Auditorium Building (now Roosevelt University)

Louis Sullivan (and Dankmar Adler, engineer)

In the Auditorium Building, Sullivan adapts Richardson's Marshall Field Warehouse (especially in terms of fenestration and levels) to a mixed-use building. It served as both a hotel and office building as well as an opera house seating about 4000, proclaimed by many to have the best acoustics in the world (partly because the auditorium has buffers on three sides). At the time it was built it was the tallest building in Chicago. The base is heavily rusticated, like Renaissance palazzi.

The original entrance was under the tower, a structure of 17 stories requiring heavy reinforcements. With load-bearing masonry walls, the building required the engineering genius of Adler, who also dealt with the problem of its being below the water level of nearby Lake Michigan.

The tower side and base

Other Sullivan buildings on this site include: the Gage Building, the People's Savings and Loan Association Bank, and the Wainwright Building.

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Copyright © Mary Ann Sullivan. I have photographed (on site), scanned, and manipulated all the images on these pages. Please feel free to use them for personal or educational purposes. They are not available for commercial purposes.

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