City: Chicago, IL
Category: Apartment complex
Links: Ornamental fragments in the collection of the Art Institute of Chicago
Restoration Status: Demolished 1971
The four-story Francis Apartments building, which was constructed for the Terre Haute Trust Company, comprised one, two, and three bedroom residential units on its upper floors, and commercial storefronts on its first floor. Thick limestone served as the building’s foundation and bands of cast stone ran horizontally around the ground floor periphery of the architectural mass. Sullivanesque in style, this ornamental surface treatment consisted of a continuous series of flat and strictly geometric interlocking circles surrounded by florid plant-like nodules. Wright carried a similar ornamental program, although slightly more reductive in form, onto the ironwork gates found outside the building. As Wright’s philosophy of design matured, his decorative designs departed from those of Sullivan’s, becoming increasingly geometric and less organic in appearance.