Sunday, February 20, 2011


Every Chicagoan knows what buildings make Chicago home. Sears Tower, of course. Marina City. And the Hancock Center. Trump Tower shows up on the skyline radar more and more often. But always, the skyscrapers are followed by Marshall Field's, The Field Museum, LaSalle Street, Union Station, the buildings on Wacker Drive, and the wall of South Michigan Avenue.

Surprisingly, this second tier of buildings, and major contributions to the implementation of the Chicago Plan came from the same hand. Marshall Field and Company, the Field Museum of Natural History, Chicago Union Station, the Continental Bank, the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, the Continental and Commercial Bank, and the Insurance Exchange were all designed by Peirce Anderson. Anderson was also responsible, in conjunction with Edward Bennett, for building placement on Wacker Drive near the Michigan Avenue Bridge. And he contributed to the Michigan Avenue Wall with the People's Gas Building and early work on the Straus Bank.

Anderson was D.H. Burnham's senior designer from 1899 until 1908. From 1908 until 1912 Anderson was Burnham's design partner. Following Burnham's death Anderson became the design partner at  Graham Anderson Probst and White.

Anderson's work didn't stop in Chicago. He worked with Daniel Burnham to produce the Plan of Manila (and recommended William Parsons for its implementation. He also recommended fellow Ecole student Edward Bennett for Burnham's efforts in San Fransisco). He worked with Burnham on the Plan of Cleveland and the McMillan Plan for Washington DC. Important out-of-state architectural commissions included the Equitable Building and 80 Maiden Lane in New York and Washington DC's Union Station. Anderson was tireless.

Anderson's careful selection and organization of design staff allowed the considerable work at Graham Anderson Probst and White to flow uninterrupted even after his final illness and death.

Peirce Anderson's architecture is well known in Chicago. Perhaps lesser known, is that Anderson also designed a clock. At the corner of State and Randolph.


Anderson's attention to detail was legendary.  The clock is no exception.  A matching twin is located at State and Washington.

Anderson was born on this day, February 20, in 1870.  

1 comment:

  1. Happy birthday, Peirce . . . a guy who sat down with a master and learned his lessons well. Thanks for the tribute -- and the great photo of the detail work on the clock.