One of the Windy City?s pioneering skyscrapers, the Fisher Building in Chicago was influenced by the Gothic churches in the European continent and is a prime product of the Chicago School of Architecture.
The Fisher Building takes its name after paper business tycoon Lucius Fisher. The first section of this iconic metropolitan tower was inaugurated in 1896. Composed of 18 stories, it lorded over Chicago at 230 feet or 70 meters and back then was the second highest building in the Windy City. Fisher Building?s blueprint was drawn by the architect Charles Atwood of the firm D.H. Burnham and Company.
Chicago residents were instantly impressed by the Fisher Building from the beginning. The steel frame of the structure was finished in a record-time of merely 25 days. The steel frame weighed a total of 12 tons which is why engineers utilized extra piles beneath the foundation of the structure to support its above normal heavy weight.
The Fisher Building signaled the start of a new period in skyscraper building in Chicago as it was built in the absence of any masonry. The steel skeleton of the building made way for bigger windows and thinner walls, not to mention it was less costly to construct.
In 1906, 20 more floors created by Peter J. Weber were added to the original structure. Fisher Building is popular for its distinct terra cotta trimming which is modeled after French Gothic structures. At the topmost levels there are expertly carved busts of mythical beasts and gigantic eagles. The terra cotta embellishments on the lower levels are more quirky depicting sea creatures such as crabs, fish and sea shells. These terra cotta ornamentations are playful allusions to Lucius Fisher?s name.
Inside, the Fisher Building is adorned with some of the most opulent materials of its time. The wainscoting is made from the finest Carrara marble. Exquisite mahogany wood was utilized in majority of the interior?s trim. A lot of the floors followed very intricate and multi-color pattern.
Eventually, the iconic Fisher Building was converted into a residential property and is now known as the Fisher Building City Apartments. The structure still maintains its early 20th century allure and a few of the building?s entrances still features the original mahogany borders and the names of some of the building?s pioneering occupants are engraved on its opaque glass doors.