THIS EVENT IS SOLD OUT. THANK YOU FOR YOUR INTEREST.
VISIT SOON FOR SAH CHICAGO CHAPTER EVENT UPDATES!
Column Capital in Roosevelt University's Ganz Hall. Photo: HABS 1963
The Society of Architectural Historians National and the Chicago Chapter invite you to a special preview excerpt of the documentary film Louis Sullivan: The Struggle for American Architecture.
When complete this film will be the first ever feature-length documentary devoted to Sullivan and the passionate struggle to preserve his buildings. The film includes sumptuous photography and important archival material.
Friday November 7th, 2008
In Sullivan’s masterpiece Ganz Hall at
430 South Michigan Avenue
Reception: 5:30 pm
Preview Excerpt: 6:15 pm
Discussion with Director
Mark Richard Smith 6:45 pm
FREE for SAH National and Chicago Chapter Members
$10 for non-members
$5 for students
Space is limited.
The National Organization Society of Architectural Historians and the Chicago Chapter are truly grateful to Roosevelt University and the Chicago Center for Performing Arts.
MORE ON RUDOLPH GANZ MEMORIAL HALL - FROM THE CHICAGO CENTER FOR PERFORMING ARTS AT ROOSEVELT UNIVERSITY WEBSITE FROM A STUDY BY BOOTH HANSEN ARCHITECTS:
Ganz Hall was originally conceived as a banquet hall for the Auditorium Hotel after the building had already been constructed in 1890. Louis Sullivan, the architect of the building, was faced with trying to build a new large space within the world's largest mixed-use high-rise building. The only area available for constructing a room for banqueting was above the Auditorium Theatre.
The two primary innovations of the project were to design a special support system for a two-story structure and bring about a refined space capable of formal dining. First, Sullivan worked closely with his partner and structural engineer, Dankmar Adler, to develop a system of iron trusses. The entire frame of the building was constructed to span across the top of the Theatre similar to the long spans of bridge design. This was the first innovation of the project.
The Banquet Hall, entered from the seventh floor of the hotel, is a fine example of the refinement of the ornamentation, the second innovation. Sullivan used a unique and distinctive system of ornamentation such as carved wood panels and capitals, stenciled wall patterns, elaborate plaster work, gilded lighting fixtures, and the use of Michigan birch and gold leaf - all of which made the interior striking. A young apprentice working for Sullivan, Frank Lloyd Wright, had obtained much responsibility at the time and designed some of the ornament.
The ornament is quite intricate and well-developed. The columns are large tapered-over scaled piers with rounded corners from which the ornament "appears" from the grain of the wood. The piers were a modern expression of the time because Sullivan stripped away all the traditional Victorian details in lieu of a simple oversized design.
Around 1912, the Banquet Hall was used as a Masonic Lodge. The Masons made several alterations. The musicians' gallery at the north end of the hall was removed. A balcony was installed at the rear of the hall. They also sealed the center pair of doors, removed three of the stained glass windows, and painted the remaining windows black. The stencils were painted over and acoustical tiles were applied to the face of the beams.
In 1956, Chicago Musical College of Roosevelt University obtained the Hall. Many of the Masons' alterations were eliminated and the Hall was restored and converted to a recital hall. Under the direction of architect Crombie Taylor, the goal of restoring the room as closely as possible to the original ornamentation while providing an attractive hall for music recitals was begun. A stage and fixed theatre seating were installed to achieve this function. The majority of stencil patterns were recovered. Today, reproductions of the stencils remain on the back wall and in one of the arches as originally designed by Sullivan. However, some of the work that was planned, such as the stenciling on the beams and walls, and installing the ornamental light fixtures, was not completed at that time.
In 1980, architect John Vinci completed a project that helped control the environmental effects on the hall. A new roof and exterior wall system were installed along with new windows and skylights. Water that had been seeping into the Hall was eliminated. This was the beginning of keeping the Hall intact without further damage.
Work continues to restore the hall to its former splendor and provide adequately for use of the space as a recital hall. In 2001 the paintings lining the walls were removed and restored at the Art Institute. In the fall of 2002 the "electroliers" were recreated and installed, as well as a new HVAC system.
Ganz Hall history taken from a preliminary architectural report by Booth/Hansen & Associates, (c) 2004 Chicago College of Performing Arts.