Lost & Found

It took decades, but a haunting photographic chronicle of buildings by Adler and Sullivan has now been published

More than a half-century ago, graduate students at Chicago's Institute of Design (later part of the Illinois Institute of Technology) began photographing the buildings of Dankmar Adler and Louis Sullivan, architects whose contributions forever changed the landscape of metropolitan America. Credited with more than 250 buildings, they designed some of Chicago most-beloved landmarks, including the Transportation Building at the 1892 World's Columbian Exposition (demolished at the conclusion of the fair), the Garrick Theater (demolished 1961), the Chicago Stock Exchange Building (demolished 1972), a residence for Sullivan's mother and brother (demolished 1970), and the Carson, Pirie, Scott and Company department store—now known as the Sullivan Center—which still delights passersby at 1 South State St. Richard Nickel, one of the original graduate students on the project, continued collecting photographs and renderings of the Adler and Sullivan masterworks until April 13, 1972, when he was killed while documenting and salvaging ornamentation inside the stock exchange, then in the midst of demolition.

The Richard Nickel Committee, under the direction of John Vinci and Ward Miller, recently published The Complete Architecture of Adler & Sullivan, a spectacular volume from which the following images were drawn. The committee's collection of more than 15,000 negatives, in addition to historical and reference resources files, has now been donated to the Ryerson & Burnham Libraries at the Art Institute of Chicago.

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