Chicago has new architecture springing up continuously, but a new series of architectural unveilings over three years in the making are happening in the Loop at Louis Sullivan's turn-of-the-century masterpiece, the former Carson, Pirie, Scott & Co. building, seen above.
Newly renamed to honor the architect himself, the Sullivan Center (bounded by State, Madison, Monroe and Wabash in the Loop) has been undergoing a restoration project focused on the cast iron facade which features signature Sullivan designs of ornate, geometric patterning, evocative of Celtic designs, that intertwine and overlay similarly complex natural imagery.
In conversation with Noah Goldman, the Assistant Project Manager for the restoration, he remarked that, “The restoration process was almost painstakingly done in order to replace as little as possible and use as much as possible of the original cast iron material [of the façade]. There were roughly 3,000 pieces of cast iron involved, some you could hold in your hand and some weighed 1,000 pounds.”
Finished in a rich green and ringing the first and second floors of the building, the newly replaced plate glass windows on the ground floor are a handsome compliment to the façades above. The project will be completed when scaffolding is removed and the Madison Street side of the building is unveiled, scheduled to happen sometime this coming summer.
--Thea Liberty Nichols
(top image courtesy of J. Crocker)