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Gumbo's Pic of the Day, Dec. 11, 2013: Frank Lloyd Wright's Rookery Lobby

1-DSCF0035For fans of Frank Lloyd Wright, the Chicago area is a mecca. His home and studio in Oak Park are surrounded by many houses he designed, the Robie House in Hyde Park is nearing completion of a major restoration. But visitors following the Wright trail often miss one of his masterpieces, the lobby of the Rookery building.


The Rookery was built in 1886, designed by Burnham and Root, a leading architectural form of the day. It was one of the first true skyscrapers. One of its features was a lobby with a glass skylight that was bright for its day, but 20 years later had come to seem dim and old-fashioned. Wright, then early in his career, was given the commission to redo the lobby.


Wright added white marble to constrast with the steel structure, installed a gallery at the second floor level reached by curved staircases, and allowed even more light into the enclosed atrium. Over the years, alterations were made to the lobby, and the lightwell was sealed over to prevent leaks. The building was declared a historic landmark in 1972, and in 1992 the Wright lobby was restored.


There are regular tours of the rookery and other significant Chicago buildings, both by the Chicago Architecture Foundation and the Frank Lloyd Wright Preservation Trust.




Images (2)
  • Stairs and Gallery, Rookery
  • Rookery Lobby

The best part of every trip is realizing that it has upset your expectations

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