The Garrick Theater (originally known as the Schiller Building) looms large in Chicago history – both as a masterpiece of Adler & Sullivan and as one of the earliest organized efforts to preserve an important part of our architectural heritage. This exclusive event will provide attendees with an intimate view of the building as experienced by architect John Vinci, who was on the front line to fight for its preservation, which then shifted to a salvage operation when demolition became imminent.
Vinci will discuss the formation of the Chicago Heritage Commission specifically to save the Garrick, and how it brought together individuals who went on to become leaders in Chicago’s preservation movement. He will analyze the building’s structure, from its two-story bridge trusses to its towering wrought iron phoenix columns, and detail the monumental effort that preserved significant sections of exterior terra cotta, interior cast plaster ornamentation, and wall stencil designs. The presentation will include a combination of black and white images, by fellow salvager and architectural photographer Richard Nickel, and Vinci’s own Kodachrome slides that not only capture Sullivan’s masterful design but also reveal their painstaking efforts to preserve that design through exhaustive documentation and methodical extraction of interior and exterior ornament during the building’s demolition in 1961.
A curated selection of original building fragments, photographic images, and other ephemera will be on display.
Co-sponsored by Bldg. 51 Museum. A partner program of the Chicago Architecture Biennial.
Image courtesy of the Richard Nickel Archive, Art Institute of Chicago
$10 per person / $8 members