Chicago?s grand Auditorium Building is one of the structures framing Grant Park, the blueprint of which was created in 1889 by Sullivan and Adler. The Auditorium is one of the many towers which are collectively known together as the ?Michigan Cliff? which is a series of high-rises hovering over Grant Park. Eventually, this urban vista would be united through the 1909 Chicago Plan crafted by Daniel Burnham.
A well-known Chicago entrepreneur Ferdinand Peck commissioned the architectural firm of Adler and Sullivan in 1886 to design a complicated multi-purpose structure which would combine a cavernous opera house with a grand hotel and an office facility. During that era, the firm of Alder and Sullivan was popular for the theatres that they designed. The output was a great accomplishment in engineering and architecture. The greatly unequal distribution of the weight of load-supporting massive limestone and granite walls mandated for a never before done foundation system specially developed by Adler to even out the settlement of the building.
The Auditorium?s fa?ade showcases a bi-level coarse granite bottom crowned with a floor of aged limestone. Above this rustic element, a smooth limestone make up a flat wall surface starting from the fourth floor going up all the way to the tower.
The look of the fa?ade of the Auditorium is primarily modeled after H.H. Richardson?s work on the Marshall Field Wholesale Store which was found at Adams and Well up until 1930. The hotel section?s entryway situated at Michigan Avenue is marked by a trio of grand arches. The office segment of the complex was assigned to the west with its entrance at Wabash Avenue. Finally, the Auditorium?s entrance can be found on the south side under the seventeen-floor building.
The hotel and the offices were included to the Auditorium facility with the goal of financing the primary component of the project which is the grand theatre. This magnificent performance venue was the brainchild of Sullivan. His partner Dankmar Adler meanwhile developed a stage controlled by hydraulics. He also conceived one of the pioneering air-conditioning systems for public facilities.
The Auditorium was bought by Roosevelt University from Ferdinand Peck in 1946. The university still currently owns the Auditorium. No performances were held in the grand theatre beyond the 1930s which led to its closure. It was restored owing to the efforts of the Auditorium Theatre Council. The grand theatre opened its doors once again in 1968.