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Preston Bradley Hall Tiffany Dome

Posted by
Steven (Chicagoland, United States) on 14 August 2014 in Art & Design and Portfolio.

I never thought I would make my way back to the Chicago Cultural Center, formerly the main branch of the Chicago Public Library this year. But on Saturday, August 9, 2014, I was there to attend the wedding reception of my cousin's daughter. What a beautiful venue for a wedding reception.

The unfortunate result is that I couldn't get down on "all fours" to capture the entire dome within the picture frame.

But what irked me the most was that the photographer that was hired by the wedding party had the nerve to say to me when I arrived with my Nikon in tow. He stated that I better not get in his way when it comes to taking pictures. He went on to show where he had both video and 35mm cameras set up and he didn't want to see me standing in front of those cameras to get the shot I wanted. I went on to tell him that I am not just an iPhone type of person who takes selfies, but am very professional and respectful of others. He then responded by saying that professional photographers tend to upset him the most.

Oh how I wanted to silence his negativism.

Pictured here is the Tiffany dome inside the Preston Bradley Hall where everyone danced the night away.

Approximately 38 feet in diameter, the Tiffany dome inside the Chicago Cultural Center spans more than 1,000 square feet. It contains approximately 30,000 pieces of glass in 243 sections within an ornate cast iron frame. The body of the dome has a “fish scale” pattern. The center, called the oculus, shows the signs of the zodiac. The interior stained glass dome originally was protected by an exterior translucent glass dome, which allowed much-needed natural light into what was then the Chicago library’s general delivery room.

During this project, the concrete and copper exterior dome that had been added during the 1930s was removed, once again allowing natural light to shine through the glass. This was added, I was told, to protect the dome from enemy attack as the country entered World War I. Now, natural light pours into the room, changing the subtle colors of the restored glass minute-by-minute, while all of the room’s decorative elements glow and harmonize. In addition to cleaning and repairing the art glass, the ornate cast iron framework of the dome was given a new application of its original finish. Delicate rosette lighting around the cornice of the dome also was refurbished.

The cost of restoring the Tiffany dome was approximately $2,200,000.00. What was interesting to note was the original cost of the building’s design and construction, including the Tiffany dome, was less than the cost of restoration. In early 1900’s dollars, it cost $2,000,000.00, with the Tiffany dome coming in at a cost of $120,000.00.

It was also amazing by how much the colors would change in the Tiffany dome as the earth continued to orbit the ever-setting sun. After touring the entire building, I am still amazed at the construction of the building, the marble decor and the mosaic friezes, all at a minimal cost of $2,000,000.00.
Along the bottom of the dome’s entire perimeter is a phrase by Joseph Addison (1672-1719) written in Roman lettering: “Books are the legacies that a great genius leaves to mankind which are delivered down from generation to generation as presents to the posterity of those who are yet unborn.” Remember that the building’s original function was a library when it was first built, not as a cultural center.

Photo captured August 9, 2014.

NIKON D7000 1/60 second F/3.5 ISO 800 27 mm (35mm equiv.)

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Spotlight Images

Harry from Apex, NC, United States

Lovely color and detail with judicious framing.

14 Aug 2014 5:51am

Dimitrios from ATHENS, Greece

very good

14 Aug 2014 7:46am

Ronnie 2¢ from Atlantic Shores, United Kingdom

Shots like this are notoriously difficult but this is brilliantly detailed - ISO 800 lives !

14 Aug 2014 7:57am

Evelyne Dubos from Le Mans, France

Wow superb dome! Great capture, lot of details.

14 Aug 2014 8:14am

FotoAnna ❀ from Mother earth, Netherlands

Amazing and so beautiful taken, Steven!

14 Aug 2014 8:22am

Nicou from Sion, Switzerland

Quelle coupole et image quelle vue quel effet et rendu superbe couleur et détail quelle architecture.

14 Aug 2014 8:50am

tataray from Charentes-Poitou, France

vraiment de toute beauté.
Excellente capture.)

14 Aug 2014 12:47pm

Tomek from Poznań, Poland

Impressive. Beautifully captured.:-)

14 Aug 2014 1:54pm

Ruthiebear from Titusville, NJ, United States

Magnificent! The viewpoint is stunning.

14 Aug 2014 2:04pm

Don from Spokane, United States

A fine shot of the delicate and intricate dome. It's a beauty!

14 Aug 2014 3:09pm

Calusarus from Drome des collines, France

Awesome !

14 Aug 2014 5:58pm

fereshteh. from Iran

WOW!!! So beautiful

14 Aug 2014 6:12pm

omid from mashhad, Iran

very nice shot!
such beautiful frame, colors, lighting, details & graphics!
A M A Z I N G !!!!

14 Aug 2014 7:07pm

Etsu from Kyoto, Japan

What a gorgeous ceiling !! Amazing details and excellent work. I'd like to actually see this some day.
Have a nice day, Steven. :)

15 Aug 2014 12:37am

Malaura from France

Impressionnant et merveilleux ! Amicalement :)

15 Aug 2014 12:47am

Elaine Hancock from Rockville, United States

Wow! What a gorgeous place for a wedding reception! So elegant! That guy was a real jerk. I hate people like that. Fabulous narrative. It is hard to imagine the price tag attached to the restoration! I guess it was well worth it seeing the results.

15 Aug 2014 1:00am

Michael Rawluk from Williams Lake, BC, Canada

Too many wedding photographers are rude to the guests. That is all I will say about that.

That is an amazing dome. A spectacular work of art.

15 Aug 2014 3:47am

L'Angevine from Angers, France


15 Aug 2014 8:09am

Shaahin Bahremand from Tehran, Iran

magnificent shot

15 Aug 2014 8:29am

Sam from Chennai, India

Stunning. Amazing details. Beautifully done. Excellent. :)

15 Aug 2014 5:46pm

maximage from Mase, Switzerland

Awesome shot! Wonderful details and POV. Very interesting explanation note too.

15 Aug 2014 9:02pm

Steve Rice from Olympia, United States

That photographer sounds like a really nice guy. ;-) Oh well, you probably got the best shot of the day. That dome is gorgeous.

16 Aug 2014 3:54am

Francisco Romero from Leon, Spain

Amazing work presented through your lens and an enjoyable description. About the photographer, they are having a very tough time nowadays.

17 Aug 2014 7:36pm

Baldwin Vandewalle from Bejuma, Venezuela

Amazing capture ... the details and colors of this dome are just spectacular !!!

17 Aug 2014 11:53pm

Mhelene from Villiers-sur-Marne, France

wow...Wonderful photo !

18 Aug 2014 11:15am

Malaura from France

Je reviens encore sur ce plafond que je j'adore regarder ! Je le trouve magnifique ! Amitiés :)

18 Aug 2014 1:02pm

Josep from Barcelona, Spain

Great framing and wonderful sharpness ! Impressive details, a world of them indeed !! Lovely colors.

20 Aug 2014 9:50am

Bruce from Tacoma, United States

The only thing equal to the photo is the detail explanation. Beautiful color and set up. Love it.

21 Aug 2014 2:51pm

Daryl Johnson from Worcester Park, United Kingdom

Quite mesmerising...!

25 Aug 2014 8:58pm

Barbara from Florida, United States

Well framed and captured, Steven. Domed ceiling present a challenge to capture all of it's details and beauty, you mastered it here.

29 Aug 2014 2:59pm

Frances Berry from Athens, GA, United States

Excellently done!

5 Sep 2014 4:32pm