Wednesday, April 22, 2009

FIELD MUSEUM. A Few Quiet Surprises

It is easy to look at the Field Museum and become taken with THE BIG STUFF: axis, plinth, symmetry, size, columns (Ionic), and caryatids. But there is a secondary level of exterior detail, that once encountered, is not forgotten. Around the corner from the Porch of the Maidens a simple row of windows takes on a quiet, almost residential scale. Window frames are not simple coves or ogees, they are covered with considered ornament. Windows near the north and south porticos are small, elegant, deeply inset, finely divided.

It is apparent that this is the work of an accomplished designer, who has matured with his own portfolio. Think of Peirce Anderson's career to date. The masterplan of Manila with Daniel Burnham. Marshall Field and Company. Union Station in Chicago. And Washington DC. (Not to mention the Post Office). He is about to start the Equitable Building in New York. And the great banking rooms in Chicago. He is 41 years old as construction begins on the Field. I can't help but admit, I'm a little jealous. And still, there was time to consider rams heads on the flagpole.
CHICAGO PHOTOGRAPHS are Available for Purchase at

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