Structure in General
- Projected string courses around the facade divide the building into five distinct horizontal layers.
- Like the Fisher Building the Rookery incorporates in its facade animal forms derived from the building's name - in this case pairs of rooks by the entrance archway.
- Before the Rookery name had stuck to this project, its developers proposed a long list of possible names, mostly of American Indian derivation.
- Architect John Root devised the "grillage foundation" - iron rails and structural beams in a crisscross pattern and encased in concrete - to support the building's immense weight without heavy foundation stones.
- The architects Burnham & Root moved their offices here for a while upon its completion, and Frank Lloyd Wright also set up an office here at one time.
- Since the interior frame is built of steel and iron, the facade facing the light court has far more extensive window area than the more fortresslike street facades.
- The light court was very influential in the design of office buildings in Chicago, including its use of glazed white brick for added brightness.
- The renovation architects were recognized with an Honor Award for Design from the American Institute of Architects in 1993.
- The only metal framing on the perimeter walls is in the first two stories along the alleys. Above that the walls are pure masonry.
- The Rookery represents a transition between masonry and metal construction methods, with the outer walls supported mostly by masonry piers and the inner frame built of steel and iron.
- The "Rookery" name is inherited from the previous building on this site, an old city hall which was a favorite roosting spot of pigeons.
- The metal framework is a combination of cast iron (main columns), wrought iron (spandrel beams), and steel (internal columns).
- An atrium, originally an open light court, extends through the center of the building, down to the lobby skylight. On the west side of this court there is a famous semi-spiral staircase.
- Since the perimeter walls are so much heavier than the interior frame, their foundations were built higher to account for greater settling.
- Above the LaSalle Street and Adams Street entrances there are wide balconies at the 8th floor.
- The exterior ornamentation draws from several styles, including Romanesque, Moorish, Islamic, and Venetian.
- In the Frank Norris novel The Pit, financial speculator Curtis Jadwin's has his office in the Rookery.
- Completed in 1888, the Rookery is the oldest high-rise in Chicago that is still standing.
- The lobby was remodeled in 1905 by Frank Lloyd Wright, who simplified the ironwork and added planters and light fixtures in his characteristic style.
- The building became an official city landmark in 1972.
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209 South LaSalle Street
Also recorded for this building:
developer, real estate agent, structural engineering
Features & Amenities
- One of the city's famous buildings
- City landmark
- Atrium is present
- Doorman is available