, Gothic 300
Previous: The Monroe Building’s lobby uses Rookwood tiles. This is the Michigan Avenue entrance, showing stairs leading to the second floor.
Left: The ceiling is vaulted, and openings to stairways and other areas are arched. The elevators are modern but designed to emulate the originals. Right: This arcade leads to the Monroe Street entrance.
Left: This view is from the Michigan Avenue side. Except for the elevator grilles and fixtures, almost everything is Rookwood, including the capitals on the pilasters.
Above: A detail of the arcade ceiling vaults.
Field Building Gr aham, A nderson, Probst & White
riginally named the Field Building and financed by that family’s money, over the years it has seen its name changed to the LaSalle Bank Building, the Bank of America Building, and now, simply, the 135 S. LaSalle Building. Besides being one of Chicago’s great art deco designs, it is also notable for being the last major office building constructed in Chicago before both the Depression and World War II halted construction. It would be 1955 before another, the Prudential Building, was added to Chicago’s skyline. Connecting it further to the Field family were its architects, Graham, Anderson, Probst & White, designers also of the Field Museum of Natural History (see p. TK) and the family’s Merchandise Mart, once the largest building in the world in terms of floor space. Now only the museum bears the family name; even the flagship store on State Street is named for its current owner, Macy’s (see p. TK). Although dwarfed by the Mart, the Field Building, at 1.2 million square feet, was one of the city’s largest office buildings. At forty-five stories, it was also one of the highest. It was built on the site of the Home Insurance Building, generally considered the world’s first true skyscraper. In plan, it is really multiple buildings—a central forty-five-story tower flanked by twenty-two-story wings. Each has its own elevator bank. The lobby runs unobstructed from Clark Street on the east to LaSalle Street on the west. There is also an entrance on the Adams Street side. The base and entrance areas are highlighted with black granite; the rest of the building is clad in limestone. Taking a leaf from Louis Sullivan’s tall building philosophy, the windows are recessed between the vertical piers to help emphasize its height. With the central tower set back, it is difficult to see properly unless one is far enough away
and at the correct angle. The view is further hindered by the building’s location on the LaSalle Street canyon. Only its nearby neighbor the Board of Trade Building can be easily seen, as it stands facing LaSalle Street where it jogs to the east. The Field Building was the last in a series of art deco designs, which included the Board of Trade, and the Palmolive, LaSalleWacker, Civic Opera, Carbide and Carbon, and Daily News Buildings, among others. While the Prudential Building has some vestiges of the art deco, the so-called International style, fostered by Mies van der Rohe and his disciples, became ascendant, as it still is in its many variations. The Field Building, then, stands as the last of its breed. And, because its lobby arcade is lined with retail spaces, its art deco touches can be easily seen and enjoyed by visitors.
1934 Art Deco 306
Previous: This view looks toward the LaSalle Street entrance, with the underside of a lobby bridge reflecting the image of the ceiling light fixture. Left: This is the tower elevator lobby. Note how the marble in the panels is carefully book-matched, and the mail chute reflects the shape of the building itself. Right: The style of the columns and ceiling fixture mirror one another.
Above: Two bridges connect the upper lobby areas. The clock faces and signage are consistent with the overall art deco design. Right: This is the LaSalle Street entrance. While the design is simplicity itself, the materials are of the highest quality and finish.
Inland Steel Building Skidmor e, Owings & Mer rill
f you wanted to muse over an architectural variation on the theme most famously explored in It’s a Wonderful Life, instead of asking what would happen if someone had never been born, you might ask what Chicago would look like if Skidmore, Owings & Merrill had never been formed. Well, you would denude its skyline of the Willis Tower—long the world’s tallest building—but also the John Hancock Center and the Trump Tower. Their absence would change the skyline dramatically, but the removal of one of the firm’s best buildings might go relatively unnoticed. The Inland Steel Building, the buildings’ equal in everything but scale, would be just as great a loss. For many years one of the world’s largest architecture firms, Skidmore, Owings & Merrill was founded in Chicago in 1936. It now has offices around the world, and has more recently been responsible for both the current world’s tallest building, the Burj Khalifa in Dubai, and the United States’ tallest, One World Trade Center in New York. When the Inland Steel Building was completed in 1958, the firm had already emerged as a design leader. Most of its work then and later was clearly influenced by the ideas and buildings of Mies van der Rohe (Frank Lloyd Wright waggishly called the firm “The Three Blind Mies”). Perhaps the most
famous early success was the 1952 Lever House in Manhattan, which predated Van der Rohe’s own more famous Seagram Building but was clearly influenced by his 860–880 Lake Shore Drive Apartments of 1951. The designer of the Lever was Gordon Bunshaft, who would later win the prestigious Pritzker Prize. Although the Inland Steel Building’s two lead architects, Bruce Graham and Walter Netsch, would later squabble over credit, it appears that Netsch was responsible for the innovative idea of having a separate tower for elevators, restrooms, and other utilities, permitting the main tower to be column free. When Netsch was pulled off the project to work on the Air Force Academy campus—whose chapel is one of the firm’s signature works—Graham apparently finished the design, reducing Netsch’s nine structural columns to seven and pushing them out from the facade. The original client was the Inland Steel Company, and the building’s stainless-steel-and-glass curtain wall was clearly meant to advertise the company’s products. The office tower is a modest nineteen stories, but each of the floors has 10,200 square feet of column-free space. The green-tinted glass of the windows pairs well with the stainless steel. To visually enhance its modest height, the building employs the Miesian technique of applying nonstructural vertical I beams to the spaces between the structural columns. Clearly in need of renovation, the building was bought in 2005 by a group of investors, including architect Frank Gehry, who had long admired it. Gehry was not satisfied with their plans and was pleased when investors sold the building in 2007 to a new group, who, with his encouragement, hired Skidmore, Owings & Merrill to take over the project.
1958 International 312
The lobby features a sculpture, titled Radiant 1, created especially for the building by the American Richard Lippold. The basic material is, of course, stainless steel.
Blue Cross–Blue Shield Building Lohan Associates (original), Goettsch Partners (addition)
he Blue Cross–Blue Shield Building—also known as the 300 E. Randolph Building—took more than ten years to complete, not because of inept planning and construction but because it was intended that way. Designed by James Goettsch when he was a partner with Lohan Associates, the original thirty-three-story building was constructed so that it could be enlarged vertically if and when its main tenant required additional space. In fewer than ten years that became the case, and the building rose to its current fifty-seven stories. It has an enviable location, directly northeast of Millennium Park, which provides a view of both Grant Park and the lake. While it is still somewhat dwarfed by its neighbor to the west, the Aon Center, its height now compares favorably to the rest of the buildings in what is now called the New East Side, with its mix of office, hotel, and apartment towers. The construction of the addition was, to say the least, complicated. The first step was to bring a small derrick in pieces to the roof. This then was used to bring up a larger derrick, which then lowered the small one back to the ground. Finally, the two construction cranes were brought up piece by piece and assembled. Only then did actual construction begin. The blue glass exterior, with white accents, provides a dignified presence that somewhat belies its complicated interior, perhaps best viewed from the north at night. It features a central atrium
surrounded by offices on three sides, much like older office buildings such as the Rookery (see p. TK). Thus, even interior offices are exposed to natural light. The elevators are clearly visible as they go up and down. And because they can be seen, the surfaces in the elevator shafts are as finely finished as the rest of the interior. Lohan Associates was a survivor firm of Mies van der Rohe’s own practice, Dirk Lohan being his grandson. So the use of nonstructural I beams in the rear glass curtain wall may not be accidental. Goettsch, a graduate of the Iowa State University, is responsible for numerous buildings in the Chicago area and around the world. Downtown designs include 111 S. and 155 N. Wacker Drive and the UBS Tower. For Northwestern University, he designed t he Music a nd Com mu nicat ions Building on the lakefront campus in Evanston. The firm has also designed major buildings in Saudi Arabia, in the Czech Republic, and in Shanghai, Nanjing, and Suzhou in China. Only the entrance lobby is open to visitors during regular business hours, but nearby Lake Shore East Park has good views, particularly at night.
1997 (original), 2010 (addition) Modern 314
Previous: This is the main lobby reception desk. The “300” refers to the building’s Randolph Street address.
[locator TK]: This is the main lobby, showing the view to the southwest and the I beams on the inside of the curtain wall. [locator TK]: The Aqua apartment building, designed by Studio Gang, can bee seen just outside the atrium.
Left: A view into the atrium from an upper floor. Above: The main elevator lobby. Right: This view is to the northeast from the upper lobby. Lake Shore East Park is just visible.
William E. Martin House, Oak Park; Frank Lloyd Wright, 1903. 320
Pomegranate Communications, Inc. 19018 NE Portal Way, Portland OR 97230 800 227 1428 • www.pomegranate.com Pomegranate Europe Ltd. Unit 1, Heathcote Business Centre, Hurlbutt Road Warwick, Warwickshire CV34 6TD, UK [+44] 0 1926 430111 • email@example.com To learn about new releases and special offers from Pomegranate, please visit www.pomegranate.com and sign up for our e-mail newsletter. For all other queries, see “Contact Us” on our home page. Text © 2015 Patrick F. Cannon Photographs © 2015 James Caulfield The contents of this book are protected by copyright, including all images and all text. This copyrighted material may not be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including but not limited to photocopying, scanning, recording, or by any information storage or retrieval system, without the express permission in writing of the copyright holders. All rights to the images and text are reserved. Front cover: The Rookery; Burnham & Root, 1888. Frontispiece: Morton Wing, Art Institute of Chicago; Shaw, Metz & Associates, 1962. Back cover: Chicago Cultural Center; Shepley, Rutan & Coolidge, 1897. Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data Cannon, Patrick F. The space within : inside great Chicago buildings / Patrick F. Cannon ; Photographs by James Caulfield. pages cm Summary: “Original photographs and essays on more than forty Chicago-area residences, religious institutions, and public and commercial buildings, focusing on the structures’ interiors and the stories behind them”—Provided by publisher. ISBN 978-0-7649-7205-8 (alk. paper) 1. Interior architecture—Illinois—Chicago. 2. Interior architecture—Illinois—Chicago—Pictorial works. 3. Chicago (Ill.)—Buildings, structures, etc. 4. Chicago (Ill.)—Buildings, structures, etc.—Pictorial works. 5. Chicago (Ill.)—History. I. Caulfield, James, 1953- II. Title. NA2850.C365 2015 729.09773’11--dc23 2015005642 Item No. A242 Designed by Bill Sosin Printed in China 24 23 22 21 20 19 18 17 16 15 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1
The Space Within / Photographs by James Caulfield
I’m sure you’ve heard a variation of the old saying, “If I’d known how much work this would be before I started . . .” Well, I did have an i...
Published on Jul 12, 2018
I’m sure you’ve heard a variation of the old saying, “If I’d known how much work this would be before I started . . .” Well, I did have an i...