The Main Building, Illinois Institute of Technology, was designed by architectural firm of Patten & Fisher in 1891 and completed in 1893. It was built with funds from Philip D. Armour, a prominent entrepreneur and innovator who founded Armour & Company, the company that established Chicago as the meatpacking capital of the world. The building was the first building constructed on the campus and was designed to hold classrooms and offices for the school, then known as the Armour Institute of Technology. Main Building is a designated Chicago Landmark, which places the structure among some of Chicago’s finest and most significant buildings.
Main Building has long been a prominent structure with the Illinois Institute of Technology, vvhich was forged from the merger of the Armour Institute and Levvis Institute in 1940 and later added the Institute of Design, Kent College of Law and the Stuart School of business. The Romanesque-Revival Style building was once the prime focus of the campus, housing classrooms, offices and studios along with neighboring Machinery Hall (also a Chicago Landmark) and Burnham & Boot’s Armour Mission Building, long since demolished. The structure remains as a prominent building on the campus and a reminder of the original institution. The building’s two-story sandstone base and massive walls, extend upward five stories and constructed of red brick above the second floor. The building incorporates large arched openings and fenestration with beautiful detailing along with its high rooflines. It is a fine example of the Romanesque Style of architecture.
In the last several years, IIT has invested significant funds to repair and restore many of the iconic modern buildings of Ludwig Mies van Der Bohe on its campus. Main Building is also in need of investment and restoration. llT is now seeking a developer to restore the building for adaptive reuse.
A Request for Proposals (RFP) has been recently issued and Preservation Chicago hopes that the inclusion of this building as part of our Chicago 7 will bring about a broader awareness of this important building. We applaud the efforts of the school in issuing an RFP, and want to encourage a historic preservation reuse of the building, which is highly visible from the Dan Ryan Expressway-I-90/l-94, and located across the highway from White Sox Park.