Merchant's Exchange Building

Daniel H. Burnham
1903




Like the Rookery and the Frick Building, this building by the Chicago architect (his only one in California), has a three-part structure: a base, a shaft, and a differentiated top. Classical as well as medieval Romanesque details are an important part of the architectural vocabulary. Unlike later skyscrapers as well as some of his earlier work, this building has less emphasis on verticality. The noted California architect, Julia Morgan (best known as the architect of Hearst's Castle), relocated her offices in 1907 to the top floor of this building, which had withstood the 1906 earthquake.
 
 

The main entrance

Not only does the entry seem like that of a Romanesque chuch, but the lobby is vaulted as well. Skyscraper design at this point in time borrows from two sources--Renaissance palazzi (the three-part structure) and medieval church architecture, the primary precedent for tall buildings.




Other Burnham buildings on this site include: the Frick Building, details of the Monadnock Building, the Pittsburgh Union Station, Reliance Building, and the Rookery.





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Copyright Mary Ann Sullivan. I have photographed (on site), scanned, and manipulated all the images on these pages. Please feel free to use them for personal or educational purposes. (I would appreciate being told if you find them useful.) They are not available for commercial purposes without my explicit permission.

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