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)
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