During the building boom following the famous fire of 1871, the Chicago-school architects, led by Sullivan, invented a new building type: the skyscraper. One of the masterpieces of the form was the Chicago Stock Exchange Building, completed in 1894. The staircases installed here were removed from the building when it was demolished in 1972. The copper-plated ironwork exemplifies Sullivan’s mature ornamental style—a combination of two-dimensional geometric shapes and naturalistic plantlike forms. Sullivan used similar motifs throughout the building, executing them in a variety of media, from stenciled canvas to molded plaster and terracotta.
Chicago Stock Exchange Building, Chicago; Three Oaks Wrecking and Lumber Company, Chicago, until 1972