Essential Architecture-  Chicago Loop South

Washington Block

architect

Frederick and Edward Baumann

location

40 N. Wells St.

date

1873-74

style

Ruskinian Gothic

construction

limestone cladding

type

Office Building
 
 
   
At the time of its construction, in the aftermath of the Fire of 1871, the Washington Block was one of the tallest buildings in the city. It is a critical link to understanding the evolution of the Chicago skyscraper, a rare surviving example of the use of the "isolated pier foundation," which was an engineering advancement that helped develop the high-rise office building. The ornate detailing of its virtually intact limestone facades makes the Washington Block a building of individual architectural distinction. The building originally featured an outside staircase that led to an ornate, second-floor corner entrance. The lobby still includes a rare example of a curving hardwood staircase.

links

With special thanks to the City of Chicago website, www.egov.cityofchicago.org , for much of the info on this page.
Photos copyright City of Chicago.
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