The Chicago Cultural Center, wow! Where to even begin? Designed by Boston architectural firm Shepley, Rutan & Coolidge, the building opened in downtown Chicago in 1892 as the city’s central library. Its interior includes marble, polished brass, rare hardwoods, and mosaics made of Favrile glass, mother-of-pearl and colored stone, as well as the largest stained glass Tiffany dome in the world.
Even a “modest” hallway has a dazzling tile floor:
The Grand Army of the Republic Hall and Rotunda is grand, but somber:
The Healy Millet Dome features a stained glass Renaissance pattern:
Looking toward Preston Bradley Hall from the Grand Staircase:
Looking up is very rewarding in this place:
This Y-within-circle is a symbol of the city of Chicago, representing the confluence of its rivers:
The first glimpse of the Tiffany Dome:
At 38 feet in diameter, this is the largest Tiffany dome in the world:
Here’s CPL [Chicago Public Library] with the river symbol:
Heading back toward the stairwell:
The Grand Staircase [understatement, much?] is covered in mosaics made of Favrile glass, mother-of-pearl and colored stone:
Since this was originally a grand public library, literary references can be found throughout:
Finely carved woodwork detailing in the Yates Gallery. Note another CPL detail:
“The world is founded on thoughts and ideas, not cotton or iron.” This quote from Ralph Waldo Emerson perfectly captures Chicago’s cosmopolitan ambitions when the city set out to build this grand cultural institution:
Oh, yeah! I almost forgot: in addition to serving as massive eye candy, the Chicago Cultural Center also offers a full schedule of art exhibits in several galleries, performing arts, concerts, and other public events.
Wow, tiles, tessellations, patterns, and all so beautiful!
This building is absolutely amazing!
Awesome photos – thanks for sharing.
Spectacular! I can’t even begin to imagine the amount of work that went into making this building, which is in and of itself a work of art. Do you know how long it took to construct it?