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Title: The Architecture of John Wellborn Root and Daniel Hudson Burnham
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Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00100887/00001
 Material Information
Title: The Architecture of John Wellborn Root and Daniel Hudson Burnham
Physical Description: Book
Language: English
Creator: Currais, Jorge L.
Publisher: Jorge L. Currais
Place of Publication: Gainesville, Fla.
Publication Date: March 14, 1975
Copyright Date: 1975
Subject: Historic preservation
John Wellborn Root
Daniel Hudson Burnham
Architecture -- Florida   ( lcsh )
Architecture -- Caribbean Area   ( lcsh )
General Note: Course number: AE682
General Note: Professor Philip Wisley
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Bibliographic ID: UF00100887
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
Holding Location: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.

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Full Text



MARCH 14, 1975




This paper is intended as a brief review of the

work of Daniel Hudson Burnham and John Wellborn Root,

architects of ChicaPo from 1870 to 1912. In order to

1 understand the designs of both of these men, it is

essential that we first take a quick look at their

early lives and training.

John Wellborn Root was born in the town of

Lumpkin, Georgia on January 10, 1850. He was the first

child of Sidney and Mary Root. From the start, he

loved music and drawing; and he was fortunate in

having thp talent for both. At the outbreak of the

Civil War, Root was taken to England by his father's

business partner. During his high school years in

England, J. W. Root's talents flourished He became

an excellent pianist and organist; but his love of

art and drawing won over music.

In June of 1866, he passed the entrance ex-

aminations for Oxford University, but he never enrolled.

Instead, he returned to the United States and enrolled

Slide Numbers

in the University of the City of New York. He

graduated third in his class, with a Bachelor of

Science and Civil Engineering in 1869. During that

same year, he entered the firm of Renwick and Sands

as an unpaid apprentice, but he found little satis-

faction or anything of positive value during his short

stay. In 1870 he worked in the office of J. B. Snook.

At the age of twenty, he became Snook's superintendent

of construction.

Daniel Hudson Burnham was born on September 4,

1846 in Henderson, New York; the sixth of seven'children

of Edwin and Harriet Burnham. His family moved to

Chicago in 1855, where his father opened a wholesale

drue business with William Sears. Daniel was a Door

student in high school and his only talent was in art.

He RraduatPd in 1865. In 1867, he failed both the Yale

and Harvard entrance examinations. He never had any

college training or degree. In 1868, He entered the

firm of Loring and Jenney, but stayed on for only a

few months. He then went on to Nevada in search of gold.

That same year he unsuccessfully ran for the State

Legislature. He returned to Chicago in 1870 and tried

to become a druggist and later, a plate glass sales-



A little background information on what was

happening in Chicapo at this time. The city had seen

Slide Numbers

an incredible growth in twenty years. Businesses of

all kinds were booming.

The architecture of the 1870's was not very im-

pressive. The entire city was composed of three of

four story buildings for commercial use and two story

buildings for residential areas. The construction of

90% of the buildings was wood, and even the very few

buildings that had brick outer shells had wood struc-

tural members.

It was mainly due to this Preat amount of wood

construction in such a confined area, that the Chicago

Fire of 1870 devastated the entire city. The fire raged

for two entire days. Immediately after the fire, temp-

orary wood frame buildings were erected and Chicagoans

started out in the hard task of re-building the city.

Only three buildings of any worth existed in Chicago

before 1870 St. James Church, Eames Residence, by

Richard Upjohn was lost in the fire, and the marshall

Field Residence by Richard M. Hunt.

It was due to this calamity that Chicago was re-

born. From the ashes came an entirely new and expressive

form of architecture. The high cost of lani, the inven-

tion of the elevator, the steel frame, and the fire-

proofing of buildings were all elements that combined

in the creation of the hi-h-rise office building. The

calamity was also responsible for challenging a great

number of architects from all Darts of the nation to

come and rebuild Chicago. Amongst these men was John

Wellborn Root.


In 1872, P. B. Wight of Carter, Drake and Wight,

extended an invitation to Root to come to Chicago. He

came and joined the firm as head draftsman. The job

was not very demanding, but tie experience was in-


It was a few days after Root entered the firm,

that D. H. Burnham became a draftsman for them. From

the first meeting they were friends and soon the pot-

ential of the combination Root's design qualities

and Burnham's persuasive powers and organization -

was apparent to both. On the nineteenth of September,

1873 the partnership of Burnham and Root was formed.

It was later in that same year that the financial crisis

known as the Danic of 1873 occurred.

During these hard, early years, both Burnham

and Root had part-time jobs in other architectural

firms. In addition, Root played the organ for the First

Presbyterian Church. Their first commission was the

F. A. Riddle House on Ashland Avenue, but it led to

very little in terms of success and new commissions.

In fact, after four years of practice,the net profit

of the firm was only two thousand dollars. During these

years, both partners were very interested in archi-

tectural history and spent much of their time in studying

and discussing the "styles". Root always leaned to-

wards the romantic styles, while Burnham liked classical

architecture. Root was especially impressed with H. H.

Slide Numbers

Richardson's Marshall Field Warehouse and Richardsonian

Romanticism in general. But Root was never a "style"

follower, as can be seen by some of his ideas on archi-


"Periods and styles are all well enough,
but you may be sure that whenever in the
world there was a period or style of archi-
tecture worth preserving, its inner spirit
was so closely fitted to the age wherein
it flourished, that the style could not be
fully preserved, either by people who immed-
iately succeeded it, or by us after many years.

On the same buoject of styles:

"A style has never been made by copying
with the loving care of a ary-as-dust some
proceeding style. Styles grow by the care-
iul study of all conditions which lie about
each architectural problem, and thus while
each will have its distinct differentiation
from all others, Droad influences of climate,
of national habits and institutions will in
time create the type and this 1i Lne only
styie worth considering. Une can never succeed
in erecting tor our complex purposes a house
which is a perfect specimen of a given style,
unless Lne client is willing to undergo
some physical discomfort Lo further this end,"

When asked if he ever found any details or designs in

books, Root answered in this fashion:

"Nothing found in a book will add a feather's
weight to a really good design if iu be
bodily transferred, or indeed transferred
with anything of literal translation." 3

Root loved to design ouildinzs of beauty, He knew when

to ornament a building and when to let a plain wall


"In a drawing every plain surface or mould-

Slide Numbers

ing seeris much less interest than when
built or cut. Nature steps in here, and
nature's uecoratiuns of sunshine and shadow,
her warm glow of ever beautiful colors,
varied and enriched by rain and wind, are
always lovely, while our decorations often
fall short oi loveliness... If, however, the
mind is surcharged with brilliant inspirations,
consistent, truthful, poetic, free rein may
be given to it. Loss of siiiplicity does not
follow when a design is enriched; it follows
only when the u;esgn is falsely enriched."*

Burnham was an administrative genius. He created

opportunities for ine designer, he got the jobs, and

handled the clients. He was in charge of handling the

office workers he hired and fire them, Burnham

negotiated with the contractors and supervised the jobs.

But more important, he was the arriving force behind

Root. Root haa little ambition, while Burnham wanted

their irrm to be the leader in the profession. He had

the initiative, the enthusiasm, and the strength of will.

In the designing aspects, Burnham was the stimulus

and check of Root's design. Many times Root needed a

"hint" before he could design and almost always burnnam

supplied it. He was very skillful in laying out buildings.

He would design three or four floor plans and ground

plans. Then both partners would go over them and decide

which was nest. Burnham was also an excellent critic,

and Root took him seriously enough to change many of

his design elements due to his comments.

On all the buildings of Burnham ana Root, the

latter was the designer; but burnnam played an impor-

tant part in uhe designing of many buildings including:

The Monadnock, Tre Insurance Exchange, The Woman's

Temple, Tre Muntezuma Hotel, and St. Gabriel's Churcn.

Slide Numbers All of the residences were designed by Root. The

external form's of their coiiiercial structures reflect

Root's idea of the demand of sunc a structure:

"In Chicagu, all conditions climatic,
atmospheric, commercial, and social; de-
mand for the external aspect of a building,
the simplest and most straight-forward
expression." 5

It was the creation of these high-rise commercial

structures that made Burnham and Root famous. Three

times in their history they designed the highest struc-

ture in the world. Alung with builaings by Adler and

Sullivan, and H. H. Richardson, they imde the birth of

a new architecture iree from the trammels of precedent.

3 THE 1870's

Tne only important commission the firm received

at this time was the John Sherman Resiuence. Built on

a lot with a seventy-five foot front, at the corner of

21st street and Prairie Avenue, this residence was re-

garded by Louis Sullivan as one of the best designed

houses in Chicago, possessing : "A certain allure or

style indicating personality,"'b It shows, in an earlier

form, the entrance porch which became an important ele-

ment in later designs. This porch is essential to the

Chicago dwelling, as it protects in-comers from the

inclement weather. The high pitch of the roof was un-

ique for a residence of that time. The colors of the

materials used in the construction of the house were,

due to the influence of Ruskin's observations; that

color in nature existed independently of form.

Slide Numbers

He used a variety of hues from warm to cold red brick,

huff bandstont, dark olue granite, and black slate,

alone with red and buff terra-cotta chimney tops.

In plan, the house has some minor flaws: the

hallway that leads to the dining room is too long, the

rooms are too compartmented, and the stairs are on a

minor and delayed, if not hidden, axis. Still, one good

thing came out of this commission and that was D. H.

Burnhan's marriage to sherian's daughter. The house

also gave the firm recognition and new commissions.

During the lo70's Burnham and Root played no

role in commercial architecture. In fact, architects

in Chicago found little direction until uhe end of this

decade. With the arrival of W. L. B. Jenney's Leiter

Building in 1879, a new rationalism arrived. An emphasis

on structure ana straight-firwaru design emerged, lacrgte

influenced by tne stuuy ou mediaeval, Rotnic arcrlltecttre

and the works of Viollet le Duc.

A BEGINNING 1880-1885

Two important clients enter the scene and the

lives of Burnham and Root Owen Aldis and William E.

Hale. In later years, Louis Sullivan was to say that

Aldis and Hale were responsible for the creation of

the modern office building. In 1880, it was Owen Aldis,

a young lawyer, who brought the firm the commission

for the Grannis Block. He was hired by the owner, Peter


The Grannis Building was a six story structure

Slide Numbers


with most of the qualities of the new, rational ar-

chitecture.Based on a "Piano Mobile" arrangement, the

building had two stories of prime commercial space, a

high banking story above a row of store fronts. With

the advanced portion of the central bay, Root broke

the flow of the piers and spandrels. The ornamentation

and the colonnettes point to Root's acquaintance with

the teachings of Viollet le Duc. The color all

red brick matched exactly with red terra-cotta was

used because its the least injured by the accretions

of smoke. The materials were far superior in fire re-

sistance than most stone. But fire claimed the building,

and alonp with it most of the firms Plans and documents

since their office was in the Grannis Block. The columns,

which had been fireproofed with two and a half inches

terra-cotta, were the only ones that survived. All other

members were not fireproofed. The cause of the fire was

excessive friction of the elevator counterweighs against

the wooden guides.

Another important commission came in 18882. The

Sidney Kent Residence. It was more "French Renaissance"

in feelinR than any other work by Root. It had a delicate

Proportion and facades with bas-relief ornaments in

terra-cotta. Even though the firm was getting larger

commissions, Root would not delegate any residence

designing to the office staff. These clients are what

he considered ideal due to "a large openness and unbiased

attitude of mind".1

Slide Numbers The Art Institute of Chicago was also built in

1882. In this design, the influence of "Richardsonian

Romanesque" is fully evident. Built on a moderate size
lot with an eighty foot front on Michigan Avenue, the

HE-P for rental space and galleries forced Root to go to a

four story building. The exterior facade has three

horizontal divisions lower story with entrance, two

stories above it with three groups of windows each,

surmounted by round arches, and final" with a high

gable in front and four dormers on the north facade.

The materials used, hewn brown stone and red sandstone,

added to the romanesque spirit. Root added the tourettes

at the corners for solidity and a lasting feeling.


In 1882, Peter Brooks again approached Burnham

and Root for a commercial structure. The result of this

venture was the Montauk Block the first building to

be called a skyscraper. It was a ten story building

with a front of ninety feet and a depth of only seventy

feet. The plan was probably cramped. When the building

was completed, Root realized that the walls seemed to

"come out" at the top due to the height. So in all his

tall building designs afterwards, he receded the walls

slightly as the structure went up. The two elevations

were of red brick, but Root varied the lintels with

bits of terra-cotta and let the sills take command of

the walls. In fact, the sills are so close to the win-

dow lintels that ohe has no idea where the floor levels

might be. The front elevation was composed of eight

Slide Numbers


bays in which three of them advanced, displacing the

portal from the center. Root was unhappy with the design

of the facade, but was cramped by the lot.

More important than the design, however, were

the structural innovations in the building. First, all

structural members were fireproofed by sheathing them

with hollow tile. This use of tile, instead of brick

or concrete for fire resistance, reduced the dead weight

from seventy pounds per square foot to thirty pounds

per square foot. In Chicago, due to the marshland terrain,

the loads were crucial. It was this marshland terrain

that forced Root into using the second and more impor-

tant structural innovation. Previous to and including

the Montauk Building, foundations were created by using

isolated piers of large cut stones piled into a pryamid.

In large buildings the footings were so large, that

they would protrude into the basement. The piers could

not be set lower than than twelve or fifteen feet be-

low the ground, because below that point,the soil is a

soft blue clay not suited to carry loads. In one part

of the Montauk Block, the load was so great that the

stone pyramid might have reached the first story. For

this pier, Root conceived a special footing of criss-

crossed steel rails surrounded with cement. The footing

was shallower and lighter than the stone pyramids and

took less time to construct. In 188# then the Insurance

Exchange was constructed, Root went back to the old

foundation type and found that it severely obstructed

the basement again. From then on the steel rail and con-

crete footings were used in all their large buildings.


The Insurance Exchange Building 1884

9 A ten story structure, composed of five archi-

tectural divisions the lowest of gray stone and all

others in red brick with temperate use of ornament

in carved and moulded brick and terra-cotta. It was

built on a lot of one hundred and sixty-five feet by

sixty feet. The main facade has a large entrance arch

flanked by round tourettes which begin with the top of

the arch. These tourettes echoe the ones found at the

front corners of the building, which empasize the sky-

line. The building has a strong, horizontal accentua-

tion, dignity and repose. Another emphasis occurs on

the central arch above the balcony at the fifth story.

Root chooses to break the march of window lintels by

displacing three of them to the story above. It is the

design refinement of Root, in his commercial buildings,

which made them great architecture. In plan, Root made

use of an external light court at the west facade and

an oriel stair tower climbing that wall.

The Rialto Building 1885

10 The plans for the Rialto were begun in 1883 and

when the building was completed in 1885,it was the

largest building Burnham and Root had designed. In it

was the first full scale use of the steel rail cement

foundation. It was erected on a large lot, one hundred

and seventy-five feet by one hundred and fifty seven

feet and one that allowed Burnham and Root to open the

Slide Numbets

building into an "H-plan" so that all four hundred

office suites had light and ventilation. The two tall

pavillions are separated by a recessed skylight court

on both the east and the west facades. The plan is far

superior to the elevations, where Root tried a strong

vertical line massing by carrying his piers striaght

through past his cornice into terminals. This cluttered

the skyline too much. Another bad effect was the stepping

back of the piers, as if they were buttresses and

finishing them with the brackets under the ponderous


During the last months of 1885, the firm was busy

working on three more large office buildings The

Commerce Building, The Phenix Building, and The Rookery.

Out of these, the latter two are worth mentioning.

The Phenix Building 188561888

The Phenix Building was originally an eleven story

building with the two story basement made of brown

stone and the rest of red brick with terra-cotta orna-

mentation. The front facade was two hundred and sixteen

feet long and fronted Jackson street. It became a prom-

inent building of Chicago. The elevations, however, had

several flaws. Most of the projections were unpleasant

and non-sensical. Like the Oriels, which occur at an

odd height and are too ornate. The arches occur at a

meaningless height. Finally, he crowned the entrance

bay with a huge terra-cotta Phoenix.

Slide Numbers


The interior handling on the other hand, is

masterful. He re-iterates the entrance arch in the

vestibule and creates a vista through plate glass. This

vestibule is enhanced by Proto-Art Nouveau light fix-

tures. The ninth floor was one large room made to acc-

omodate the one hundred clerical workers of the insur-

ance company. In the rear wall he uses the first complete

skeleton wall with enameled brick on the outside and

hollow tile on the inside. In Jenney's Home Insurance

Building, the piers of brick were built entirely around

the cast-iron columns. There was no separate and indep-

endent lining on the inside.

The Rookery 1885-1888

The Rookery, is regarded by many to be Root's

best design. He had a good lot to work with square;

so it gave Root the advantage of depth in design. It

was designed for Owen Aldis and Peter Brooks. The name

"Rookery" comes from an unsavory and shabby temporary

City Hall that previously occupied the sigit. The name

stuck to the new building and from it Root took much

of the spirit of the building.

The building was eleven stories high, made in

brown brick with a massive colonade of red granite in

the lower stories. The columns were thinner than the

piers above them. On the west wall, the five stories

above the entrance arch bowed out. The too one is

finished in a balcony, slung out between two flanking

tourettes. This central bay has three times the width

of the others, On the south and the east walls, Root

Slide Numbers

dissolved the wall into a translucent membrane of

plate glass, and carried the masonry above the third

floor on girders supported by double cast-iron columns.

On the north wall, the entrance bay was off axis and

Root imposed symmetry by adding a matching. bay which

was meaningless. A large proportion of the walls was

-iven to the window openings.

The floor plan was a simple quadrangle with a

large internal court and two tiers of offices on either

side. In 1888 when the building was finished, Burnham

and Root took their offices to the south-east corner

of the eleventh floor. An Oriel stair projected ten

feet into the court space and then rose high above the

court. It was housed in ca very accurate form.

In the Rookery, Root created passages from dark-

ness to light from the massive outer wall into the

vaulted interior court; and he carried one Structural

system (glass and iron) into another (masonry). The

west entrance was especially dark and mysterious, then

it opened into a white marble and gold vestibule. The

change in space, color, and light was impressive. The

interior court suggests countless roosts an aviary -

somethinp which Root probably derived from the"Rookery?

The wall of the court was an independent skeleton -

its basic purpose was to allow the maximum amount Of

light to the inner tiers of offices. The court was the

heart of the building. The stairs activated the nearly

square court, that ieuld have been nut&eo to static LightT

was of the essence. On the opposite side of the court,

Root cantilevered a double flight of stairs into the

Slide Numbers space of the court; all elevators were sheathed in

plate glass. Through a constant interplay of dualities

of solid and void, structure and space, opacity and

transparency, darkness and light Root achieved a

dynamic balance.

The Monadnock Block 1884-1891

19 In 1884, Aldis and Brooks again commissioned

Burnham and Root to design and build the Monadnock

Block. By 1885, Root was already working on the design

and was already designing in Egyptian Style. The

building was not goinp to be erected until a much later

date but in 1889, a proposition for a new ordnance to

restrict the height of commercial structures to the

width of the street facade, prompted Aldis and Brooks

to build. On June third of the same year, the commissioner

allowed the sixteen story height of the proposed

building. Mr. Aldis had urged Root for a simple, orna-

ment free design and the Egyptian Pylon, an idea by

Burnham, was what inspired him to design the Monadnock.

The narrow lot (198' x 66') and the great height (207')

turned Root's head to ancient egyptian sources. He

thought of Chicago much like Egypt built out of a

20 marshy soil and in that marsh, the common plant was

a wild onion, a typical compound-umbel plant, like the

papyrus. It was the last solid masonry walled structure

of this size to be erected in Chicago.

Originally, the building was to have been built

of brick grading from dark brown at bottom to a yellow

at top. The bays along Dearborn and Federal streets

Slide Numbers



were twenty feet wide with four windows. On Jackson

street, they were fifteen feet wide with only three

windows. Root used ashlar at the three entrances and

as the surrounds for the store fronts on Jackson street.

This gives the feeling of a substantial and stable base,

further accentuated by its two story height. The round-

ness of all edges and all contouring was achieved by

shaped bricks laid in horizontal beds. Root abandoned

all ornamentation, but contoured the Block by absorbing

ornament: the ornament, although latent, thus informed

the entity itself,

The floor plan was simple and straight-forward,

Due to the narrowness of the lot, every office had win-

dows to the streets and all paths of communication were

disposed along the center of the building.

The profiling of Jackson street shows the amount

of refinement of lines that creates the sweep from the

base to the slope of the cornice:

The batter bean at sill level of the second story

and through a ten foot rise of wall swept inward fifteen

inches (a to b). To better receive and to weight the

beginnings of the Drojected bays (b); the second and

third stories were each one foot higher than the first.

As the eye moved upward it could readily detect that

the cove of the cornice (d) which was carried through

six feet eight inches of wall and which flared two feet

from the plane, represented an inversion of the curved

second story. The Drojecting bays were halted nineteen

and a half feet below the coping by smaller cove cor-

nices (c) which flared four feet from the plane

Slide Numbers in responding to the convex shape at the base of

each bay (b). Shaped as a quarter-ellipse, the cele-

brated chamfer of the angles began at the third floor

level, gradually cutting the pier ever more broadly

until attaining a width of three inches at the cooing


This profile is much like a papyrus stem and bud

derived Egyptian column. This characteristic is also

reflected in the projecting bays, their bases being

rounded when seen in profile at both sides of the block
or in elevation. The staircase was adapted from the

Rookery and did not fit into the sources of the Monad-

nock Building.

In its refinement and nobility the Monadnock re-

mains without peer in the history of the high office

buildings in Chicago. It was the exact visual metaphor

of the vitality of the city. Root made it rise from

the soil as if it were a plant. "The best solution will

always be the simplest, and its full growth will follow

with a directness and ease which suggests the budding

of a flower." 8

During the year of 1890, Burnham and Root were

involved in three major office buildings along with

the added burden of the World's Columbian Exposition

and their duties to the A. I. A. The three buildings,

however, are all important and well worth the study.

The Woman's Temple 1890-1891

24 The headquarters for the woman's Christian Temper-
ance Union was a twelve story, powerfully massed structure

Slide Numbers

having a two story granite basement and a superstructure

of red brick and ornamentation with terra-cotta, The

building was designed to be a memorial to woman's

aspirations and yet suitable as a fine office building.

But, it does not fit into the evolution of the office

building, it retrogrades massive piers of masonry
carry the structure except at certain points. Somelthese

are as large as four feet and two inches by seven feet

and one inch.

The plan is the stunted H plan that Burnham and

Root used before in the Rialto Building. The two main

pavillions are connected by an entrance court with a

skylight that is closed in the west end by the ele-

vators. The first floor contained an auditorium for

seven hundred people.

The elevation is that of a colossal chateau, very

symmetrical and massive. The rounded corners express

attitude of christian aggressiveness and the turrets

thrusting upwards express the aspirations of the Woman's

Union. The facade has three architectural divisions.

The first is the two story basement of granite, which

includes the main entrance arch. The pavillions then

develop round fenestrated towers at the angles. Be-

tween them, groups of windows are arched under the

cornice with terra-cotta ornaments. The third division

consists of one story uniformly pierced by low arched

windows, supporting a low attic story. The towers are

crowned with conical roofs, and the building is topped

with a steep gabled roof with dormers.

Slide Numbers The Masonic Temple 1890-1891

25 The building for the Masonic Order of Chicag6

was the largest structure to be built by Burnham and

Root, and the tallest building in the world. It rose

to an unpriecednted height of twenty stories three

hundred and two feet to the top of thl -z'
main front was one hundred and sixty-nine feet and the

side was one hundred and thirteen feet. All sides of

the building were finished.

The facade is composed of three stories of walled

granite and all others of gray pressed brick. The large

entrance arch was reflected by the arcade at the second

story level and at the eighteenth floor level. Above

the entrance arch, a twenty-five ton box girder relived

the arch of all loads. The building elevated out of

true proportion to the base, Root added two stories

because he felt the altitude was not proportioned to

the three story base. The attic was done in Queen

Anne style to represent the presence of the Masonic


26 The floor plan is attributed to Daniel Burnham.

It is basically a squared "c", closed at the east by

an arc of elevators similar to those of the Woman's

Temple. Floors four through ten in the building were

designed as "shopping lanes in the sky" with names in-

stead of numbers. The idea failed aftef three years.

Floors eleven through sixteen were used for office space

and from the sixteenth to the twentieth floor were the

Masonic Headquarters. The roof housed a summer garden

Slide Numbers and an observatory.

27 The interior court was an interior light well

twenty stories high. It was an extraordinary space

with balustrades of tracery, columns sheathed in ala-

baster, floors and soffits of marble, and transparent

elevator cages looking into the courtyard.

The Mills Building 1890-1892

28 In the summer of 1890, Darius Ogden Mills de-

cided to build a large office building in San Francisco.

Through Aldis, Burnham and Root got the commission on

July 5, 1890. The site was one hundred and sixty feet

by one hundred and thirty-seven feet. The San Francisco

atmosphere permitted the use of light colors and Root

used a light creamed colored marble at the lower stories

and a cream brick, cut and moulded for the superstruc-

ture. The structural system was of steel frame anchored

to masonry piers. The metal frame was buttressed to

resist earthquakes.

The elevations were sedate and rhythmically bal-

anced. Three stone stories formed the lowest archi-

tectural division. These were pierced by oblong win-

dows and divided by strong horizontal lines. The wide

entrance arch, two stories high, opened to a vestibule

similar to the Rookery's west entrance. On top of this

three story base rise the piers, the corner ones being

wider than all others. These end in an arcade at the

eighth floor and above these another fenestrated story

with profuse decoration is the third architectural


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The plan was similar to the Rookery,a quadrangular

plan with an interior court with a skylight for light

and dynamic soace. The skylight was gold leafed and

full of Root's organic ornamentation. All interior

ornamentation was white and gold, with tra&ery balus-

trades and organic ornaments,


St. Gabriel's Church 1886

St. Gabriel's Church is a simple design, very

sympathetic to the oraerie. Its made of warm brown

brick shading from red to almost black. The main body

of the church is low and has a gabled roof. The plan

is a simple cross. Over the main entrance, Root had

designed a cross and a rose window which were never

completed. In the facade of the transept, Root grouped

the three windows so they would echo the entrance

openings. The broad gable over the main facade springs

from the tower which is mod&ldd with force. It's square

with round tourettes at the angles ending in conical

roofs, the one at the corner of the building being


The interior is composed of seven bays with an

arcade springing from slender granite columns. It had

a large choir, an arched colonnade in the apse for

background and excellent acoustics,

Montezuma Hotel, Las Vegas 1885

This building is a unique, long, low building

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which seems to organically grow out of the rocks from

which its wide projecting roof slants upward. It had

three hundred guest rooms and a dining room for five

hundred. The mass of the building turns the corner

obliquely and settles into the foothills. A verandah

is carried along the longer facade and defines the pod-

ium. The roof line above the porch reflects the moun-

tains and is very informal in the relation of gables,

dormers and window openings.

The Church of the Covenant 1887

In the design for the Church of the Covenant,

Boot found a byzantine inspiration. The projected

tower was never realized, which is good since it was

slightly over-scaled. Great amounts of masonry were

used for its construction.

The interior contained an auditorium for one

thousand five hundred people. This was a handsome space,

rhythmically defined by an arcaded balcony and lit by

two levels of arcaded window openings.

Davidson Theater, Milwaukee 1887

no slide

The only theater designed by Burnham and Root.

It was inside a hotel building and was not a very hand-

some design. Stubby columns defined the ground story

bays, where windows folded outwards at an obtuse angle.

The overall detailing was rude, the beltcourses con-

fused the wall. The interior had thin, cast-iron columns

supporting two balconies and similar in arrangement

to the Church of the Covenant. A fire on April 9, 1894

left little of the interior.

First Illinois Regimental Armory, Chicago 1889

36 The building came from French mediaeval architec-

tural sources. The machicolated parapet and rifle scots

were not for decoration, but for enfilading sixteenth

street and Michigan Avenue during civil disturbances,

A high base of battered stone gave way to an upper

wall of pressed brick. The walls were seventy-five feet

high and the building was one hundred and sixty-three

by one hundred and seventy-two feet.

37 Since the small window openings were provided

for inpenetrability, the light was drastically reduced.

Root added a large internal light court of fifty feet

by one hundred and five feet. From large iron roof

trusses he suspended the gallery overlooking the drill

space and the second story which contained the twelve

company rooms, the kitchen, banquet hall, library, and

officer's rooms. The width of the entrance was more

than forty feet enough for sixteen men marching a-



Residence for Reginald De Koven 1888

38 This narrow lot presented a problem in planning

the floor plans. The facade measured only twenty-four

feet, but the house had a depth of seventy-one feet.

He developed an inviting plan with a living room twenty-

three feet square with a broad fire-place and inglenooks,

and a dining room twenty-five feet long with another

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fire-place and a segmental oy to the west. The dining

room was at a higher level than the living room. An

open, skylighted stairwell enhanced the space between

the two rooms.

The exterior facade was excessive Tudor in detail,

graceful to proportions and rich in color. He used a

reddish brown brick roughly faced in the first story

and smooth above. A large copper bay at the second to

third stories of the townhouse lead to a steep gable

at the fourth level, projecting from the sloping roof.

Residence for V. C. Turner 1887

The V. C. Turner House was Romanesque in style,

It was built of a granite-like gray stone. The large

walls were punctured by clusters of tiny square openings.

The entrance was at the side with a round tower ending

in a conical roof at the left of the front. At the lower

right is a hexagonal bay with a balcony above. A low

stone balcony carries the basement wall out of line

level with the tower and bay. The design was in-

coherent to a degree-scattering of windows without

rhythm, diminishing of the unifying force of the

cornice, and the forcing on the tile roof giant wall

dormers shaded like rabbit ears.

Residence for E.H. Valentine 1889

This house was the only design by J. W. Root

with a strong colonial feeling, but it followed no

colonial style. It was a large house with a basement,

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two stories and an additional story of gables and

dormers projecting from two steep roofs that cross

each other. The colors gave a rich tone to the structure

- warm red and brown brick with terra-cotta sillcourses

and window surrounds, the porch and broad beltcourse

above the basement were of red sandstone, the roof was

purple slate. The sharp plane walls clearly demarcated

the basement, and frontalitv is emphasized by round

columns and the projections and recessions of the en-

trance bay. A triple archway above a porch defined the

entrance. The plain wall is enhanced by the assignment

of single window openings.

Residence of William J. Goudy 1890

This residence designed in the french, chateaux

style was intended as Root's own residence. It was con-

structed of gray cut stone with a gray slate hipped-

roof. A wide, eliptically arched porch near the center

of the longer facade emphasized the entrance. In the

narrower facade the corners are curved and small gable

windows project from roof above cornice. The silhouette

remained chateauesque, but pilaters and stringcourses

are stripped away, openings of windows are pulled a-

part from static clusters and rustication of the base-

ment is forsaken. The walls are continuous and smooth,

and curved plate glass is utilized in the corner win-



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On February 1890, the House of Representatives

passed a bill that located the fair in Chicago. It

became a law in April of that same year. Hoot saw in

the fair an opportunity for lasting public improve-

ment in the heart of Chicago. By August 21st, F. Law

Olmsted was appointed consulting landscape architect

and Root was made the consulting architect. The appoint-

ment was amended on September ninth, to include Burnham.

A lonp debate finally located the fair at Jackson

Park. Four men were haevily involved in the planning

of the fair Root, Burnham, Olmsted, and Codman, the

young french landscape architect and partner of Olmsted.

Each had a talent that was used in the plan:

Root swift inventiveness of design and

vigorous imagination.

Olmsted genius for the evolution of out-

door effects of beauty.

Burnham force, magnetism, good taste,

and judgement of beauty.

Codman a closer academic training and

dreamy spaciousness of his mind.

The main conception of the ground plans was Hoot's.

Codman came up with the idea of formalizing a great

central court and the basin. Olmsted organized the im-

portant buildings at the head of the court. By Sept-

ember tenth, Root's plan showed the germ of the final

arrangement. The lagoons were inevitable in Jackson

Park, and the lake front park was to be used as a

gateway to the main park. By December eighth, 1890,

Burnham and Root had decided that their firm was not

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goins to design any of t-e Fair's buildings. Burnham

as director of constructions chose ten firms five

from Chicago and five from other cities to design

the buildings. The firms were as follows:

Peabody and Stearns Boston
VanBrunt and Howe Kansas City
R. M. Hunt New York
George B. Post New York
McKim, Mead, and White New York
Adler and Sullivan Chicago
W. Le Baron Jenney Chicago
S. S. Beman Chicago
Henry Ives Cobb Chicago
Burlington and Whitehouse-- Chicago

The first meeting for all the architects was

planned for January 1891. On January 10, 1891, Root

invited some friends of his, over to his house in Astor

Place for five o'clock tea. When they were leaving, he

went out into the cold to see them to their carriages.

The next morning he came down eith a cold. Three days

later, on January 15, 1891, John Wellborn Root died in

his home. According to his sister, who was present at

the time, he heard music and called it the loveliest

he had heard, and at the same time he was running his

hands through the air as if Dlaying a keyboard. He

them lay back and died. Before he died, he knew in

which direction the fair was going due to the large

influence of the Beaux-arts in all of the out-of-town

architects. Richard M. Hunt was also ill and unable

to attend the first meeting.

On February, 1891, the auxiliary lake front park

was abandoned and all the fair was moved into Jackson

Park. The final ground plans of March 1893, were very

much like the original plan proposed by Root, Root's

sketches for the srt building and the canal portal

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were the last designs of his life. In them one can

see that even he was swayed toward classicism in the

design of such a grandiose affair as the World's

Columbian Exposition.

Criticism abounded, however, especially from the

Chicago school:

VanBrunt, in 1892, stated that if visitors want

to see the true expression of American architecture,

they should not find it at the fair, but in or near

larger cities.

Adler stated that such abuse of the classic would

only hasten its end.

Louis Sullivan said that form could be developed

organically from simple geometric and warned that Amer-

icans were not Greeks, and that any attempt at such

substitution was clear perversion.

John Wellborn Root felt structure and felt space.

He used materials for their intrinsic values, seeking

for each the manifestation of its special strength and

beauty. In all his commercial buildings, simplicity,

frankness, strong proportions, and mighty lines express

the power of modern times.

D. H. BURNHAM & CO. 1893

At the close of the fair, the firm of D.H.

Burnham & Co. was founded. In it, D.H. Burnham

took on three new partners- Charles Atwood, who

became the head designer; Ernest R. Graham, super-

visor and control of employees; and E.C. Shankland,

in charge of specifications and construction. Of

the profits made by the firm, Atwood received 27%,

Graham & Shankland 10% each, and Burnham the re-

maining 53%.

Charles Atwood was responsible for all the

architectural details not designed by the ten

firms at the World's Fair. Amongst these were

the forestry building, the dairy building, the

music hall, the casino, the peristyle and all the

bridges, terraces and approaches. But his main

triumph was in the art building. Atwood, however,

was accused of plagarizing a design by a Frenchman

named Bevard, who won the Grand Prix in 1867 for a

Palace of Fine Arts. From that design, Atwood took

the flanking colonnades, the obelisks, the rostral

columns and the profuse statuary. His architec-

ture was chaste and scholarly, and he admitted that

he designed from details of books and constantly

referred to measurements made by scholars. In fact,

for the frieze of his Fine Arts Building,

Slide Number

Slide Numbers he sent a man to Europe to make a plaster cast

of the erectheum so that his design would be exact.

But tragedy fell on the firm again, as Atwood

was very sick for two years and finally was forced

by the illness to leave the firm on December 10,

1895. He died later on that month at the age of 16.

It was after this that Burnham's design quailities

emerge. Root's design capabilities overwhelmed

Burnham, and he did little but give hints and critiques

while Root was alive. Atwood, on the other hand,

lacked the qualities for success in his commer-

cial building design. This made Burnham aware

of his own talents. Finally the introduction to

classical designs probably awoke the love for this

type of architecture that had been dormant before.

It was Atwood who introduced him to classic revival,

and after his death, Burnham continued designing

in the same style for most of his commissions

until his death in 1912.

The Office Buildings of D.H. Burnham & Co. 1893-1910

In many of the later office buildings of D.

H. Burnham & Co., the gist of the scheme of the

rookery the ample interior light court glazed

above the second floor and providing a dominant

central feature on the ground floor, has been

reproduced on a muSh more extensive saale.

Slide Numbers As the company grew larger, greater commissions

from all over the United States began to come in.

The firm's Architecture went through an impor-

tant change; partly due to the general Classic

Revival which began to appear for the first time

in the west.

The Reliance Building. 1890-1894

The story concerning the designing of the

building goes back to 1890 when Mr. William E.

Hale decided to erect a sixteen story building

at the corner of Washington and State streets. The

lot was small only 85' X 56'. The unique thing

about the lot was that it contained a five story

building of masonry that had two separate leases-

one for the basement and first floor which ex-

Dired in 1890, and one for the remaining upper

floors which did not expire until May 1, 1894.

The commission went to Burnham & Root and

plans were made in 1890 for a sixteen story

building. The foundation and the ground story of

the new structure were erected while the upper

stories of the original building were held up by

screws. On viewing the ground story, we can get a

clear idea of what J.W. Root had designed, for the

original plans above the first floor underwent

radical changes by Mr. Atwood.

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The exterior of the building was of steel

frame construction, and rose at an unprecedented

speed in two weeks the upper eight stories and

the attic were built. It is obvious, by an ins-

pection of the first floor that Root had inten-

ded to use a skeleton construction with exten-

sive use of glass. The precedent to this design

was Holabird & Roche's Tacoma Building, a radical

effort that reduced greatly the load upon the soil.

The building was completed in 1889. Root had in-

tended to sheath the columns in red Scotch granite.

Instead, Charles Atwood conceived the idea of using

cream-white enameled terra-cotta, which enhanced

with a "light & airy" feeling and allowed ease in

cleaning. Atwood, unfortunately indulged in "French

Gothic" decor, which was definetly not Root's in-

tended design.

Another flaw in Atwood's modifications is seen

in the plans. It is very doubtful that Root would

have doubled the windows of the bays and left the

column only three feet behind the center glass panel'

the space is rendered useless. Furthermore, Root

wanted to accentuate the structural columns as he

does on the ground floor; so either the bays were

not meant to exist; or, more likely, they were de-

siened as single-window bays.

The basement plan is definetly Root's

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ingenious mind at work. He puts the basement

into full commercial use. The loss of space of the

west bays to the boiler rooms is compensated by

extended the floor space twenty feet past the east

lot line under the sidewalk. The same is done

to the w;ter closets. Finally Root paved the side-

walks over these two spaces with prismatic lights

to allow additional light into the usually dark

and dingy basement.

A closed study of the ground story shows Root's

intention of a steel and glass structure with

little ornamentation on the structural members

casing of granite. The glass tower is one of the

few buildings of Burnham and Root that remain in

existence today. The thin roof slab, the "Chicago"

windows and the enhancement of Atwood's light and

pure terra-cotta, along with the also pure

proportions make it a symbol of the spirit of the

Chicago school. As A.N. diebori said; "The Reliance

Building was the swan song to the old traditions

based on independence of design for which were noted

the work of Burnham & Root. It stands today a

symbol of our inconsistency and ample proof that

no sooner do we approach a common way of working

than the promise of a truly expressive style cf

American architecture is broken by the capricious

introduction of a new fashion".q

The Old Marshall Field & Co. Annex, 1894

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In contrast to the light and airy design of

the Reliance Building, the"Annex" is a design

which stimulates a structure of solid masonry.

It's rich in Renaissance details, in it's arches

and cornice, It's a nine story high building with

thre- architectural divisions of three stories

each, carefully accentuate by different materials

and colors. Its architectural value is really of

minor significance, siice the designer has no need

to cover the frame in an effort to imitate stone.

But the result is a design which possesses

distinction through the careful handling of masses

and scale. It's aleo a fore-runner of the archi-

tectural styles favored by Burnham after his

partner's death.

The Illinois Trust & Savings Bank, 1896

Located on the northeast corner of Jackson

and Casale, this is an example of, not an office

building, but a small bank. In this design, Burn-

ham tries to present solidity, especially through

the strong corners of the structure; whose mass

add to the effectiveness of the colonnade. The

colonnade is raised on a platform which puts empha-

sis on the columns and unites the design. The

platform, strong corners and simple Corinthian

collonnade give the two story building a "monument


Slide Number The plan is a simple large square plan with a

central banking room over which is a skylight. The

offices are distributed on both stories facing the

street. This typical plan first used by Root in

the Rookery, is utilized by Burnham & Co. for many

of their buildings.

The Merchant's Loan & Trust Building- 1900

52 In this office building, Burnham neither denies

the expression of the structural cage, as in the

Marshall Field Annex; nor does he affirm it, as in

the Reliance Building. By leaving the piers plain

& extending them all through the height of the

structure, the steel frame is slightly articulate.

Yet the strong base, the shaft & capital treatment,

and the large, broad cornice all give the effect of

stone architecture. The large, broad windows are

raised high above the floors. In fact, all the Clas-

sical details are beautifully adapted to the needs

of the commercial building. There is one flaw -

the two lower stories largely made up of glass con-

trast the solidity of the superstructure causing

the illusion that the stone facing above the second

floor is self supporting.

THE Fuller Building. New York. 1901

53 The Fuller Building attracted quite a lot of
attention while it was being built. A lot of

it was due to the unusual shape of the site.

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which was considered a challenge for the design of

a large building. The lot is bounded by Broadway,

5th Ave. and 22nd street; & the "wedge" formed by

Broadway and 5th produces an angle of 230, The

twenty story building has three architectural di-

visions- a four-story base which relates to a four-

story attic and inbetween these a twelve story shaft,

The crowning attic produces a nice effect. The ma-

terials used were a yellow-gray limestone for the

base and terra-cotta of the same color for the su-

perstructure. The overall decorations& proportions

of the building are excellent, especially the fourth

story frieze, the demarcation of the attic and the

projecting oriels. These oriels are 8 stories high

and even though they're not very visible, they di-

verse the monotony of the plain wall just enough,

Burnham combined altitude, magnitude and conspi-

cousness with an awkward plot,

But, its the awkward plot which produces the

flaw of the buildings the floor plans, All offices

are arranged so that they receive light and venti-

lation. The flaw occurs in the edge of the wedge.

Burnham used the same window treatment'in edge as

in the long facades. This produced offices with

only one solid wall and with too much light coming

from too many openings on three sides. There

is also very little space for any sort of office

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arrangement. Most critics stated that a better

solution would h&ve been to truncate the wedge fif-

teen to twenty feet back and create a fourth face

on the building. Spatially he would not havelost

much room and visually it might have been better.

In Burnham's solution, he simply treated the struc-

ture as three separate faces and did not regard te

oddness of the site and it's problems fully.

The First National Bank of Chicago, 1903

The First National Bank is a seventeen sory

structure with Renaissance details so favored by

Burnham. It is constructed entirely in a warm,

grayish stone around a skeleton steel frame. The

skeleton is outwardly express by equal emphasis on

the horizontal and vertical lines. The building

has three architectural divisions, the base *iich

is composed of an arcade with bays of equal width

and three stories high, the shaft which is broken

from the base by the fourth story and begins abovee

it and the capital which begins above the f ourteerb

story and terminates in a simple and not too massive

cornice. All facades are divided into a series cf

bays of equal width. The arcade of the lower btorbs

is skillfully echoed at the top of the building.

The entrance is not emphasized in any form. The

building as a hole is substantial and utilitarian.

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The plan is once again a derivation of the Ra k-

ery, a series of offices around an interior court-

yard with windows facing the court or the street.

He uses the courtyard to light the second story,

where the main banking room is. This large space

is reached by a stair that opens up near the entrance

of the building and leads to the room. Theinterior

is finished in classical decor and is broken up by


The Wanamaker Store, Philadelphia 3909

This immense structure was done in two phases

of construction (1905 1909) and covers an entire

city block two hundred fifty feet by four hundred

eight feet. It is fourteen stories high and has

an additional thirty six feet of basement below ground

level. The steel frame construction is sheathed

in a grayish white stone and the facade has a

composition of three architectural divisions. The

base is three stories high and is entirely a glass

wall with evenly spaced pilasters. There is a

central entrance emphasized by the removal oftie

horizontal members of the second floor between the

four center pilasters. Above the base are seven

stories constituting the shaft and terminating in

a row of semi-circular windows. Finally a

four story attic reiterates the lower arcade nd it

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is terminated by a finely proportioned cornice.

The bays of the upper arcade are broken into two

high windows ending in smaller arches. The "Ben-

aissance" motiff is exceptionally handled by Burn-

ham. There is a strong emphasis on the corners, but

this feeling is lost at the base due to the glass

wall. The stee frame is echoed in the exterior by

equal emphasis on horizontal and vertical lines.

The plan consists of offices around a grand

shopping court several stories high and ending with

a skylight. The interior court has beautiful clas-

sical detailing, especially in the pendentives

where the pilasters terminate and form an inte-

rior arcade.

Union Station. Washington. D.C.- 1908

This building is the finest example of the

many railroad stations designed by Burnham & Co.

Part of the plan for the city of Washington, the

composition strives at monumentality, since Bur-

nham considered it "the Gateway to the Nation's

Capital". It's constructed of white granite and

it's roofed with gray-green concrete tiles. The

central portion of the station is derived from

the Arch of Constantine. On both sides of the pa-

villion, the Arch is re-iterated by subordinate

arcades on the side wings. An open air portico

connects the large, central vestibule with the end

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pavillions. The size is impressive- it is actu-

ally fourteen feet longer than the Capitol. In

front is a plaza 1000' X 500', with terraces and

fountains. Adjacent to the station is the New

Post Office, also by Burnham & Co. The waiting

room is the largest space of its kind in the

world. It measures 220' X 130' and was roofed

by a barrel vault 90' high. Additional light is

provided by two large semi-circular windows 75'

in diameter at both ends of the hall. Five smal-

ler arches, 30' in diameter, echo the larger ones

on each of the longer sides. The main concourse

runs the entire length of the building and is

strictly a utilitarian design.

New Post Office. WashingtonD.C.- 1911

The new Post Office is designed along the same

monumental lines as its neighbor, Union Station.

Its facade is composed of a massive Ionic colon-

nade with strong corner pavillions faced with a

triumphal arch motiff. It has a strong base and

an attic with a simple cornice devoid of all

decorations. It is built of the same white gra-

nite as all the other public buildings inthe Ca-

pital City.

Hotel Claridge. New York- 1910

This is one of the few French Renaissance

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style projects designed by Burnham & Co., but

it was a very favored style for hotel buildings

in New York. It's impressive in the disposition

of its masses and the manner in which the open-

ings are punctuated. The lower stories have large,

rectangular windows based on the amount of light

and ventilation required for the hotel's public

spaces. Alternating large and small windows punc-

tuate the upper stories in a rhythmic way. The

top of the structure is crowned by a unique man-

sard roof treated with dormer windows. The mate-

rials used were dark brown brick and a light gray

stones for the quoins. The quoins are instrumen-

tal in-the strong and lasting feeling of the cor-

ner Davillions. A unique plan allows the maximum

light and ventilation into every single guest


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These designs were done under the supervision

of Burnham while he was alive, but the buildings

were completed after his death. He died suddenly

in Heidelberg, Germany on June 1, 1912. In all his

works he reasoned from the general to the particular.

His love of sunlight and the outside is reflected

in the creation of parks, lagoons & preserve forests

in his major city planning schemes. Yet he said

that parks did not exist for their beauty but for

the people's spiritual, moral and physical well-

being. He had great influence on all the people

he touched.

The Continental & Commercial Bank, 1912

The last and probably the culminating work of

the firm was, when completed, the largest building

ever erected in Chicago & the largest designed by

the firm since 1873. It covered an entire city

block- 365' X 116' and was 24 stories high. The

main entrance was through a large loggia of polished

granite columns which enveloped cores of steel.

The exterior of the first three stories is granite

and the superstructure is enameled terra-cotta of

granite color. The photograph of the exterior is

unique for it shows "The Rookery" on the right and

the roof of the Illinois Trust & Savings Co. at

the lower left. The Height of the building was

accentuated by the vertical lines of the shaft.

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The plan of the building uses the interior

court so popular with Burnham. The main banking

room occupies the second floor and is approached

by two marble staircases at the center of the

corridor. In some parts, the banking room occu-

pies the space of four stories above the ground

floor. Special attention is called to the barrel

vaulted skylight which illuminates the main ban-

king room.

Filene's Department Store. Boston. 1912

Another large store designed by the firm in

which heacreates, at the clients need, a solid

plate glass wall in the bottom stories and in

the superstructure, he gives the impression of

a solid masonry construction. He used a light

colored stone and terra-cotta fot the walls and

green terra-cotta for the columns and the span-

drils. To create a detachment between the "solid"

upper stories and the plate glass wall below,

Burnham ran a canopy almost the entire length

of the building between the two structural sys-

tems. He creates a solid corner pavillion by run-

ning three wide pilasters down to the canopy.

The Classical windows between the pilasters is

a flaw in the design.

Slide Numbers



Burnham's abilities expanded quickly after

the World's Fair to include the art of city plan-

ning. His reputation as a man of sound business

judgement and his experience in large underta-

kings, along with his artistic capabilities,

certainly qualified him for success. Among others,

he envisioned city plans for Washington D.C., San

Francisco, Cleveland, Manila and Baguo in the

Philippine Islands, and of course Chicago, His

first planning endeavor, though small in scale,.

was Sherman Park. He created a series of buildings;

including an assembly hall, a gymnasium and an out-

door pool; forming a central composition on axis

and adjacent to a small lake. He also provided

roads and paths around the entire perimeter of

the lake. It was a total composition that worked

very well with nature. We shall now look at three

of his major endeavors.

The Senate Commission's Plan for the Development
of Washington, D.C,, 1901

The essence of Burnham's plan was to accomplish

the construction of the Mall designed by L'Enfant

in 1791. The rest of L'Enfant's plan consisted of

a North/South, East/West system of streets with

large diagonals leading to important structures,

such as the Capitol or the White House. It also

included the afore mentioned Mall extending away

from the White House and the Capitol and inter-

secting at a 900 angle at the Washington Monument.

Slide Numbers

For the Centennial of the removal of the Capital

from Philadelphia to Washington, the improvement

of the city by means of a city plan was adopted

and a bill was passed by the Senate. Two firms

were selected for the job- Mr. Burnham's and Mr.


73 The chief element of the new plan was the

completion of the mall, olus the extention of the

Capitol axis through the Washington Monument to

the Lincoln Memorial. The cross axis of the White

House was also Pxtended to a group of buildings on the

bank of the Potomc. The main problem was the removal

of the Potomac railroad tracks from the mall area. It

was, of course, Root who persuaded the move and designed

their new terminal Union Station.

74 & 75 For the mall, Burnham established a total of six

hundred feet between buildings on either side of the

mall. The space was necessary for a central greenway

of three hundred feet lined with four rows of elms

on either side with each elm planted at fifty feet

from all others. In 1904, the Senate Commission att-

emDted to decrease the width, Burnham convinced them

that it was an error.

76 The Union Station and the Post Office were

both placed on one of the diagonal axis coming from

the capitol. In front, he created a beautiful plaza

already mentioned. He created nine traffic lanes to

that Plaza for the quick movement to and from the

Slide Numbers station. Seven railroad lines were accomodated by

the station.

The Plan of Manila, Philippine Islands 1905

The immediate problem in this city plan was the

formation of a general plan of location for government

buildings near the center of the city. But this soon

grew into a comprehensive plan for the streets and parks

of the entire city, allowing for its future growth.

77 His layout was similar to L'enfant's the ex-

tension of the city appears in rectangular system with

diagonal arteries, intersecting in round points and

other formal arrangements. The large areas of the moats

surrounding the old Spanish Intramurowhich today form

the heart of the modern citywere re-designed as public

parks and playgrounds.

The Plan of Chicaro 1909

78 In Chicago, he again imposes, on a rectangular

grid, a series of diagonals. He perfected the existing

street system, simplified the railway entrances to the

city and the location of their terminals, and most

important, he provided a system of connecting parks,

playgrounds and forest preserves.

79 The restoration of the south shore of Lake

Michigan is one of the salient features of the plan.

This strip averaging a quarter of a mile from Grant to

Jackson Park, would culminate in Grant Park with the

Field Columbian Nuseum and a yacht harbor and marina.

Slide Numbers


It would be on axis with Congress Street, which would

terminate in his proposed Municipal Center. Among

the buildings intended for this Center was a Civic Aud-

itorium, the Court House, and most city governmental

offices. He also proposed a broad roadway alonc, the

quadrangles of the city, including South Shore Drive.

Unfortunately, very little of the afore mentioned plan

was ever accomplished.


The architecture of JohnWellborn Root and

Daniel Hudson Burnham led the way in the art of the

high office building. Root had a great architectural

mind: he felt structure and he felt space. He knew

the basic reality of a building. He loved each material

for its intrinsic values, whether for structure or

ornament. Burnham had a drive, a need to accomplish and

incredible administrative ability. Root was encouraged

by the stable and sympathetic presence of his partner.

In the testimony of everyone, their partnership was

an ideal union. Chicago was the place one looked often

for the finest architecture of the nineteenth century.

Their firm embraced some of the most excellent buildings

of that century and the beginning of this one.


1. J.W. Root quoted by Harriet Monroe

John Wellborn Root, Architect, pg. 63

2. J.W. Root quoted by Harriet Monroe

John Wellborn Root, Architect, pg.69

3. J.W. Root quoted by Harriet Monroe

John Wellborn Root, Architect, pg. 73

4. J.W. Root quoted by Harriet Monroe

John Wellborn Root, Architect, pg. 74

5. J.W. Root quoted by Harriet Monroe

John Wellborn Root, Architect, pe. 107

6. Louis H. Sullivan

The Autobiography of an Idea, pg. 285

7. J.W. Root

"The city house in the west"

Scribner's Magazine, VIII, Oct.1890, pg. 433

8. J.W. Root

"Style" Inland Architect, VIII, Jan. 1887, pg. 100

9. A.N. Rebori

"The Work of Burnham & Root"

Architectural Record, XXXVIII, July, 1915, pg. 62


1. Burnham & Root In The Library Of The Rookery
The Architecture of J.W. Root
Donald Hoffmann, page 82

2. Chicago In 1874
Daniel H. Burnham Volume II
Charles Moore, page 102

3. John B. Sherman House Rendering & Plan
The Architecture of J.W. Root
Donald Hoffmann, page 14

4. Grannis Block Facade
The Architecture of J.W. Root
Donald Hoffmann, page 22

5. Sidney Kent House
The Architecture of J.W. Root
Donald Hoffmann, page 34

6. Chicago Art Institute
The Architecture of J.W.Root
Donald Hoffmann, page b8

7. Montauk Block
The Architecture of J.J. Root
Donald Hoffmann, page 25

8. Steel & Cement Foundation
John Wellborn Root
Harriet Monroe, page 102

9. The Rialto Building
The Architecture of J.W. Root
Donald Hoffmann, page 42

10. The Insurance Exchange
The Architecture of J.W. Root
Donald Hoffmann, page 44

11. The Phenix (Phoenix) Building Exterior
The Architecture of J.W.Root
Donald Hoffmann, page 61

12. The Phenix (Phoenix) Building Plan&Interior
The Architecture of J.W. Root
Donald Hoffmann, page 62

13. The Rookery Building Facade
The Architecture of J.W. Root
Donald Hoffmann, page 71

14. The Rookery Building Plan & Detail
The Architecture of J.W. Root
Donald Hoffmann, page 72

15. The Rookery Building Plan of Office of Burnham &
Root & Interior of Stairoriel
The Architecture of J.W. Root
Donald Hoffmann, page 81

16. The Rookery Building Interior Court
The Architecture of J.WV. Root
Donald Hoffmann, page 76-77

17. The Rookery Building West Side of Court
The Architecture of J.W. Root
Donald Hoffmann, page 7-

18. The Rookery Building West Entrance & Vestibule
The Architecture of J.W. Root
Donald Hoffman, page 75

19. The Monadnock Building Exterior
The Architecture of J.'A. Root
Donald Hoffmann, page 175

20. The Monadnock Building Exterior
The Architecture of J.W. Root
Donald Hoffmann, page 168

21. The Monadnock Building Plan & Rendering
The Architecture of J.W. Root-;
Donald Hoffmann, page 170

22. The Monadnock Building Jackson Street Profile & Detail
The Architecture of J.W. Root
Donald Hoffmann, page 172

23. The Monadnock Building Stair Detail
The Architecture of J.W. Root
Donald Hoffmann, page 171

24. Noman's Temple Exterior & Plan
The Architecture of J.W. Root
Donald Hoffmann, pagel95

25. The Masonic Temple Exterior
The Architecture of J.W. Root
Donald Hoffmann, page 197

26. The Masonic Temple Plan
The Architecture of J.W. Root
Donald Hoffmann, page 198

27. The Masonic Temple Interior
The Architecture of J.W. Root
Donald Hoffmann, page 199

28. Mills Building Exterior
The Architecture of J.W. Root
Donald Hoffmann, page 208

29. Mills Building -
The Architecture

Plan & Entrance
of J.W. Root

Donald Hoffmann, page 209

Mills Building
The Architecture of J.W. Root
Donald Hoffmann, page 211

Mills Building
The Architecture of J.W. Root
Donald Hoffmann, page 210

St. Gabriel's Church
The Architecture of J.W. Root

Donald Hoffmann, page 102

33. Montezuma Hotel, Las Vegas
The Architecture of J.W. Root
Donald Hoffmann, page 36

34- Church of the Covenant Rendering
The Architecture of J.W. Root
Donald Hoffmann, page 118

35. Church of the Covenant Interior & Exterior as built
The Architecture of J.W. Root
Donald Hoffmann, page 119

36. First Regimental Armory Exterior
The Architecture of J.W. Root
Donald Hoffmann, page 140

37. First Regimental Armory Floor Plans & Photo of Building
Under Demolition
The Architecture of J.W. Root
Donald Hoffmann, page 141

38. The Regional Dekoven House Plan & Rendering
The Architecture of J.W. Root
Donald Hoffmann, page 145

39. The U. C. Turner House Exterior
The Architecture of J.W. Root
Donald Hoffmann, page 114

40. The E.H. Valentine House Exterior & Plan
The Architecture of J.W. Root
Donald Hoffmann, Page 143

41. The William J. Goudy Exterior Perspective
The Architecture of J.W. Root
Donald Hoffmann, page 213




42. Chicago World's Fair Court of Honor
Plan of Chicago .1909
Burnham & Bennett,page 2

43. Preliminary Plans by Root Chicago World's Fair
The Architecture of J.W. Root
Donald Hoffmann, page 240

44. Final Plan World's Columbian Exposition, Chicago
Plan of Chicago 1909
Burnham & Bennett, page 5

45. Last Sketches Art Building & Canal Portac
The Architecture of J.W. Root
Donald Hoffmann, page 242-243

46. Reliance Building Exterior
The Architecture of J.W. Root
Donald Hoffmann, pagel86

47. Reliance Building Floor Plans
The Architecture of J.W. Root
Donald Hoffmann, page 189

48. Reliance Building Basement Plan & Exterior
The Architecture of J.W. Root
Donald Hoffmann, page 187

49. Reliance Building Entrance & Detail Base
The Architecture of J.W. Root
Donald Hoffmann, page 190

50. Old Marshall Field & Co. Annex Exterior
"Architectural Record" 1915, Volume 38, page 32-168

51. Illinois Trust & Savings Bank Exterior
"Architectural Record" 1915, Volume 38, page 32 168

52. Merchants Loan & Trust Building Exterior
"Architectural Record" 1915, Volume 38, page 32-168

$3. Fuller or "Flatiron" Building Exterior
"Architectural Record"1915, Volume 38, plge 32 168

54. Fuller or "Flatiron" Building Floor Plans
"Architectural Record" 1915, Volume 38, page 32 168

55. Fuller or "Flatiron" Building Floor Plans
"Architectural Record" 1915, Volume 38, page 32 168

$6. First National Bank of Chicago Exterior
"Architectural Record" 1915, Volume 38, page 32 168

$7. First National Bank of Chicago Plan
"Architectural Record" 1915, Volume 38, page 32 168

58. First National Bank of Chicago Interior
"Architectural Record" 1915, Volume 38, page 32 168

59. Wanamaker Store, Philadelphia Exterior
"Architectural Record" 1915, Volume 38, page 32 168

60. Wanamaker Store, Philadelphia Grand Court
"Architectural Record" 1915, Volume 38, page 32 168

61. Wanamaker Store, Philadelphia Detail of Ceiling, Grand Coubt
"Architectural Record" 1915, Volume 38, page 32 168

62. Union Station, Washington D.C. Exterior
"Architectural Record" 1915, Volume 38, page 32 168

63. Union Station, Washington D.C. Plan
"Architectural Record" 1915, Volume 38, page 32 168

64. Union Station, Washington D.C. Interiors
"Architectural Record" 1915, Volume 38, page 32 168

65. Post Office, Washington D.C. Exterior
"Architectural Record" 1915, Volume 38, page 32 168

66. Hotel Claridge, New York Exterior
"Architectural Record" 1915, Volume 38, page 32-168

67. Hotel Claridge, New York Floor Plan
"Architectural Record" 1915, Volume 38, page 32 168

68. Continental & Commercial National Bank Exterior
"Architectural Record" 1915, Volume 38, page 32 168

69. Continental & Commercial National Bank Plans
"Architectural Record" 1915, Volume 38, page 32 168

70. Continental & Commercial National Bank Interior
"Architectural Record" 1915, Volume 38, page 32 168

71. Filene's Department Store, Boston Exterior
"Architectural Record" 1915, Volume 38, page 32 168

72. Sherman Park Buildings
"Architectural Record" 1915, Volume 38, page 32 168

73. Plan for Washington D.C.
Daniel H. Burnham
Charles Moores page 151

74. Washington Capitol Grounds
Daniel H. Burnham
Charles Moore,spage 207

75. Washington The Senate Park Commission Plan -
Washington Monument
D.H. Burnham
Oharles Moore, page l43

76. Washington: Relation of Capitol to Union Station
D.H. Burnham
Charles Moore, page 175

77. Plan For Improvements for the City Of Manila,
Fhilipinne Islands
D.H. Burnham
Charles Moore page 180

78. Plan Showing Waterways & complete System of Streets,
Boulevards, Parkways & Parks
Plan Of Chicago 1909
Burnham & Bennett, page 1i,

79. Plan Showing Relation of Grant Park & Yacht Harbor to the
Business Center of the City
Plan Of Chicago 1909
Burnham & Bennett,page 112

80. Plan Showing Municipal Building Center
Plan Of Chicago 1909
Burhham & Bennett, page 112


1. Burnham, Daniel Hudson 1846 1912
"Great American Architect Series' No. 1 6
May 1895 July 1899
The Architectural Record Co. New York

2. Burnham, Daniel Hudson, 1846 1912
The Development of Manila
"The Western Architect"
Volume 9, January 1906

3. Burnham, D.H. & Co. Architects
The FlatIron or Fuller Building
"The Architectural Record"
Volume 12, October 1902

4. Burnham, D.H. & Co. Architects
The Flat-Iron from the Southeast, 22nd Stree & Broadway,
New York, New York
"American Architect & Building News"
Volume 77, September 1902

5. Burnham, D.H. & Co. Architects
The Grideron Building
"The Architectural Record"
Volume 77, January 1902

6. Burnham, D. H. & Co. Architects
Plan of Chicago Under the Direction of The Commercial Club
Commercial Club of Chicago, 1909

7. Burnham, D.H. & Co. Architects
The Washington Station, Washington, D.C.
"The Architectural Record"
Volume 24, September 1908

8. Burnham & Root Architects
House of H.D. LLoyd, Esq. Chicago, Illinois
"American Architect & Building News"
Volume 2, November 1877

9. Burnham & Root Architects
The Masonic Temple, Chicago
"American Buildings Selections"
Volume 2

10. Burnham & Root Architects
Proposed Temperance Temple, Chicago
"American Buildings"
Selections, Volume 2

11. Burnham & Root Architects
Residence for C.C. Thompson
"American Buildings"
Select ns, Volume 1

12. Burnham & Root Architects
Residence of Charles Councilman
"American Building"
Selection, Volume 1

13. Burnham & Root Architects
Residence of Charles Councilman
"American Building"
Selection n, Volume 1

14. Burnham & Root Architects
Residence of H.K. Needham
"American Building"
Selection, Volume 1

15. Burnham & Root Architects
Residence of H.R. Wilson
Evanston, Illnois
"American Building"
Selection, Volume 1

16. Burnham & Root. Architects
Residence of J.B. Sherman, Esq.
"American Architect & Building News"
Volume 1, September 1876

17. Burnham & Root Architects
Residence of N.E. Hale, Chicago
"American Buildings"
Volume 1

18. Burnham & Root Architects
Rookery Office Building, Chicago
"American Buildings"
Selections, Volume 4

19. Burnham, D.H. 1846 1912
"Construction New"
Volume 17, January 1904

20. Condit, Carl W.
The Chicago School of Architecture
1964 University of Chicago Press
Chicago Illinois

21. David, A.C.
The Building of the First Nationgl Bank of Chicago
D.H. Burnham & Co., Architects

22. Desmond, Harry W.
Rationalizing the S1kyscraper
"The Architectural Record"
Volume 17, May 1905

23. Ferree, Barr
The Art of the High Building
"The Architectural Record"
Volume 15, May 1904

24. Giedion, Seegfried
Space, Time & Architecture
1941 By The President & Fellows of Harvard College.
Cambridge, Mass.

25. Daniel Hudson Burnham
An Apreciation
"The Architectural Record"
Volume 32, 1912

26. Hoffman, Donald
The Architecture of John Wellborn Root
John Hopkins University Press, 1973

27. Jenkins, Charles E.
A White Enameled Building
"The Architectural Record"
Volume 4, January 1895

28. Jordan, A. Furneaux
A Concise History of Western Architecture
1969 by Thames & Hudson Limited
London England

29. John Wellborn Root
1896 Houghton, Mifflin & Co.
1966 The Prairie School Press
Park Illinois

30. Daniel H. Burnham Architect
Planner of Cities Two Volumes
1921 Houghton Mifflins & Co.
Boston, New York

31. Parsons, William E.
Burnham As A Pioneer In City Planning
"Architectural Record"
Volume 38, 1915

32. Reboir, A. N.
The Work of Burnham & Root, D. H. Burnham & Co., &
Graham, Burnham & Co.
"Architectural Record"
Volume 38, 1915

33. Root, J.W.
The Meanings of Architecture, Building & Writings
Collected by Donald Hoffman
1967 Horizon Press
New York

34. Starrett, Theodore
D. H. Burnham
"The Architect's & Builder's
Volume 13, 1912

35. Starrett, Theodore
The Washington Terminal
"The Architectural Record"
Volume 18, December 1905

36. Tallmadge, Thomas E.
Architecture In Old Chicago
University of Chicago Press
1941, Chicago

37. Wight, Peter Bonnett
Daniel Hudson Burnham & His
"The Architectural Record"
Volume 38, 1915



38. Wrigley,.Robert V., Jr.
Daniel H. Burnham, Architect & City Planner
"American Institute of Architects Journal"
Volume 35, No. 3, March 1961

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