History of the Rookery Building

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  • Topic: Daniel Burnham, Rookery Building
  • Pages : 2 (632 words )
  • Download(s) : 159
  • Published : November 6, 2012
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The Rookery Building One of my favorite buildings in Chicago is the Rookery Building, which was built in 1888 by Daniel Burnham and John Root on the South-East corner of LaSalle and Adams streets. Eleven stories tall and 181 feet high, it is the oldest high rise building still standing in Chicago. The building is commonly called the “Rookery” because of the crows and pigeons that roosted in the roof and walls of the temporary city hall that previously stood at that site and the corrupt politicians who had offices in the city hall building. The heavy marble arch at the entrance of the building even has carved sculptures of birds to remind people of the building’s name. I like the building because it seems to be both old and modern and because it looks like a bird cage inside the building. Burnham and Root used innovative building methods to build the Rookery. John Root devised the “grillage foundation” using iron rails and structural beams in a crisscross pattern and encased in concrete as well as masonry bearing walls to support the building’s weight without the use of heavy foundation stones. (Smith, page 58) This was particularly useful considering Chicago’s swampy soil. Another problem that the architects were able to solve was to provide the offices inside the building with sufficient daylight as well as allow for proper air circulation to evenly warm the building in the winter and cool it in the summer. This was particularly important because at that time the electricity was still unreliable and because there was no central heating or air conditioning. Burnham and Root therefore designed a large light well that could illuminate interior offices in the building and allow for the air to circulate. They also built a glass-covered two-story central light court inside the building that was two-stories tall to provide proper daylight to the interior offices

at the bottom of the building. Combined with large windows on the outside of the building,...
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