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The Rookery: Evolving Standards of Architecture in Chicago

March 23, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

By Matt Baker

It’s tempting to assume that a landmarked building like the Rookery has been preserved in architectural amber. But the world-renowned structure isn’t exactly the one that Daniel Burnham and John Root designed in the 1880s. After the turn of the century, Frank Lloyd Wright famously applied a gilded eggshell cladding to the lobby. In the 1930s, William Drummond, formerly a Wright protégé, added Art Deco elements, including bronze elevators etched with birds matching the building’s moniker. The twelfth story was largely rebuilt in the 1990s when Burnham & Root’s original office was restored.

The latest changes to the building have been subtler. Like many other historic office buildings in the central business district, the Rookery has been busy for the last several years implementing sustainable strategies that will allow it to stay relevant for the next century.
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