Rookery Building

rookery-300Rookery Building

209 South LaSalle Street

Chicago, IL 60604

Built: 1888

Original Architects: Burnham and Root

Restoration Architect: Mary Brush, Klein & Hoffman


Building History
The Rookery Building was designed in 1888 by Burnham & Root.  The building is internationally acclaimed and a local and national landmark listed on the National Register of Historic Places.  Its innovative design includes a blend of structural systems including load bearing masonry on two elevations, a masonry curtain wall on the rear elevations, and an internal light court creating a void through the center of the building.  The building is acclaimed for its elegant architecture and its famed architects.

Preservation and Building Pathology Challenges
Klein and Hoffman was retained to perform the Critical 100% hands on inspection of the exterior walls.  As the Preservation Director, Mary Brush lead the design team and performed the majority of the swing stage inspection drops.  It was determined that previous restorations had clad the interior face of the parapet walls with EIFS, which trapped water within the masonry, exasperating the natural corrosion processes.  A phased multi-year facade restoration plan was developed to address the parapet concerns, terra cotta restoration, and masonry repairs on all walls of the building.

Design Solutions
The unique construction methods of the Rookery building revealed the unconventional use of steel rail road rails within the wall construction as lintel beams and support for terra cotta ornament. The steel lintel was embedded in mortar and Ms. Brush determined that the effect of removing it for replacement might cause more damage to the building than necessary and developed repair of the terra cotta in situ.  She also utilized historic photographs to create ornament that had been missing for decades.  The project was completed ahead of schedule and on budget.