I almost feel ashamed to admit that as a native Chicagoan this building was not initially on my radar. In fact, I even work just a few blocks away from this architectural masterpiece and never thought to visit. I’m happy that I changed all of that by stumbling into The Rookery by chance.
The building itself was designed by Daniel Burnham, who has left his mark on various buildings around Chicago. The exterior of the building is striking itself with unique ornamentation and reddish brown stone. Once I walked inside, the light, marble and design made how special the building was obvious.
The tour explains that the lobby was initially designed in 1888 but was recommissioned in 1905 and spruced up by the legendary Frank Lloyd Wright. The lobby, or light court as it’s called, is truly spectacular. The bright lights interplay with all the iron and metal work in the initial building design. Just above the entrance is a spiral staircase that hangs from the second floor. Standing just underneath that staircase on the group level, I could see the ornate spirals rising to the upper levels.
Let me start by saying that anyone can walk into the lobby of the building and witness the stunning interior architecture from the first floor for free. The Frank Lloyd Wright Trust also does a tour of the first floor and spiral staircase on weekdays. On Wednesdays the tour also includes a visit to the Burnham library.