View of the Rookery Building's Atrium space as you look north toward the entrance beyond the bank of elevators. An oriel staircase you see that lands on the mezzanine level of the atrium space. Before the major renovation undertaken by McClier Architects in 1988, the atrium had undergone extensive change in prior decades. Maintenance trumped natural light aesthetics, and the skylight of the Atrium was covered with waterproofing and paint. Most of the previously translucent surfaces, like the windows, were also painted over. These changes transformed the space, robbing it of its airy, fanciful atmosphere that once made the Rookery unique. In subsequent years the skylight was tarred over and painted many times which transformed the light-filled space to an illuminated cave.
McClier restored the court’s glass ceiling, protecting it and the light well by installing a new skylight at roof level. In essence, a skylight above a skylight. They also uncovered original mosaic floor fragments, from which they extrapolated a new overall design for the floor.
My visit to The Rookery on March 28, 2019 was compromised by the atrium space being occupied by planners preparing the space for a wedding two days later. So I present to you a shot from my archives taken in 2011. Much of the space looks exactly the same eight years later.
Photo captured March 8, 2011.
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