Winner of the 1998 Spiro Kostof Book Award from the Society of Architectural Historians.
Chicago has always held a special fascination for those interested in architectural and urban history. For many, the defining moment occurred at the turn of the century when Chicago was booming and the world came to the city by the lake. But the story most often told in architectural history—the tale of single creative geniuses like Frank Lloyd Wright and Louis Sullivan—does little to explain the birth of the everyday modern city, with its high-rise downtown, diverse neighborhoods, and sprawling suburbs. This book connects architectural history with urban history by looking at the work of a major architectural firm, Holabird & Roche. No firm in any large American city had a greater impact.
With projects that ranged from tombstones to skyscrapers, boiler rooms to entire industrial complexes, Holabird & Roche left an indelible stamp on the city of Chicago and, indeed, far beyond. In this volume, the first of two on Holabird & Roche and its successor, Holabird & Root, Robert Bruegmann traces the firm’s history from its founding in 1880 to the end of the First World War. Incorporating meticulous research based on the extensive architectural holdings of the Chicago Historical Society, Bruegmann documents the firm’s work from the boom years of the 1880s through the period of sustained growth and innovation after the turn of the century. In chapters devoted to topics as diverse as downtown commercial and retail development, business hotels, civic buildings, automobile showrooms, and suburban clubs and housing, Bruegmann creates a sustained historical narrative that considers the profound interdependence of architecture and modern urban life.