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Educational 1895-1899

University of Chicago, University President's House (aka Harper, Dr. William R., Residence)

5855 S. University Ave., Chicago, IL
Henry Ives Cobb, 1895



Built of brick and trimmed in the Bedford limestone used in all of Cobb's university buildings, the President's House is almost free of historical reference and ornament. Historical photographs show a rich interior that contrasts with the restraint of the exterior. The library, for example, was lined with bookcases on its long sides. On one of the bookcases, there was a clerestory of pointed windows between which rise carved brackets supporting a wood-beamed ceiling. Still occupied by the current University President, the house has been much changed by its various occupants over the years. 

University of Chicago, Yerkes Observatory

373 W. Geneva St., Williams Bay, WI
Henry Ives Cobb, 1895-1897


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Built of brown brick and terracotta, Yerkes Observatory is composed of a large circular structure topped by a great dome at its west end connected to two smaller domed structures on the east end by a long, narrow laboratory and office structure. At the center of the long structure, the north and south entrances are each marked by triple arched porches surmounted by a rectangular pediment bearing a globe. Long rows of arched windows run the length of the connecting wing, while blind arcades encircle the domes. The well-scaled exterior ornament makes use of a wide variety of astronomically inspired fancies: moons, stars, dragons eating the sun, owls, Apollo and his chariot, etc. The central entrances open onto a mosaic-floored, skylit rotunda divided into eight sections by Corinthian pilasters supporting an elaborate frieze. The interior of the large western dome is paneled in dark wood with a balcony of wood and iron circling the interior near the point where the dome springs from the wall. This space houses a forty-inch refracting telescope, which is still the world's largest refracting telescope. Nowhere in Cobb's work is the program tied more appropriately to structure and the ornament relating to function, all creating one of the great buildings of the 1890s. In the early 2000s, the University of Chicago considered selling the property to a developer, but in the face of enormous community pressure, held off.

University of Chicago, Haskell, Frederick, Hall (aka Haskell Oriental Museum)

5836-5846 S. Greenwood Ave., Chicago, IL
Henry Ives Cobb, 1896



Located just to the east of Cobb Hall in the midst of the central quadrangle, Haskell Hall is a simple building designed to form a larger composition with the Walker Museum. The building originally served as a museum and exhibited collections gathered by the archaeologist James Henry Breasted, which would later form the nucleus of the Oriental Institute's collections.

University of Chicago, design for a chapel

Hyde Park, Chicago, IL
Henry Ives Cobb, c.1896

A rendering of this project was published in Inland Architect in August 1896, v. 28, n. 1.

University of Chicago, Hull Court & Biological Laboratories
(aka University of Chicago, Hull Biological Laboratories; University of Chicago, Anatomy Building; University of Chicago, Botany Building; University of Chicago, Culver Hall; University of Chicago, Physiology Building [now Zoology Building])

5747 S. Ellis Ave., Chicago, IL
Henry Ives Cobb, 1897


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The original four science buildings surround Hull Court. In the 1893 plan, Cobb envisioned joining all four buildings to a central octagonal lecture hall. As erected, none of the four buildings has an entrance directly opening on Hull Court, but, instead, they are connected by loggias. The Anatomy and Zoology Buildings, balanced in massing but not similarly detailed, face 57th St. and are connected by a loggia leading to the stone gateway that is now the principal entrance to the main quadrangle. Without street frontage, Culver Hall and the Botany Building are entered from the quadrangles to the east and west of Hull Court. Though the four buildings are similar in style and size, they differ in detail. The buildings facing the quadrangles have a flat ornament similar to Cobb's other work on campus.