Friday, February 27, 2009


The Columns flanking Marshall Field & Company's State Street Entrance are 50 foot tall granite monoliths rivalled in size only by the columns at Egypt's Temple of Karnak. Daniel Burnham made no little plans.

Peirce Anderson left the Ecole des Beaux Arts in Paris in 1899 with a thoroughly classical education. After a year's travel in Europe he joined D. H. Burnham. He chose Ionic columns for the State Street Entrance, the top floor Loggia, and the North Atrium, and Corinthian Columns for the Grand Arcade that connects Randolph Street to State Street. The "Ecole" would soon make itself felt throughout the Loop.
Above: A column base at the Entry monoliths.

Above: An Ionic capital at the top floor Loggia.

Above: An Ionic capital at the North Atrium

Above: The Corinthian Columns of the Grand Arcade.

Marshall Field died in 1906. Although he lived to see the State Street Entrance and the North Atrium, he never saw the completed State Street South section which includes the Walnut Room and the Tiffany Dome.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009


Marshall Field & Company wasn't built in a day. The first construction on the block bounded by State, Randolph, Wabash, and Washington was begun in 1892. The final segment, at the southwest corner of Wabash and Randolph was constructed in 1914. Above is the North Atrium, located near the corner of State and Randolph, constructed in 1902. The North Atrium anchors the Grand Arcade that parallels State Street and displays 13 floors of retail sales area This mastery of vertical and horizontal space is also evident at Chicago's Field Museum and Union Station, later projects also designed by Peirce Anderson.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Happy Birthday, Dear Andy. Happy Birthday to..

Peirce Anderson was born on Februrary 20, 1870 in Oswego, New York and died in Chicago in his Hyde Park Home on February 10, 1924. (See ARCHITECTURE AND PLANNING OF GRAHAM, ANDERSON, PROBST AND WHITE, 1912-1936, pp 273-276, by Sally A. Kitt Chappell for a brief sketch of his life. ) The iconic clocks at Marshall Field & Company, pictured above, are by his hand.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Atwood and Ornament at Marshall Field

While later work by Daniel Burnham at Marshall Field & Company would emphasize interior spaces, Charles Atwood's interest was clearly in exterior ornament. Note the repeated shell motif and complex masonry patterns.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Marshall Field & Company 1892 ----------------------

This cast iron newell post is located on the first floor of Marshall Field & Company near the corner of Wabash and Washington. It is in the old Renaissance-style"South Building" designed by Charles Atwood while employed at the architectural firm of D.H. Burnham in 1892. Atwood stayed with Burnham until 1895. Peirce Anderson, also working with Burnham, later redefined the project and completed the designs over a twelve year period creating a Chicago icon that has outlasted the company who commissioned him.

A Small Preface---------------------------------------------

It seems always possible to ignore, to overlook, or become distracted. To forget. Or underestimate. But Chicago can bring you back. With small wonders and large. With dreams of the past. And clear visions of the future. The focus of this site will be the Architecture of downtown Chicago. Because it is remarkable. Because it is home.