One of Chicago’s true gems is the historic Rookery. Designed by Burnham & Root, it was home to their offices and completed in 1888. At 12 stories tall, it’s the oldest highrise still standing in Chicago’s Loop. One of its key features is its glass-covered central light court which was remodeled by Frank Lloyd Wright in 1905. He added a brightness to this space by adding white Carrera marble with Persian style ornamentation, which adds a sense of opulence with all the details and gold accents.
There are many areas to focus your attention. First, the elevator banks on the ground floor.
Once you enter the light court, look up and take in the beautiful details of the ceiling.
After climbing the stairs to the second floor, look west across the atrium for the base of the oriel staircase. A great opportunity to utilize symmetry.
The light-filled cubes on the floor cast a beautiful light throughout this space, even making for nice reflections in this doorway.
There are a number of opportunities to photograph the second-floor stairway that leads to the oriel staircase, along with the details in the supporting columns.
The most coveted area to photograph is the oriel staircase. There are tours weekly through the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation which take you as far as the third floor. The tours are great but can be a bit limiting photographically since you’re with a group and it can be quite rushed. Plus you only get to the third floor.
The most common shots you may come across of the staircase are looking up since it’s the area you can photograph during the weekly tours. This space is great both wide and detailed, as well as centered or at an angle.
The top down look is only available by gaining private access to the space during off business hours or if you happen to know someone in the building. But if you can gain access it’s well worth it since it’s not a perspective most have of this beautiful space!