Designed by the Chicago architect Daniel Burnham, known for his
steel-framed terra-cotta and stone-clad skyscraper represents
first (and ultimately unsuccessful) attempt to create a new business
center north of Wall Street. They built it as a speculative project
with the intention of renting out offices to various commercial and
Bearing the influence of architectural trends introduced at the 1893 World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago, Burnham's eye-catching design combined elements of French and Italian Renaissance architecture in an effort to attract businesses to this formerly residential and retail-oriented neighborhood. The building's triangular plan was a clever response to the awkward site produced by the intersection of Broadway and Fifth Avenue. Its ornate but restrained facade is composed of stone and terra-cotta panels whose forms simulate the effects of rustication. Undulating bays break up the monotony of the building's tall midsection. The overall effect is that of a palazzo stretched to great height. Here, for the first time, the construction of a steel-framed skyscraper was witnessed in its entirety by the general public--a event which generated much response. The building fascinated photographers and was immortalized in the work of Edward Steichen and Alfred Steiglitz.