|[Field Museum of Natural History|
(1921) Peirce Anderson, designer,
Graham, Anderson, Probst & White;
Graham Burnham & Co.;
D.H. Burnham & Co.;
architects /Image & Artwork: designslinger]
If you weren't sure, you might wonder if that corrosively challenged marble maiden is holding up the porch roof of a classical Greek temple, but of course you'd be wrong. She is perched far from the Athenian Acropolis and stands proudly, though a little worse for wear, in Chicago near the shore of Lake Michigan. Built between 1915 and 1921, the Field Museum of Natural History was never intended to stand where it does today, but its classical facade was part of the plan from the get-go.
The majesty of Greco-Roman classicism had a big impact on a lot of people as a result of Chicago architect Daniel Burnham's embrace of the ancient decorative form as the style of choice at the World Columbian Exposition in 1893. One of those so impressed was the city's powerful and wealthy merchant prince Marshall Field. He had hired Burnham the year before to build the first portion of what would become one of the largest department store buildings in the country, so he and Burnham had established a relationship that went beyond one anothers professional interests. But by the time the Fair opened for business in May of 1893 Burnham had moved away from the heavy rusticated stone his lead designer Charles Atwood had produced for Field's Wabash Avenue extension, and had become the champion of the western traditions of architectural antiquity.