Sunday, February 22, 2015

105 W. Madison Building, Chicago
 by: chicago designslinger

[105 W. Madison Building (1928) D.H. Burnham & Co., architects /Image & Artwork: chicago designslinger]

The monumental architect Daniel Burnham died in 1912, but his namesake firm lived on in a couple of interpretive reiterations over the next few years. First as Graham, Burnham & Co. when lead designer Ernest Graham partnered with Burnham's two sons, Hubert and Daniel, Jr. Then when Graham went off on his own to carry on in the grand classical Burnham tradition, the Burnham boys set up an office of their own and went back to using D.H. Burnham & Co.

   [105 W. Madison Building, 105 W. Madison Street, Chicago /Image & Artwork: chicago designslinger]

In 1928 the brothers completed construction on a rather nondescript, terra cotta coated building located on the southwest corner of Madison and Clark Streets. The 23-story tower looked like any number of tall office buildings in downtown Chicago, but for the Burnham's it marked the end of an era, there wasn't a traditional acanthus leaf, fluted column, or scotia in sight. Their geometrically-inspired decoration for 105 W. Madison Street found inspiration in the distinctive contemporary designs of their era rather than the historicism of the ancient Greece and Rome - change was in the air.

  [105 W. Madison Building, Chicago, Chicago Real Estate Board Building /Image & Artwork: chicago designslinger]

A few months after construction got underway, Hubert & Daniel Burnham changed the name of the company to Burnham Brothers, simpler, more accurate, and perhaps a sign that they had emerged from the classical shadow of their father and were ready to make their own mark in the world. In 1942 the Chicago Real Estate Board moved into the building from their West Randolph Street offices which garnered the naming rights of the building for the Board, a title that the tower held on to until 1970 when the real estate concern vacated the structure after a substantial rent increase. By then the brothers long association with architecture had come to an end. Hubert left Chicago in 1955 after retiring as a partner in the extended firm name of Burnham Bros. & Hammond and relocated to La Jolla, CA. where he died in 1969 at age eighty-seven. Younger brother Daniel, Jr. on the other hand remained active in the firm until his death in a car accident in 1961, age seventy-five.

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