Monday, May 30, 2016

Remembering Bryan Lathrop

This month marks the 100th anniversary of the death of Bryan Lathrop.  Amassing a fortune in real estate and the insurance business, he became an extraordinary philanthropist in Chicago, supporting numerous organizations.  It was through his long-time service to the Chicago Symphony Orchestra that he and his wife Helen became close friends with the Glessners.

Bryan Lathrop was born in Alexandria, Virginia in 1844.  His family moved to Chicago at the outbreak of the Civil War, Chicago being the home of his uncle Thomas Barbour Bryan.  Lathrop was sent to Europe to study and did not return to Chicago until 1865.  It was during his years in Europe that he developed a deep appreciation for art, culture and landscape design, which would guide his future endeavors.  He later noted:

“In Europe (the intelligent traveler) sees almost everywhere evidences of a sense of beauty . . . In America, almost everywhere he is struck by the want of it. . . In this new country of ours the struggle for existence has been intense, and the practical side of life has been developed while the aesthetic side has lain dormant.”

Upon his return to Chicago, Lathrop joined his uncle’s real estate investment practice.  The two men shared a great deal in common, including their appreciation for landscape gardening.  As such, it is not surprising that Bryan involved his nephew in the development of Graceland Cemetery, with Lathrop joining the board of managers in 1867.  When his uncle moved to Washington in 1877, Lathrop became the president of the board, guiding the development of the cemetery until his death nearly forty years later.  

Almost immediately, Lathrop engaged the services of a civil engineer by the name of Ossian C. Simonds, who would go on to become one of Chicago’s most important landscape architects.  Together they shared an understanding and appreciation for naturalistic landscapes, and their work at Graceland had a profound effect on not only the cemetery, but the development of landscape architecture in the United States. 

Lathrop became an early advocate for the development of parks in Chicago, and as vice president of the Lincoln Park board, led an effort to extend that park along the shore of Lake Michigan supporting the concept of naturalism in its design. 

In 1891, Lathrop and his wife Helen Aldis, whom he had married in 1875, commissioned Charles Follen McKim, of the firm McKim, Mead and White, to design their home at 120 East Bellevue Place.  Completed in time for the World’s Columbian Exposition in 1893, the house was described by architect Alfred Hoyt Granger as “the most perfect piece of Georgian architecture in Chicago.”  McKim came to Chicago in early 1891 regarding his design for the Agricultural Building at the Fair, and it was at that time that he and Lathrop were brought together.  One of the few buildings in Chicago designed by the firm, the design brought Georgian Revival to the Gold Coast, and in less than a decade, it was the predominant style.  (The house has been owned and occupied by The Fortnightly since 1922, and was designated a Chicago landmark in 1973).

Vauxhall Bridge, 1861; James Abbott McNeill Whistler
(Collection of the Art Institute of Chicago)

Lathrop was a sophisticated and well-respected art collector, and the home was filled with his treasures.  Of particular significance was his collection of the works of James Abbott McNeill Whistler, the largest in the country. 

Bryan Lathrop became a trustee of the Orchestral Association in 1894 and four years later was named vice president.  In 1903, he was elected president and served in that capacity until his death.  It was under his leadership that the orchestra moved into its new home, Orchestra Hall, and that the current name, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, was adopted in early 1913. 

First program using the Chicago Symphony Orchestra name, February 1913

Lathrop was a co-founder of the Chicago Real Estate Board, and developed an excellent reputation for handling large estates both in Chicago and in the East.  His other philanthropic activities included the Chicago Relief and Aid Society and the Newberry Library.

Lathrop died from heart disease at his Bellevue Place home in 1916.  As noted in Illinois, the Heart of the Nation by Edward Fitzsimmons Dunne:

“Bryan Lathrop, who died May 13, 1916, was a wealthy, generous, and public spirited citizen to whom the people of the city were indebted during his life time and since for his constructive work in behalf of several of Chicago’s cultural and philanthropic institutions.”

The funeral service was held in the chapel of Graceland Cemetery.  Frederick Stock, conductor of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, cancelled their concert in Buffalo, New York and returned to Chicago in time for the funeral.  Edgar Lee Masters wrote a commemorative poem about Lathrop specifically noting his support of music in Chicago, which was published in Poetry magazine.

Lathrop’s bequests were numerous including $700,000 to the Orchestra for the establishment of the Civic Music Student Orchestra, the predecessor of the current Civic Orchestra.  It was the largest gift ever made to the Orchestra up to that time.  (The orchestra also established the Bryan Lathrop Memorial Scholarship Fund in his memory, using a large gift from his sister Florence, the wife of Thomas Nelson Page, author and U.S. ambassador to Italy.)  His large collection of Whistler artworks was given to the Art Institute of Chicago and his library went to the Newberry.  Additional bequests were made to United Charities and Children’s Memorial Hospital.

Bryan Lathrop was buried in a large landscaped plot at Graceland Cemetery, with only a small unobtrusive headstone marking his grave.   Helen Lathrop died in 1935 at her summer home in Bar Harbor, Maine, and was interred beside her husband. 


In 1905, Bryan Lathrop was asked to submit a page to the calendar being prepared by the Monday Morning Reading Class as a surprise for Frances Glessner.  It was presented to her on her birthday, January 1, 1906.  For his page, Lathrop selected an excerpt from “Arcades,” a masque written by John Milton in 1634 to honor Alice Spencer, the Countess Dowager of Darby, on her 75th birthday.  The selection of this excerpt says a great deal about Lathrop’s respect for Frances Glessner, as the piece extols the subject as being far superior to other noble women.  The excerpt reads:

“Such sweet compulsion doth in music lie,
To lull the daughters of Necessity,
And keep unsteady Nature to her law,
and the low world in measured motion draw
After the heavenly tune, which none can hear
Of human mold with gross unpurged ear.”

Monday, May 23, 2016

A Civil War Soldier Remembered

William Laughlin (at right) with brothers Samuel and Alexander

On July 15, 2013, we published an article on our blog entitled “Civil War Artifacts of George C. Hall.”  The article focused on a small collection of items relating to the Civil War contained in a leather wallet inscribed with the name of George C. Hall, a private in Company C of the 78th Ohio Volunteer Infantry.  Although the company was raised in Zanesville, Ohio, where John Glessner was living at the time, it was unknown what connection existed between Hall and Glessner.  A notation in Frances Glessner’s journal has solved this mystery, as well as revealing the identity of “William” mentioned in a penciled note by “Margaret” which was also contained in the wallet. 

On October 28, 1881, John and Frances Glessner arrived in Zanesville, Ohio, for the annual reunion of the Glessner family.  (Their children, George and Fanny, were left in Chicago under the care of Isaac Scott).  

Margaret (Laughlin) Blocksom

One of John Glessner’s favorite relatives in Zanesville was his Aunt Margaret (Laughlin) Blocksom, a younger sister of his mother.  On October 31, Frances Glessner noted, “John and I went over to see Aunt M. who gave John a number of things that had belonged to her brother William, and that were all keepsakes from the war of the rebellion.” 

The Laughlin family; William and Mary (Drake) Laughlin stand at upper left

William M. Laughlin was born in 1822 in Wheeling, Virginia (later West Virginia) to John and Nancy (Lyle) Laughlin, making him just two years younger than his sister Margaret.  In 1851 he married Mary Drake, and two years later, their only child, John Lyle Laughlin was born.  Mary Drake Laughlin died on November 17, 1861, just four days after William enlisted for three years of service in Company C of the 78th Ohio Volunteer Infantry, as a wagoner. 

William Laughlin was appointed Sergeant on May 1, 1862; 1st Sergeant on April 30, 1863; and 2nd Lieutenant on November 29, 1862, but not mustered.  His company fought in the following battles:
Shiloh, Tennessee (April 6-7, 1862)
Bolivar, Tennessee (August 30, 1862)
Raymond, Mississippi (May 12, 1863)
Champion Hills, Mississippi (May 16, 1863)
Vicksburg, Mississippi (May 18-July 4, 1863)
Canton, Mississippi (February 26, 1864)
Kenesaw Mountain, Georgia (June 9-30, 1864)
Battle of Atlanta (July 22, 1864)

Battle of Atlanta, by Kurz and Allison

The Battle of Atlanta was part of the effort led by General William T. Sherman to seize the important city of Atlanta, which served as a rail and supply hub of the Confederacy.  Atlanta fell on September 2nd and was followed by Sherman’s famous March to the Sea.  It was during the Battle of Atlanta on July 22nd that William Laughlin lost his life.  His body was not recovered.  Presumably, Private George C. Hall gathered together William’s  personal items in his wallet and presented them to Margaret Blocksom when he returned to Zanesville at the close of the war. 

The most interesting item turned over to John Glessner was a cardboard pin box containing a small fragment of wood with a note written by his Aunt Margaret:

“A piece of the tree under which Gen. Pemberton surrendered Vixburgh, it was cut by William, and he took it out of his pocket book and gave it to me the last time he was home.  Who ever may get this do treasure it for his sake and mine too.  Margaret.”

Pemberton's surrender to Grant at Vicksburg, note tree at left

As noted in the earlier article about George C. Hall, Pemberton’s surrender at Vicksburg is well documented, as is the tree from which William cut the fragment.  On July 3, 1863 Pemberton sent a note to General Ulysses S. Grant, who demanded unconditional surrender.  The surrender was finalized on July 4, Independence Day, a day Pemberton had hoped would bring more sympathetic terms from the United States.  Surrender was formalized by an old oak tree “made historical by the event.”  In his Personal Memoirs, Grant described the fate of this luckless tree:

“It was but a short time before the last vestige of its body, root and limb had disappeared, the fragments taken as trophies.  Since then the same tree has furnished as many cords of wood, in the shape of trophies, as the ‘True Cross’.”

Marker commemorating the 78th Ohio Volunteer Infantry at Vicksburg

A cenotaph was erected to the memory of William M. Laughlin in Greenwood Cemetery, located in Wheeling, West Virginia.  Wheeling, which sits on the border with Ohio, served as the first capital of West Virginia after it seceded from Virginia and was admitted to the Union in 1863.  

Laughlin family marker (Peace4Me,

William Laughlin's cenotaph (Peace4Me,

The marker, which is worn from time, appears to read:

“To the memory of Lieut. Wm. M. Laughlin, 78th Reg. of Ohio V. Inf., who fell in battle in front of Atlanta, Ga. July 22, 1864, while charging the enemy, his body was not recovered.”

William and Mary Laughlin’s son John was raised by William’s younger brother Samuel and his wife Sydney.  John married in 1884 and had two children, Mary and James.   He died in 1903 and was buried in the Laughlin plot at Greenwood Cemetery. 

We are pleased to, at long last, be able to identify the William identified in his sister Margaret’s note.  In so doing, we can treasure his memory and the Civil War artifact he left behind, as she requested.

Monday, May 16, 2016

Four Chelsea Houses by Elizabeth Piper

On display in the master bedroom of Glessner House Museum are four small etchings depicting houses in the London neighborhood of Chelsea. Just as they did in the Glessners’ time, the four prints, each under four inches tall, hang in a single frame alongside the bed, amongst intimate family portraits, and immediately below a painting of Frances Glessner’s mother.

The four etchings are the work of British artist Elizabeth Piper, an active printmaker between 1892 and 1932. She trained at the Clifton School of Art in Bristol and the Royal College of Art in London, as well as in France and in Belgium. Piper was a member of the Royal West of England Academy and an Associate of the Royal Engravers. She was skilled as both an etcher and a painter, and her works, which she exhibited often, were purchased by both the city of Leeds and Queen Victoria.  The Glessner prints are each signed in the bottom right-hand corner, in pencil, by the artist.

Carlyle's House

A Shift in Collecting
Though records have not been found to confirm exactly where and when the Glessners acquired the four prints, it is highly unlikely that they purchased the works through their regular print dealer, Frederick Keppel. The majority of prints in the Glessner collection were purchased through Keppel, with detailed receipts that document these purchases starting in 1877, and spanning a 14 year period. Frances Glessner also recorded the purchases in her journal, describing the way in which she and her husband John chose the artworks.

The firm of Frederick Keppel & Co. often sent several dozen prints over to the Glessners for review. The Glessners would then sift through the works (regularly with the company of close friends), and through rounds of elimination, they would send back works they did not care for, and purchase the prints they felt they could not live without. At the height of their collecting in the 1880s, they were purchasing as many as 21 prints at once.  Frances Glessner’s journal entries show the great enthusiasm with which they collected prints for a time, and demonstrate the way that the Glessners became community authorities on the medium through their collecting.

Frances Glessner was a member of both the Fortnightly of Chicago and the Chicago Society of Decorative Art, and was asked multiple times to present for both organizations. In the autumn of 1881 she documented her preparations for a paper on etchings and engravings for the Fortnightly. A number of journal entries show the special care she took in presenting the topic, from carefully selecting prints from the Glessner collection and borrowing selected artworks from Frederick Keppel, to reviewing her paper several times over and having it critiqued by others before she presented it. 

Despite the fervor that both John and Frances Glessner showed for the medium, they rarely added to their print collection after the late 1880s, and the additions that they did make show a rather different approach to collecting. Even though there was continued mention of Frederick Keppel in the Glessner journal through 1899, the once frequent entries describing the viewing, selecting and purchasing of numerous prints in a single transaction ceased after December 27, 1891. Instead, the Glessners purchased prints in smaller quantities, and the purchases they made often took place during out of town visits or special exhibitions.

Another key shift seems to have taken place in the Glessner’s collecting habits from the mid-1880s onward; the Glessners added pieces to their collection that represented the contemporary output of the medium. The collection, which remained heavy in prints taken from plates produced by Dutch and French artists of the 17th and 18th centuries, began to include a few works by artists who were contemporaries of the Glessners, with pieces by printmakers such as Albion Harris Bicknell, Henri Guerard, James Abbott McNeill Whistler, and of course, Elizabeth Piper entering the collection. 

Queen's House

Four Chelsea Houses in Chicago
Though Elizabeth Piper worked and exhibited in Great Britain for most of her life, it is known that she was represented at the World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago. A text published by Rand, McNally & Company in 1894 titled, Art and Handicraft in the Woman’s Building of the World’s Columbian Exposition, Chicago 1893, detailed the involvement of women artists at the fair. Within that text is an article titled, “Great Britain- Art,” written by Mrs. E. Crawford, which provides a summary of the types of work by female artists from Great Britain on exhibit at the fair. Crawford notes that some of these women were able to show their works not just in the Woman’s Building, but also in the Palace of Fine Arts, and states, “among the etchings and engravings excellent examples of the work of Mrs. Dale, Miss Ethel Martyn, and Miss Elizabeth Piper may be found. When the exceedingly high standard of the work which Great Britain has sent to Chicago is taken into account, it is a significant and encouraging fact that forty-five women are represented among the British artists exhibiting in the Art Palace.”

Piper showed a print of a woman at a spinning wheel in a carefully documented interior in the Woman’s Building, and a number of architectural etchings in the Palace of Fine Arts. It has been noted that among these architectural prints were etchings not only of prominent cathedrals, but also of the homes of Carlyle, Rosetti, Turner and Eliot-- the same four locations that appear in the signed prints owned by the Glessners.

As noted in their journal, the Glessners were frequently in attendance at the World’s Columbian Exposition, and though it cannot be proved with certainty that the Glessners purchased their four small etchings at the fair, it is certainly a powerful suggestion that they were at least made aware of Piper and her work at this point. With the Glessners’ changing collecting habits, the idea that they may have become interested in a set of prints by a contemporary artist at such an event certainly adds power to that suggestion.

Turner's Last Home

A Shared Interest: Documenting Architecture
Owning the four etchings of Chelsea homes marks another departure from many of the works purchased by the Glessners through Frederick Keppel. The vast majority of the prints that were acquired through Keppel were renderings of important figures, praised for their masterfully engraved hair, delicately depicted skin, and attention to detail in costume and form. The etchings by Piper though, show historically significant architectural sites, pointing to a common interest between the artist and the Glessners.

The Glessners and Elizabeth Piper share a connection beyond that provided by the World’s Columbian Exposition; the two parties are linked through their individual commitments to the preservation of architectural sites. The Glessners showed a commitment to an architectural legacy through their involvement in the construction of their home, their willingness to open their doors to young architects and admirers of the space, and through their written words, which document the house on Prairie Avenue as it was during a key moment in Chicago history.  Elizabeth Piper showed her commitment to architectural preservation through the many prints she created.

Piper spent nearly her entire career documenting significant architectural sites in the United Kingdom, France, and Belgium. She rendered both interiors and exteriors of schoolrooms, libraries, residential buildings, and churches with great attention to detail.  Her prolific production of such series of etchings serves as evidence of her dedication to these places, and in some cases her prints serve as evidence of buildings long forgotten or since dramatically repurposed.

The four prints in the Glessner collection represent well-known homes in Chelsea, the neighborhood in London where Elizabeth Piper was a resident at the time. The homes in the four prints were along Chelsea’s Cheyne Walk, a street that boasted sought after 18th century constructions. The buildings were home to some of the key figures of the Victorian period (the architectural beauty and historical significance of this stretch of homes has continued to draw notable figures to this day, and more recent residents have included members of the Rolling Stones and former Mayor of New York City, Michael Bloomberg). The four prints show the home of Thomas Carlyle, the home of Dante Gabriel Rossetti (known as Queen’s House), the last home of Joseph Mallord William Tuner, and the last home of George Eliot.

The inhabitants of these homes were well known figures during the Glessners’ time. Thomas Carlyle (1795-1881), was a Scottish philosopher, writer, historian, and social commentator. He lived in his Chelsea home with his wife, Jane Welsh Carlyle, a prominent woman of letters, for nearly half a century. Dante Gabriel Rossetti (1828-1882) was an English painter, illustrator, and writer, and the founder of the Pre-Raphaelite movement. He worked closely with figures such as William Morris (whose work can be found throughout Glessner House). Rossetti lived along Cheyne Walk from 1862-1882. He is known to have kept exotic animals at his Chelsea residence, and was famously banned from keeping peacocks, after receiving noise complaints. Joseph Mallord William Turner (1775-1851) was an English Romanticist landscape painter. He was known for his ability to paint light, and his works are now widely admired as important pre-cursors to later styles, such as impressionism. Turner was born in the Covent Garden area of London, but his final home was along Cheyne Walk, where he lived until his death in 1851. George Eliot (1819-1880) is the penname of Mary Ann Evans, who was one of the most celebrated writers of the Victorian era. She lived her last three weeks at her home on Cheyne Walk.

Like Glessner House, many of the homes along Cheyne Walk exist today as historic landmarks, but Piper was depicting these houses at a time when a great boom in development meant huge changes to the Chelsea neighborhood. The picturesque houses along Cheyne Walk had formerly fronted the River Thames, but with the construction of sewer systems and walkways during the late 19th century, the homes found themselves facing the busy Chelsea Embankment. The building of the embankment encouraged further modernizing and rebuilding in the area, which meant the clearing of some older architectural sites, and the building of blocks of flats. Piper’s etchings serve as documents of significant buildings in a key moment when many such homes in London faced an uncertain future.

George Eliot's Last Home

The commitment in Piper’s careful documentation of buildings in Chelsea is mirrored by the pride the Glessners took in preserving their home on Prairie Avenue. Though the reasons for changes in the area that surrounded the Glessner home in Chicago were different from those in Chelsea, and though the two events were separated by several years, Chicago’s Prairie Avenue nonetheless saw very dramatic shifts during the Glessners’ lifetimes. These changes meant the demolition of many of the homes neighboring Glessner House. Aware of the architectural significance of their home, the Glessners were compelled to preserve the legacy of the space. In creating written documentation and commissioning pictorial documentation, the Glessners made efforts to document and protect their home. In the opening pages of The Story of a House, John Glessner wrote that the “description of this home may give some indication of how a man of moderate fortune would live in the latter part of the 19th century and the earlier part of the 20th.” His text, written to his children to preserve an image of the physical space and the events that took place inside it, goes on to detail the family’s connection to architect Henry Hobson Richardson, the building of the house, and the way the home was furnished. Through John Glessner’s written word, and through the photographs of the house that he commissioned from the architectural photography firm, Kaufman and Fabry in 1923, the important site could endure, in the face of the threat of demolition.

The four etchings of Chelsea houses are but a very small fraction of the prized Glessner print collection, but they point to telling connections between the Glessners, as print collectors and passionate supporters of the arts and architecture, and Elizabeth Piper as a printmaker and documenter of the built environment.

Guest author:   Heather MacGregor, an intern at Glessner House Museum, spent four months documenting the Glessners’ collection of engravings and etchings.  She received her MA from Sotheby’s Institute, London, University of Manchester in May 2016.

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Chicago Architecture Awards - 1966

National Design Center

Glessner House Museum celebrated its 50th anniversary on April 16, 2016 with an event entitled “Peace, Love and Preservation.”  As part of the event, an exhibit was unveiled showcasing the year 1966, with topics ranging from movies and television to architecture and preservation.  In this article, the first of several to focus on our founding year, we will showcase five of the buildings which received Distinguished Building Awards from the Chicago Chapter American Institute of Architects.

A total of nine building projects received awards in 1966, including the Jacobus residence by Ralph Anderson and a Glencoe residence designed by Erickson and Stevens, the latter of which received the top honor award.   The firm of McPherson, Warner and Brejcha was recognized for its design of the Flossmoor Public Library, and M. K. Young and Associates received an award for its design of the Oakbrook School.

Old Orchard Country Club

The Old Orchard Country Club in Mount Prospect was designed by the firm of Alper and Alper.  In the February 1966 issue of Golfdom, architect Zalman Y. Alper discussed the design of the club, as well as designing clubs in general.  Regarding the design of clubhouses, Alper noted:

“There are three significant aspects of the architectural design of a clubhouse: function, spatial organization, and the visual aesthetic. . . The visual aesthetic of the clubhouse is an area in which some strange and often ludicrous decisions have been made.  In the past, for various reasons, clubhouses were designed to give the superficial appearance of manor houses and chateaux.  Fortunately this has begun to change and here and there one can see really elegant clubhouses using contemporary materials and designed with reference to site and need – instead of being poor imitations of Elizabethan buildings which even in the original weren’t very comfortable.”

Alper also noted the importance of fire resistance construction, since golf courses are usually located “in areas which are far removed from adequate fire protection.”  He encouraged the use of sprinklers and other “on-the-spot firefighting equipment.”  This made perfect sense, considering the commission for the new club house came about after the previous clubhouse had been completely destroyed by fire. 

The new clubhouse was designed with an independent steel frame with huge panes of glass set in aluminum frames amongst walls of common brick painted white.   Careful attention was given to the interior plan, taking into account function and usage during both peak and off-peak hours.  Alper closed his article by noting:

“The architect can make a significant contribution not only in providing an aesthetic environment but in planning for efficient utilization of space.”

Holy Apostles Greek Orthodox Church

The construction of this church on Wolf Road in Westchester reflected the growing population in the western suburbs of Chicago.  In 1961, the parish, consisting of 280 families, purchased a five acre tract of land and immediately began planning their new building.  Ground was broken in May 1964 and the “Opening of the Doors” was celebrated on June 27, 1965. 

The architect of the building was Edward D. Dart of the firm Loebl, Schlossman, Bennett and Dart.  Classified as Neo-Byzantine in style, the church incorporated traditional forms within a modern interpretation.  As noted in the parish history:

“Mr. Dart accomplished this by extensive study, research, and travel throughout Greece and the Middle East.  The primary use of just three basic materials (concrete, brick and wood) resulted in an impressive and distinctive church building.”

The interior was decorated with significant mosaic icons designed by Sirio Tonelli.

Northern Trust Company Drive-in Banking Facilities

The first drive-up bank window was installed in 1928 for the City Center Bank in Kansas City; however drive-in banking remained a rarity until the 1960s.  C. F. Murphy Associates designed the facilities for Northern Trust Company and the AIA noted:

“In an era of fast food chains and shopping malls, another example of the Automobile’s impact on the built environment.”

National Design Center

The National Design Center was a New York-based company that offered decorators and the general public the opportunity to view a huge array of home furnishings and appliances.  Several buildings in Chicago competed for the Center, which was awarded to the Marina Management Corporation, builders of Marina City, in 1962.  The Center leased 35,000 square feet of space on the first four floors of the Marina City office building.  The architectural firm of Brenner Danforth Rockwell was awarded the commission and a $1.5 million budget to design the interior. 

The Center premiered in March 1964 and was open seven days a week.  Exhibits occupied the first three floors and included not only furnishings and appliances, but fabrics, decorative items, and building products as well.  Since nothing could actually be purchased on site, an information counter, staffed by 12 people, provided information on where products could be purchased and how much they cost.  The fourth floor was occupied by a large auditorium for lectures, meetings and concerts.  A bookshop was later added to the main floor.

Brunswick Building

The only downtown skyscraper to receive an award in 1966 was the Brunswick Building designed by Skidmore, Owings and Merrill at 69 W. Washington Street.  The building was significant both for the individuals who worked on the project as well as its construction.  As noted on the SOM website:

“The Brunswick Building represents an early collaboration between three men synonymous with Chicago’s skyline: Myron Goldsmith, Bruce Graham, and Fazlur Khan.  The Brunswick utilizes a tube-with-a-tube structural system.  Rigid, hollow tubes make up the core and perimeter, bracing the building and allowing column-free interiors.  Variations of this system would later give rise to the John Hancock Center and Sears Tower.”

Carl Condit, in his volume Chicago 1930-1970: Building, Planning and Urban Technology, also noted that the Brunswick was “the highest structure with a load-bearing wall erected up to the time of its completion.”  The AIA Guide to Chicago notes another innovation in the building, “To provide a visually open base, a massive ring girder (behind the thick windowless line at the second floor) transfers and distributes the weight of over five dozen vertical members to the perimeter first-floor columns.”

The building serves as the Cook County Administration Building.

Note:  George Danforth and Carl Condit were founders of Glessner House, and Dan Brenner joined in during the first year.  C. F. Murphy and Associates and Skidmore, Owings and Merrill each contributed $5,000 toward the $35,000 purchase price of the house.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...