Chicago Cultural Center
Backstory and Context
The Chicago Cultural Center was designed by Shepley, Rutan & Coolidge and built in 1897 to serve as the city’s first central library. The building was deemed a national historic place in 1972 and a Chicago landmark in 1976. In 1991, the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs designated the library to become the Chicago Cultural Center.
The building is made of rare imported marbles, polished brass, fine hardwoods, and mosaics of Favrile glass, mother-of-pearl and colored stone. The Chicago Cultural Center is home to the world’s largest stained glass Tiffany Dome, which measures 38 feet in diameter and contains 30,000 pieces of glass. The building also features the Healy & Millet Dome, a renaissance-style piece that measures 40 feet in diameter and is made of 50,000 pieces of glass. The neoclassical Beaux Arts style architecture was influenced by buildings at the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition.
The interior of the Chicago Cultural Center is made of rare marbles, mosaics, and coffered ceilings. The first floor houses several galleries, the visitor’s center, a studio theater, and a dance studio. On the second floor stands the Claudia Cassidy Theater, the Healy Millet Dome, and a gallery. Preston Bradley Hall and the Tiffany Dome reside on the third floor while more galleries and exhibit halls are on the fourth.