Friedman Fine Art and http://www.chicago-photographs.com are pleased to present this magnificent historic black-and-white photograph of Chicago.
This vintage photograph of the historic Chicago landmark known as The Merchandise Mart, shows the vastness of what developers of the period wanted all buildings to embody, “goodness can be found in bigness” alluding to the thought of big equal great power and that large buildings can have many different functions.
Constructed in 1927, the architects Graham, Anderson, Probst and White (GAPW) completed this architectural marvel with a crew of 2,500 people and nine cranes setting it 25 stories high and two city blocks long dominating the Chicago River. With an interior of 4.5 million square feet in floor space and little over seven miles of hallways, the outside is laced with dramatic vertical lighting and the emerging modernism that inspired its chamfered (curved) corners with flat surfaces.
Still referred to by its old moniker of “Colossus of Marketplace,” the building itself is a mix of historically different architectural styles but is primarily influenced by Art Deco. Prior to its 1960’s renovation, the twenty-second and twenty-fourth stories of The Mart’s Tower had fifty-six Native American Chief heads as classical acroteria (architectural ornatement) in the geometric style of Art Deco. They were later removed due to the lack of visibility to pedestrians on the street and were replaced with cement columns. Outside of the building on the river walk lays the Merchandise Mart Hall of Fame constructed to honor the greatest merchants of America in the form of bronze busts such as: Marshall Field, Robert Elkington Wood, Julius Rosenwald and F.W. Woolworth. Akin to many other historic Chicago buildings, the Merchandise Mart was also inspired by Egyptian landmarks with its pyramid like tops making it a timeless design.
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