The Chicago Cultural Center is one of my favorite, if not the favorite, buildings in Chicago. It used to house the library, but it has been transformed into a tourist information center and exhibition space. The architecture is interesting, to say the least. On the north half of the building – it is Greek in character with military undertones. On the top of the grand staircase is a huge rotunda called the Grand Army of the Republic with ornamentation that reminds viewers of the loss that comes with war.
The architecture of the southern half of the building is Roman with inlaid ornamentation. Everything is marble here – white Italian Carrara from the same quarry that Michaelangelo used for his sculptures. The grand staircase with the beautiful inlaid mosaic leads to another huge room, the elegant the Preston Bradley Hall that occupies the width of the building and where events are normally held.
The main centerpieces of each half are the stained glass domes – both beautiful, both immense and grand. In the Northside, the dome is made of stained glass in the color of earth – tan, beige, and ocre. I love to photograph this dome – it used to be lighted naturally – but now it’s lighted electronically.
In the Southside is the crown jewel of the building – the breathtaking Tiffany Dome. At 38 feet in diameter, it’s the largest in the world. It’s really awe inspiring – but hard to photograph and hard to describe. You just have to be there.