I love Chicago, I love architecture and I love Frank Lloyd Wright so this was a given that I would love the beautiful lobby of the Rookery Building in downtown Chicago. Located at 209 S. LaSalle, St., the Rookery is located in the Financial District and has been designated as a Chicago Landmark since 1972 and a National Register of Historic Places since 1970.
The lobby is all glitz and glamour and when I arrived there was a tour group that I am pretty sure were part of the Frank Lloyd Wright Trust group that holds tours. I, like another gentleman that was also admiring the view, came on my own. The lobby is free to come and take a gander at and is worth the time.
Originally built by architects Daniel Burnham and John Root it is 11- stories and is one of the cities early skyscrapers. The building was originally the Central Safety Deposit Company. Completed in 1888, it was considered one of the grandest buildings in the world.
In 1905, Frank Lloyd Wright comes in. He was commissioned to update the light court with a more modern appearance. According to the timeline, “he endorsed Root’s iron columns in gilded white marble and added bronze chandeliers with prismatic glass.”
In 1931, the building again underwent an update when William Drummond incorporated an Art Deco aesthetic and divided the two-story entrance lobby into separate floors. He replaced Wright’s open geometric elevator cages with solid bronze doors etched with birds.
The highlight of the lobby is the oriel staircase and the light court. This lovely building has been well taken care of. It was updated in 1992 and in 2014 it achieved the LEED designation which is pretty hard for a historic building!
If in downtown Chicago and you have a few extra minutes, take a few to tour this amazing building. You only have access to the first floor lobby, but it is generous of the owners to open it to the public and share this amazing beauty with us!