Sunday, December 27, 2009

DANIEL BURNHAM. The Continental and Commercial. The Original

Its time to look at original views of the Continental and Commercial.  208 South LaSalle.  It's time for some fun.


Sally A. Kitt Chappell, on page 97 of her book "The Architecture and Planning of Graham, Anderson, Probst and White" quotes Andrew Rebori's description of the Continental and Commercial Bank from page 134 of his book "The Work of Burnham and Root".  I quote her here.

"A broad staircase once ascended to a lofty Banking Room, expressing the vaunted halls of a great financial institution. Enhanced by the abundant daylight that streamed through the barrel vault seventy-five feet overhead, the interior reflections were further intensified by the white marble mosaics on the floors, the shining brasses, and the lustrous columns that articulated the space..." I couldn't have said it better.

If we're going to try to learn about Architecture, we should learn it from someone who loves it. Both Chappell's and Rebori's work is highly recommended. The photo credits belong to Chappell. 

Peirce Anderson had been Daniel Burnham's lead designer for four years when he started the Continental and Commercial. Confident experimentation within the classic format is evident. Particularly the introduction of a directional facade and the delicate tracery of the high barrel-vaulted skylight.

As I learn more about each of Daniel Burnham's remaining Buildings in downtown Chicago I am reminded of our loss with the loss of each Burnham interior. These buildings were not boxes of offices packed onto a downtown lot. They were fully conceived Buildings that relate to the City around them. Public spaces. Interior Piazzas. Pedestrian Ways. Full of light.   Variation. Ornament.  Full of pride.

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