Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Back to the Auditorium Building!

It does NOT look this nice outside. This photo is from my summer visit to Roosevelt University, which is that tall black building in the background. NO! Just kidding. That is the Sears Tower. We are the big square building in the middle of the picture. The Auditorium Building in Chicago, where Roosevelt University is located, is actually quite a historic building.

It was designed by the famous architects Dankmar Adler and Louis Sullivan. The firm Adler and Sullivan was transformative to the face of Chicago and American architecture, and  it is where the legendary Frank Lloyd Wright developed much of his architectural sensibility. When the building was dedicated by President Benjamin Harrison in 1889, it was the tallest building in Chicago and the largest building in the United States. 

It was also one of the first buildings in the world to be completely outfitted with electric bulbs. Throughout the building (the lobby with its grand staircase, the library with its plaster molded arches, and the breathtaking theatre), the chandeliers still feature plainly exposed lightbulbs in keeping with the building's original decor, which displayed the bulbs proudly as a sign of how modern it was. It also housed the largest theatre in the city until the opening of the Civic Opera House. 

I have not been inside Roosevelt's Auditorium Theatre yet, but I will see it shortly for the upcoming AWP conference, which is the largest and most important national conference for the literary community and creative writing programs in the United States. Art Spiegelman will be delivering the keynote address for the conference inside our theatre. Pretty exciting. More on that later. 

Anyway, the Auditorium Building is one of Chicago's gems. It was declared a National Historic Landmark by the US Department of Interior in 1975. The building is located on Michigan Avenue, with the Art Institute two blocks up the street, and it rests right in front of Grant Park where President Obama gave his 2008 election victory address. 

I missed coming to this building over the long winter break, and I am happy to be back. I can't believe this is the building where my school is!

Here are some more pics of the Auditorium Building, Roosevelt University:
1) stained glass windows in the stairwell
2) grand staircase in the front lobby on Michigan Ave
3) Auditorium Theatre
4) lobby entrance on Michigan Ave
5) Ganz Hall, Roosevelt University's smaller performance space


  1. Neat!

    Also, I love how you felt the need to clarify that the "tall black building" was the Sears Tower. Dork.

  2. Well, as a wise man (me) once said, never underestimate how... (thinking of a nice word) *unfamiliar* someone might be when it comes to certain things. yeah.

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  4. Thanks! you aspiring entrepreneur you.