Tiffany Glass at the Chicago Cultural Center

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The Chicago Cultural Center has many attributes including a great history and the current status as a cultural center that offers free events throughout the year. One of its most jaw-dropping characteristics, however, is the Tiffany glass that decorates the southern entry, stairway, and 38-foot-diameter dome. Chicago is no stranger to Tiffany glass. The nearby Macy’s (formerly Marshall-Fields) boasts an amazing vaulted ceiling of Tiffany glass. The dome at the Cultural Center is, however, the largest Tiffany dome in the world and consists of around 30,000 pieces of glass.

So what brought this amazingly-decorated building the Chicago? Following the Great Fire of 1871, a group of generous English donors donated some 8,000 books to the rebuilding city, not realizing that Chicago didn’t have a library. Of course, the city quickly built one and did not hold back in grandeur. The Cultural Center was built in 1897 as Chicago’s first central public library and quickly picked up the name, “the People’s Palace,” due to its palatial design and decorated halls.

Today you can visit the Chicago Cultural Center for free any day of the week. Its location across the street from Millennium Park and a few blocks from the Art Institute make it a great stop for tourists, and it’s rotating events and exhibits (including the current Chicago Architecture Biennial) make it popular with locals.

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Sources and Further Reading:

The City of Chicago has a page for the Chicago Cultural Center as well as a page detailing the building’s history.

Tiffany glass has shown up on my blog before! Once on Orcas Island (read: Extravagant Art in Improbable Places) and a Tiffany overview (read: Tiffany–Jewelry, Lamps, and… Ceilings?).

The Chicago Architecture Foundation on the Chicago Cultural Center.

If you visit the Chicago Cultural Center before January 9, 2018, make sure to check out the Chicago Architecture Biennial, currently showing.

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8 thoughts on “Tiffany Glass at the Chicago Cultural Center

  1. Chicago is becoming my wife’s and my getaway city — we were just there this weekend and saw The Nutcracker at The Auditorium Theater, the interior of which made my jaw drop. Anyway, your recent posts are providing a guide to all the places we need to put on our list to see when we are there!

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    1. I’m going to the Nutcracker soon and I’m very excited to see the White City interpretation. Also I’m glad my posts are turning into something of a Chicago guide. I just keep finding cool places!

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    1. Thank you! You should definitely add Chicago to your list—so many cool buildings, and this one is free & open to the public every day of the week. Doesn’t get better than that! 😀

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  2. Not many know this, but the dome restoration in 2008 discovered the stained glass panels had been reversed during a previous repair. So the glass texture had been turned outward. This was corrected when the glass was repaired and reinstalled.

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