Address: 50 E Congress Pkwy, Chicago, IL 60605
City: Chicago, IL
Category: Theater, office building, hotel
In 1888, Wright secured a position with the prestigious architectural firm of Adler and Sullivan. The partnership produced many of Chicago’s earliest tall buildings and large commercial structures. Impressed by Wright’s superior drawing skills, Louis Sullivan hired the young architect to produce ornamental designs for the interior of the Chicago Auditorium. Designed and constructed between 1887 and 1889, the Auditorium Building housed a theater, offices, and hotel. Its exterior was designed in the Romanesque-style popularized by Henry Hobson Richardson. The heavy, rusticated stone of the building’s exterior contrasts with the delicate, botanical ornament found on its interior where mosaics, plaster reliefs, and leaded glass create an array of richly textured surfaces. Of the drawings Wright prepared for the project, only a subtle, fragmented rendering of what Wright later identified as a “bronze newel post head,” survives.