Building 51 | Building 51 | late 19th century perforated cast iron interior rookery building staircase riser panel featuring moorish-inspired intertwined geometric shapes – hecla iron works of brooklyn, new york
9413
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late 19th century perforated cast iron interior rookery building staircase riser panel featuring moorish-inspired intertwined geometric shapes – hecla iron works of brooklyn, new york

51-16503-13

Category

Chicago Buildings

About This Item

original and completely intact ornamental cast iron rookery building interior staircase riser panel, designed by notable architect john root and executed by the hecla iron works of brooklyn, new york, . the bower & barff baked black enameled “rust proof” finish remains largely intact. the strongly geometric designed pierced metal riser with moorish-inspired interconnected or overlapping abstract shapes was loosely based on designs by owen jones from his 1856 work the grammar of ornament. the rookery building element was removed from the adams street staircase located at the northeast corner of the building. the powerful exterior of this building, which is softened by lively ornament detailed by architect john root, typifies the lingering picturesque attitudes toward commercial architecture still prevalent in the 1880’s. a transitional structure in the evolution of modern architecture, the rookery building employs both masonry wall-bearing and skeletal frame construction techniques. it takes its name from a temporary city hall and water tank that stood on the site following the fire of 1871. a favorite roost for pigeons, these structures were referred to as “the rookery.” when frank lloyd wright remodeled the rookery’s large skylit lobby in 1905, he introduced elements characteristic of his prairie school designs. wright removed most of john roots original iron ornament and replaced it with simple geometric plans. prior to the renovation, frank lloyd wright briefly had his office there from 1898-99. other notable tenants include, but not limited to, the american luxfer prism co. and william winslow, president of the winslow brothers ornamental ironworks. measures 45 1/2 x 9 inches.