Thursday, August 22, 2013

Chicago Stock Exchange Arch



Chicago Stock Exchange Arch, 1893 (installed 1977)
Louis H. Sullivan and Dankmar Adler
Grant Park, northeast of the Art Institute of Chicago
Southwest corner of South Columbus Drive and East Monroe Street

            Featuring some of the finest ornamental design of architect Louis H. Sullivan (1856-1924), this terra-cotta arch originally stood, two stories high, as the dramatic entrance to the Chicago Stock Exchange Building at LaSalle and Washington Streets. In spite of efforts by preservationists and members of the public opposed to the demolition of this significant work by the innovative architects Sullivan and Dankmar Adler, the building was razed in 1972. Some remnants were preserved and the Art Institute acquired this arch and installed it in a plaza near the Noguchi fountain in 1977.
            The opening of the arch is bounded by a recessed ornamental band, followed by a wider band of plain ashlar, leading to an exuberant display of foliate and geometric decoration. The spandrels of the arch feature medallions, one depicting the house of Philip Peck that originally stood on the LaSalle street site, and the other showing the date of construction: 1893. Adler and Sullivan were the designers of the Auditorium Building, a structure known for its exceptional acoustics. That commission was the result of an effort led by Ferdinand Peck to provide Chicago with an opera house. When his son, Philip Peck, wanted to have a skyscraper built on the site of his house to house the Stock Exchange, he turned to Adler and Sullivan. 

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