The buildings and architecture of Chicago have influenced and reflected the history of American architecture. The built [constructed] environment of Chicago is reflective of the city’s history and multicultural heritage, featuring prominent buildings in a variety of styles by many important architects. Since most structures within the downtown area were destroyed by the Great Chicago Fire in 1871 (the most famous exception being the Water Tower) Chicago buildings are noted for their originality rather than their antiquity.
Chicago is world-famous for its plethora of unique architectural styles, from Chicago Bungalows and Two-Flats to the grand Graystones along Logan Boulevard and Lawndale Avenue, from the skyscrapers of the Loop as well as a wealth of sacred architecture such as the city’s ornate “Polish Cathedrals”.
Beginning in the early 1880s, architectural pioneers of the Chicago School explored steel-frame construction and, in the 1890s, the use of large areas of plate glass. These were among the first modern skyscrapers. William LeBaron Jenney’s Home Insurance Building was completed in 1885 and is considered to be the first to use steel in its structural frame instead of cast iron, but this building was still clad in heavy brick and stone. However, the Montauk Building, designed by John Wellborn Root Sr. and Daniel Burnham, was built in 1882–1883 using structural steel. Daniel Burnham and his partners, John Welborn Root and Charles Atwood, designed technically advanced steel frames with glass and terra cotta skins in the mid-1890s, in particular the Reliance Building; these were made possible by professional engineers, in particular E. C. Shankland, and modern contractors, in particular George A. Fuller.
Louis Sullivan was perhaps the city’s most philosophical architect. Realizing that the skyscraper represented a new form of architecture, he discarded historical precedent and designed buildings that emphasized their vertical nature. This new form of architecture, by Jenney, Burnham, Sullivan, and others, became known as the “Commercial Style,” but it was called the “Chicago School” by later historians.
In 1892, the Masonic Temple surpassed the New York World Building, breaking its two-year reign as the tallest skyscraper, only to be surpassed itself two years later by another New York building.
Since 1963, a “Second Chicago School” emerged from the work of Ludwig Mies van der Rohe at the Illinois Institute of Technology in Chicago. The ideas of structural engineer Fazlur Khan were also influential in this movement, in particular his introduction of a new structural system of framed tubes in skyscraper design and construction. The first building to apply the tube-frame construction was the DeWitt-Chestnut Apartment Building which Khan designed and was completed in Chicago by 1966. This laid the foundations for the tube structures of many other later skyscrapers, including his own constructions of the John Hancock Center and Willis Tower (then named the Sears Tower) in Chicago and can be seen in the construction of the World Trade Center, Petronas Towers, Jin Mao Building, and most other supertall skyscrapers since the 1960s. Willis Tower would be the world’s tallest building from its construction in 1974 until 1998 (when the Petronas Towers was built) and would remain the tallest for some categories of buildings until the Burj Khalifa was completed in early 2010.
Landmarks, monuments and public places
Numerous architects have constructed landmark buildings of varying styles in Chicago. Among them are the so-called “Chicago seven”: James Ingo Freed, Tom Beeby, Larry Booth, Stuart Cohen, James Nagle, Stanley Tigerman, and Ben Weese. Daniel Burnham led the design of the “White City” of the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition which some historians claim led to a revival of Neo-Classical architecture throughout Chicago and the entire United States. It is true that the “White City” represented anything other than its host city’s architecture. While Burnham did develop the 1909 “Plan for Chicago”, perhaps the first comprehensive city plan in the U.S, in a Neo-Classical style, many of Chicago’s most progressive skyscrapers occurred after the Exposition closed, between 1894 and 1899. Louis Sullivan said that the fair set the course of American architecture back by two decades, but even his finest Chicago work, the Schlesinger and Meyer (later Carson, Pirie, Scott) store, was built in 1899—five years after the “White City” and ten years before Burnham’s Plan.
Sullivan’s comments should be viewed in the context of his complicated relationship with Burnham. Erik Larson’s history of the Columbian Exposition, The Devil in the White City, correctly points out that the building techniques developed during the construction of the many buildings of the fair were entirely modern, even if they were adorned in a way Sullivan found aesthetically distasteful.
Chicago is well known for its wealth of public art, including works by such artistic heavyweights as Chagall, Picasso, Miró and Abakanowicz that are all to be found outdoors.
City sculptures additionally honor the many people and topics reflecting the rich history of Chicago. There are monuments to:
Tadeusz Kościuszko by Kazimierz Chodzinski
Nicholas Copernicus by Bertel Thorvaldsen
Karel Havlíček Borovský by Joseph Strachovsky
Pope John Paul II, several different monuments (including by Czesław Dźwigaj)
Tomáš Garrigue Masaryk by Albin Polasek
Irv Kupcinet by Preston Jackson
Abraham Lincoln by Augustus Saint Gaudens
The Heald Square Monument featuring George Washington, Haym Salomon, and Robert Morris by Lorado Taft, (completed by Leonard Crunelle)
Christopher Columbus by Carl Brioschi
General John A. Logan by Augustus Saint Gaudens
Harry Caray by Omri Amrany and Lou Cella
Jack Brickhouse by Jerry McKenna
A memorial to the Haymarket affair by Mary Brogger
A memorial to the Great Northern Migration by Alison Saar
There are also preliminary plans to erect a 1:1-scale replica of Wacław Szymanowski’s Art Nouveau statue of Frédéric Chopin found in Warsaw’s Royal Baths along Chicago’s lakefront in addition to a different sculpture commemorating the artist in Chopin Park for the 200th anniversary of Frédéric Chopin’s birth.
In the 21st century, Chicago has become a leading urban focus for landscape architecture, and the architecture of public places. Building on 19th-20th century legacies of architects such as, Burnham, Frederick Olmstead, Jens Jensen and Alfred Caldwell, modern projects include Millennium Park, Northerly Island, the 606, the Chicago Riverwalk, Maggie Daley Park, and proposals in Jackson Park (Chicago).
Frank Lloyd Wright’s Prairie School influenced both building design and the design of furnishings. In the early half of the 20th century, popular residential neighborhoods were developed with Chicago Bungalow style houses, many of which still exist. Ludwig Mies van der Rohe’s Illinois Institute of Technology campus in Chicago influenced the later Modern or International style. Van der Rohe’s work is sometimes called the Second Chicago School.
Many organizations, notably Preservation Chicago and Landmarks Illinois are devoted to promoting the preservation of historic neighborhoods and buildings in Chicago. Chicago has suffered from the same problems with sinking property values and urban decline as other major cities. Many historic structures have been threatened with demolition.
Timeline of notable buildings
1836 Henry B. Clarke House
1869 Chicago Water Tower, William W. Boyington
1872 Second Presbyterian Church 1936 S. Michigan, James Renwick 1900 Howard Van Doren Shaw
1877 St. Stanislaus Kostka Church 1327 N. Noble, Patrick Keely
1882–1883 Montauk Building, Daniel Burnham and John Wellborn Root. First building to be called a “skyscraper.” (Demolished, 1902)
1885 Home Insurance Building, Chicago School, William Le Baron Jenney (Demolished, 1931)
1885 Palmer Mansion, early Romanesque and Norman Gothic, Henry Ives Cobb and Charles Sumner Frost (Demolished, 1950)
1886 John J. Glessner House, Henry Hobson Richardson
1887 Marshall Field Warehouse, Henry Hobson Richardson (Demolished, 1930)
1888 Rookery Building, Daniel Burnham and John Wellborn Root, 1905 lobby redesign by Frank Lloyd Wright
1889 Monadnock Building, Daniel Burnham and John Wellborn Root
1889 Auditorium Building, Louis Sullivan and Dankmar Adler.
1889 St. Mary of Perpetual Help Church, Henry Englebert
1890 and 1894–1895 Reliance Building, Charles B. Atwood of Burnham & Root
1890–1899 Gage Group Buildings, Holabird & Roche with Louis Sullivan
1891 Manhattan Building, William Le Baron Jenney
1892 Masonic Temple, Daniel Burnham and John Wellborn Root (Demolished, 1939)
1892–1893 World’s Columbian Exposition, Daniel Burnham, director of Works
1893 Palace of Fine Arts, later Museum of Science and Industry, Beaux-Arts, Charles B. Atwood
1893-1898 St. John Cantius Church, Alphonsus Druiding
1894 Tree Studio Building and Annexes, Judge Lambert & Anne Tree via Parfitt Brothers; 1912 annex: Hill and Woltersdorf
1895–1896 Fisher Building (Chicago), D.H. Burnham & Company, Charles B. Atwood
1897 St. Paul Church 2234 S. Hoyne, Henry Schlacks
1897 Chicago Library (now Chicago Cultural Center), Shepley, Rutan and Coolidge
1899 Sullivan Center, Louis Sullivan; 1905–1906, twelve-story south addition, D.H. Burnham & Company
1902 Marshall Field and Company Building, north State Street building D.H. Burnham & Company, Charles B. Atwood
1903 Holy Trinity Cathedral, Chicago
1905-1906 Holy Trinity Polish Mission, Herman Olszewski and William G. Krieg,
1905 Chicago Federal Building
1906 Sears Merchandise Building Tower, George G. Nimmons – William K. Fellows
1907 Marshall Field and Company Building, south State Street building D.H. Burnham & Company, Charles B. Atwood
1909 Robie House, Prairie School, Frank Lloyd Wright
1912-1914 St. Adalbert’s Church 1650 W.17th street, Henry Schlacks
1912 Medina Temple North Wabash Avenue
1912 Pulaski Park fieldhouse by Jens Jensen
1914 Navy Pier
1914-1920 St. Mary of the Angels Church 1850 N. Hermitage Ave, Worthmann and Steinbach
1915 Holy Cross Church, Joseph Molitor
1916 Navy Pier Auditorium, Charles Sumner Frost
1917–1920 Michigan Avenue Bridge, Edward H. Bennett
1917-1921 Basilica of St. Hyacinth 3636 West Wolfram Avenue, Worthmann & Steinbach
1919-1924 Wrigley Building, Graham, Anderson, Probst & White
1921 Chicago Theatre, Beaux-Arts, Cornelius W. Rapp and George L. Rapp
1921 Old Chicago Main Post Office, Graham, Anderson, Probst & White
1922 Tribune Tower, neo-Gothic, John Mead Howells and Raymond M. Hood
1924 Soldier Field, Holabird & Roche; extensive renovation 2003, Ben Wood and Carlos Zapata
1925 Uptown Theatre, Cornelius W. Rapp and George L. Rapp
1927 Pittsfield Building, Graham, Anderson, Probst and White
1929 Carbide & Carbon Building, Daniel and Hubert Burnham, sons of Daniel Burnham
1929 Palmolive Building, Art Deco, Holabird & Root
1929 John G. Shedd Aquarium, Graham, Anderson, Probst & White
1930 Chicago Board of Trade Building, Holabird & Root
1930 All Saints Cathedral, J. G. Steinbach
1930 Gateway Theatre Mason Rapp of Rapp & Rapp; extensive renovation 1979-1984, “Solidarity Tower” addition in 1985
1930 Adler Planetarium & Astronomy Museum, Ernest A. Grunsfeld, Jr.
1931 Merchandise Mart, Graham, Anderson, Probst & White
1930s-1960s Illinois Institute of Technology, including S.R. Crown Hall, Second Chicago School, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe and Skidmore, Owings & Merrill
1934 Field Building, Graham, Anderson, Probst & White
1940 to the present:
1940-1942 St. Wenceslaus church, 3400 N. Monticello Ave, McCarthy, Smith and Eppig
1952 860–880 Lake Shore Drive, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe
1957 Inland Steel Building, Bruce Graham and Walter Netsch, Skidmore, Owings & Merrill,
1964 Marina City, Bertrand Goldberg
1968 Lake Point Tower, John Heinrich and George Schipporeit
1968 Seventeenth Church of Christ, Scientist. Harry Weese
1969 John Hancock Center, Bruce Graham, Skidmore, Owings & Merrill
1973 330 North Wabash, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe
1974 Willis Tower, Bruce Graham, Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (previously the Sears Tower)
1974 Aon Center, Edward Durrell Stone (earlier names were Standard Oil Building and Amoco Building)
1977 St. Joseph the Betrothed Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church
1979-85 James R. Thompson Center, Helmut Jahn
1989 NBC Tower, Skidmore, Owings & Merrill
1990 American Medical Association Building, Kenzo Tange
1990 Athletic Club Illinois Center, Kisho Kurokawa
1991 Harold Washington Library Center, Thomas Beeby
1991 U.S. Cellular Field, Home of the White Sox
1991 Museum of Contemporary Art, Josef Paul Kleihues
1992 77 West Wacker Drive, Ricardo Bofill
2004 Millennium Park, Frank Gehry, Kathryn Gustafson, Anish Kapoor, Jaume Plensa, and others, a showcase for 21st century modernism.
2009 155 North Wacker, Goettsch Partners
2009 Trump International Hotel and Tower, Skidmore, Owings & Merrill
2010 Aqua Tower, Studio Gang Architects
Styles and schools
Chicago architects used many design styles and belonged to a variety of architectural schools. Below is a list of those styles and schools.
Arts & Crafts
Chicago School (Also called Commercial Style)
Classical Revival (also known as Neoclassical architecture)
Craftsman (also known as American Craftsman)
International (sometimes called Second Chicago School)
Renaissance Revival also known as Neo-Renaissance
Romanesque Revival also known as Neo-Romanesque
Spanish Revival also known as Spanish Colonial Revival
Sullivanesque (for style elements and examples see Louis Sullivan)
Source From Wikipedia