The 19th Century is quite close at the corner of Wabash and Madison. Under a dark corner of the El, dodge the pigeons and look up (at 10 South Wabash) for the deep green tile (Sullivanesque?) and restored red brick ornamented to Victorian complexity. A quick squint in morning light and the year is 1896. (Wabash Avenue is looking very good)
That tile and brick building is The Silversmith designed by D. H. Burnham and Company's Peter J. Weber. Tile faces the first two stories with highly "manicured" brick above. This is a gorgeous little building. We'll talk about why, and why it is architecture, later. Today we enjoy.
Peter Weber joined Daniel Burnham in 1891 to assist Charles Atwood at the World's Fair. Educated in Berlin at the Charlottenburg Institute, Weber was right at home in Chicago's community of German and German immigrant architects. And he knew how to use brick. Clearly.
Weber also designed the Fisher Building Annex (so he knew a little something about terra cotta, too) and went on to design Highland Park's Ravinia. His life and work is well documented. His son, also in the business, kept Peter's papers in order right up through 1945, when they were donated to the Art Institute of Chicago.
FOR MORE CHICAGO ARCHITECTURE, SCULPTURE AND PHOTOGRAPHY