Art Institute of Chicago, Museum and Gallery

Chicago, IL | 1893

Built for the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition, the Art Institute of Chicago was designed to accommodate the World’s Congress Auxiliary during the Exposition, and to serve as an art museum after the Exposition ended. The Institute building, with its Renaissance Revival limestone facade, was sited in a park setting on the east side of Michigan Avenue, where it has become a Chicago landmark.

The design of the Art Institute was one of two significant design competitions (with the Chicago Public Library) to establish Shepley Rutan and Coolidge as an architectural force in Chicago and across the US. To handle the two commissions the firm established a Chicago office in 1892, which Charles Coolidge ran for eight years.

The museum was founded as the Chicago Academy of Fine Arts in 1879. The School of the Art Institute of Chicago was founded as the Chicago Academy of Design in 1866 by a collective of studio artists, and the Art Institute of Chicago was born in 1882 to embrace both museum and school. The Art Institute remains the largest museum-school partnership in the country. Its collection now encompasses more than 5,000 years of human expression from cultures around the world.

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Shepley Bulfinch Team

Shepley Rutan and Coolidge


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