Chicago Stock Exchange Building Entrance Arch (1893–94)

by Dankmar Adler and Louis Sullivan

The Art Institute boasts the world’s largest collections of architectural fragments from the renowned Chicago team of Adler and Sullivan. One of the highlights of the collection is this terracotta entrance arch from the Chicago Stock Exchange Building. Completed in 1894, the building stood at the southwest corner of LaSalle and Washington for nearly 80 years. In 1972, the architectural masterpiece was razed despite swarms of picketing demonstrators, scathing newspaper editorials, and the efforts of the Landmarks Preservation Council. Photographer and activist Richard Nickel made the ultimate sacrifice when he lost his life while attempting to save fragments of the Stock Exchange interior during the course of demolition. The Art Institute keeps the historic building alive with both the entrance arch installed in this public space and the permanent installation of the reconstructed Stock Exchange Trading Room in the museum’s east wing. The entrance arch, in particular, reflects Sullivan’s philosophy of “form follows function”: by spanning the building’s first two stories, the arch visually indicated the floors’ interrelated functions.