Federal Building in Chicago
Architect: Henry Ives Cobb
Location: Dearborn, Adams and Clark Streets and Jackson Boulevard
Built: Between 1896 and 1905
“One of the most effective ways of making a city habitable is by the creation of a great enclosed public space. Among America’s supreme interiors was the 300-foot-high octagonal rotunda of Henry Ives Cobb’s Federal Building, completed in 1905. The rotunda, inspired by the monuments of Imperial Rome, was crowned by a done more than 100 feet in diameter, larger than that of the Capitol in Washington. More than $2 million was spent on its polished granite, its white and Siena marble, its mosaics and gilded bronze. At the center of the composition, Cobb placed a trompe-l’oeil oculus or eye where white clouds perpetually drifted across an azure sky. The unabashed expression of civic pride and Beaux Arts panache was destroyed in 1965-1966.” (Lost Chicago, David Lowe, page 214)
Preservation Chicago is committed to strengthening the vibrancy of Chicago’s economy and quality of life by championing our historic built environment. Preservation Chicago protects and revitalizes Chicago’s irreplaceable architecture, neighborhoods and urban green spaces. We influence stakeholders toward creative reuse and preservation through advocacy, outreach, education, and partnership.