Set in the core of Chicago’s financial area, at 209 South LaSalle Street, Daniel Burnham and John Root’s Rookery Building is a Chicago landmark, comprising of a bright and luminously articulated central light court remodeling by Frank Lloyd Wright.
When completed in 1888, The Rookery was one of the most elegant and largest commercial buildings in Chicago, housing more than 600 offices. The building’s name was carried over from a nickname given to the structures that occupied The Rookery site prior to its design. These buildings, Chicago’s temporary city hall and a water tank, were known popularly as “the rookery” because of the many birds that nested there and the likelihood of being “rooked” by the politicians in residence.
In 1898, when Frank Lloyd Wright opened his studio in Oak Park, he rented space in The Rookery Building to serve as his downtown Chicago office. In 1905, Wright was commissioned to update the interior design and plan of the light court and lobbies. He realized a stunning balance between Burnham & Root’s ornamental ironwork and his own vision to create a spectacular environment – one of his most vivid interior compositions.