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Chicago School

Approximate Dates 1885 to 1915
Pict0500.jpg (125906 bytes) 024-flatiron5.jpg (23227 bytes) 028E.jpg (43867 bytes) 052I.jpg (105755 bytes)
027 Goelet Building 024 Flatiron Building 017 The Atrium 028 Broadway-Chambers Building 052 Bayard-Condict Building

Style Definition
The "Chicago School of Architecture" was a proto-modernist style which arose during the building boom after the Chicago Fire. The style is a major step in the direction of simplified modern architecture, and although it incorporates many features of historical styles the ornament is subordinated to the overall structural scheme. The style encompasses the first skyscrapers, and in many buildings the facade depicts nothing more than the rectangular steel grid underneath.

Buildings in this style were built in various cities, mostly in the Midwest but even in New York. Its influence was very strong in industrial architecture, and many early factories and warehouses fall into this category of design.

The two most prolific and important firms in the early development of the Chicago School were Holabird & Roche and Burnham and Root. The firm of Adler & Sullivan designed many of this style's most refined works, with intricate organic decorations in a style related to Art Nouveau.