If you are interested in beaux-arts architecture, be sure to put the Chicago Cultural Center on your Illinois vacation itinerary. The Boston firm Shepley, Rutan and Coolidge, designed this stunning building. Upon its completion in 1897, it was dedicated as the city's first public library. The Cultural Center Chicago was built at a cost of nearly two million dollars. It took its inspiration from the neo-classical style of the World's Columbian Exposition that was held in Chicago in 1893.
The structure of the Chicago Cultural Center is unique in its own right. It was built with three-foot thick masonry walls that are faced with Bedford limestone, which in turn are set 104 feet above a granite base. Some of the interesting mix of materials used in the interior design of the Cultural Center Chicago includes rare imported marbles, fine hardwood, stained glass, and polished brass. Additionally, you will enjoy seeing the fascinating mosaics, which are composed of Favrile glass, colored stone and mother-of-pearl. However, the most eye-catching features of the Cultural Center in Chicago are the magnificent stained-glass domes. Be sure to check out the 38-foot dome that is located in Preston Bradley Hall. This must-see attraction boasts the distinction of being the world's largest Tiffany stained-glass dome. The dome has an estimated value valued is $35 million. You should also look at the stained-glass dome in the G.A.R. Rotunda, which was executed in an intricate Renaissance pattern.
In 1977, the architectural firm of Holabird and Root renovated the Cultural Center in Chicago. Following the renovation, it was once again dedicated as the Chicago Public Library Cultural Center, and designated as a Chicago Landmark listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Then, in 1991, the building was reborn as the Chicago Cultural Center. That year, the Library relocated to the new state-of-the-art Harold Washington Library Center. Today, the Cultural Center in Chicago is the home of the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and one of the city's Visitor Information Centers.
The forms of the different halls in the Cultural Center Chicago were designed for different functions. For example, Preston Bradley Hall is the Chicago Cultural Center's major concert hall and civic reception area. It provides a marvelous setting for regular public programs, private parties, meetings, and receptions. The G.A. R Rotunda and Memorial Hall are elegant gathering places that can be made available for public exhibitions, performances and private events. Additionally, these areas sometimes serve as alternatives to Marriage Court for Saturday morning civil wedding ceremonies. At the Sidney R. Yates Gallery and Exhibit Hall, you can view major art exhibitions, whereas the Michigan Avenue Galleries provide a more intimate showcase for smaller art shows. The Chicago Rooms are usually engaged for special, temporary exhibitions of the Chicago Cultural Center.
The Landmark Chicago Gallery at the Cultural Center Chicago displays the fascinating historical photographs that have been gathered from the permanent collection of the Commission on Chicago Landmarks. The Dance Studio serves as a rehearsal space, and occasionally presents performances and workshops. At the 294-seat Claudia Cassidy Theater, you can enjoy a variety of literary and theatrical performances. If you enjoy jazz or folk music, be sure to stop in for a cup of coffee at the Randolph café, and enjoy the sounds of local artists.