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The Architects and the City

Holabird & Roche of Chicago, 1880-1918

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.

562 pages | 180 halftones, 5 maps, 100 line drawings | © 1997

Chicago Architecture and Urbanism

Architecture: American Architecture, History of Architecture

Table of Contents

1: The Founding of the Firm
2: The Partners: William Holabird and Martin Roche
3: The Firm
4: Labor Unrest and the Creation of Fort Sheridan
5: Capital, Technology, and the Tall Office Building: The Tacoma
6: The Skyscraper and the City: The Marquette 1
7: The Skyscraper and the City: The Marquette 2
8: Along Leafy Avenues: William Holabird’s Evanston
9: The Firm
10: State Street in the Nineties
11: Theme and Variation: The Loft Building
12: Terra Cotta on State Street: The Department Store and the Tall Shops Building
13: Golfing in the Suburbs: The Glen View Golf and Polo Club
14: Fishing in the Wilderness: The Coleman Lake Club
15: The Firm
16: Palaces of Democracy: The Business Hotel
17: Civic Grandeur, Civic Squalor: Cook County Courthouse and Chicago City Hall
18: Terra Cotta on South Michigan Avenue: Automobile Row
19: At the Corner of Michigan and Monroe: The University Club and the Monroe Building
20: The Architecture of Communications: Buildings for the Chicago Telephone Company
21: By Way of Conclusion: The Three Arts Club, Holabird & Roche, and the American City
Abbreviated Catalog of Works by Holabird & Roche, 1880-1918
Sources of Information


Association of American Publishers: PROSE Book Award
Honorable Mention

Society of Architectural Historians: Spiro Kostof Book Award

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