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Landmark Center (Metropolitan Block)

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1874, William LeBaron Jenney; O. T. LaSalle, builder. 772 Main St.

Prominent Chicago architect Jenney designed the Metropolitan Block with understated elegance. Jenney is best known for his innovative structural systems for tall buildings and has been called the “father of the American skyscraper.” However, the Metropolitan Block predates that work and employs the then-common masonry load-bearing wall. He designed the building in a sophisticated variation on the Italianate theme, using cream brick. By wrapping the building in stringcourses, Jenney divided it horizontally into four distinctive segments. Above the altered storefront level, windows are set into segmental-arched openings and linked together by brick stringcourses composed of dogtooth soldiers. A wide, elaborate cornice at the third floor incorporates multiple layers of ornamental brickwork. The extremely tall windows on the third story flood the meeting hall inside with light. Their height reflects Jenney’s interest in maximizing natural lighting, which eventually led to his development of skeletal framing methods.

Writing Credits

Author: 
Marsha Weisiger et al.
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Citation

Marsha Weisiger et al., "Landmark Center (Metropolitan Block)", [Lake Geneva, Wisconsin], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—, http://sah-archipedia.org/buildings/WI-01-WL3.

Print Source

Buildings of Wisconsin

Buildings of Wisconsin, Marsha Weisiger and contributors. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2017, 183-183.

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