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Architect Burnham and Root
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Location Chicago, Illinois   map
Date 1889 to 1891   timeline
Building Type early skyscraper, commercial office tower
 Construction System bearing masonry
Climate temperate
Context urban
Style Richardsonian
Notes 16 stories






Available on The GBC CD-ROM.

Discussion Monadnock Building Commentary

"In their Monadnock Building,... Burnham and Root reduced the building to an elemental statement. Finished after a hiatus of several years, the building was stipulated by the Brooks brothers to be of traditional bearing wall construction, with an unprecedented height of sixteen stories. Root therefore faced a problem of harmonious expression of this height. His original idea was an ideogram of the Egyptian papyrus column, but over the long period of design he gradually stripped away historical detail, leaving only a massive brick pile with a slightly curved base and outward curving cavetto cornice at the top. No stringcourse or projection breaks the continuity of line so that the tapered mass of the Monadnock Building becomes its own ornament. In spite of Root's artistic achievement in making the tall building a unified, coherent statement, it was structurally traditional, employing cast iron and wrought iron framing only for window spandrels and the internal frame. Consequently the walls at ground level had to be six feet thick to carry the upper floors; this massive bulk then rested on an immense iron and reinforced concrete raft.

— Leland M. Roth. A Concise History of American Architecture. p176.

Sources on Monadnock Building

Johnson Architectural Images. Copyrighted slides in the Artifice Collection, AJ1177 to AJ1186.

George A. Larson & Jay Pridmore. Chicago Architecture and Design. New York: Harry N. Abrams, 1993. ISBN 0-8109-3192-3. LC 93-18306. NA735.C4L37. exterior photo, p45.

Leland M. Roth. A Concise History of American Architecture. New York: Harper and Row, Publishers, 1979. ISBN 0-06-430086-2. NA705.R67 1979. exterior photo, p176.

Marvin Trachtenberg and Isabelle Hyman. Architecture, from Prehistory to Post-Modernism. New York: Harry N. Abrams, 1986. photo, fig 782, p 497.

Kevin Matthews. The Great Buildings Collection on CD-ROM. Artifice, 2001. ISBN 0-9667098-4-5.—



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