Chicago Board of Trade Building

Monday, 3 April 2017 - 11:00 am (CET/MEZ) Berlin | Author/Destination:
Category/Kategorie: General, Architecture
Reading Time:  7 minutes

© Antoine Taveneaux/cc-by-sa-3.0

© Antoine Taveneaux/cc-by-sa-3.0

The Chicago Board of Trade Building is a skyscraper located in Chicago. It stands at 141 W. Jackson Boulevard at the foot of the LaSalle Street canyon, in the Loop community area in Cook County. Built in 1930 and first designated a Chicago Landmark on May 4, 1977, the building was listed as a National Historic Landmark on June 2, 1978. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places on June 16, 1978. Originally built for the Chicago Board of Trade (CBOT), it is now the primary trading venue for the derivatives exchange, the CME Group, formed in 2007 by the merger of the CBOT and the Chicago Mercantile Exchange. In 2012, the CME Group sold the CBOT Building to a consortium of real estate investors, including GlenStar Properties LLC and USAA Real Estate Company. The 141 W. Jackson address hosted the former tallest building in Chicago designed by William W. Boyington before the current Holabird & Root structure, which held the same title for over 35 years until being surpassed in 1965 by the Richard J. Daley Center. The current structure is known for its art deco architecture, sculptures and large-scale stone carving, as well as large trading floors. An aluminum, three-story art deco statue of Ceres, goddess of agriculture (particularly grain), caps the building. The building is a popular sightseeing attraction and location for shooting movies, and its owners and management have won awards for efforts to preserve the building and for office management. Interest groups such as the Chicago Architecture Foundation provide scheduled tours showcasing the architecture and selected portions of the trading operations.

In 1925, the Chicago Board of Trade commissioned Holabird & Root to design the current building. The general contractors Hegeman & Harris built it for $11.3 million, although the reported twenty-year mortgage value was $12 million ($12 million in 1925 equates to about 160 million in 2017 dollars). Clad in gray Indiana limestone, topped with a copper pyramid roof, and standing on a site running 174 ft (53 m) east–west on Jackson Boulevard and 240 ft (73 m) north–south on LaSalle Street, the 605 ft (184 m) tall art deco-styled building opened on June 9, 1930. It serves as the southern border for the skyscrapers hugging LaSalle Street and is taller than surrounding structures for several blocks. The Chicago Board of Trade has operated continuously on its fourth floor since the 1930 opening, dedicating 19,000 square feet (1,800 m2) to what was then the world’s largest trading floor. The advent of steel frame structural systems allowed completely vertical construction; but as with many skyscrapers of the era, the exterior was designed with multiple setbacks at increasing heights, which served to allow additional light into the ever-deepening concrete valleys in urban cores. At night, the setbacks are upwardly lit by floodlights, further emphasizing the structure’s vertical elements. The night illumination design was a common contemporary Chicago architectural theme, seen also in the Wrigley Building, the Jewelers Building, the Palmolive Building, the LaSalle-Wacker Building, and the Tribune Tower.

© Guerinf/cc-by-sa-3.0 © Antoine Taveneaux/cc-by-sa-3.0 © Blhayes87/cc-by-sa-3.0 © Daniel Schwen/cc-by-sa-4.0 Goddes Ceres © TonyTheTiger/cc-by-sa-3.0
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Goddes Ceres © TonyTheTiger/cc-by-sa-3.0
Interior decoration includes polished surfaces throughout, the use of black and white marble, prominent vertical hallway trim, and an open three-story lobby which at the time of opening housed the world’s largest light fixture. Though One LaSalle Street had five more floors, the CBOT building was the first in Chicago to exceed a height of 600 ft (180 m). After surpassing the Chicago Temple Building, it was the tallest in Chicago until the Daley Center was completed in 1965. Known for its work on the Brooklyn Bridge, the family-operated factory of John A. Roebling supplied all of the cables used in the building’s 23 Otis elevators. Beneath the main trading floor over 2,700 miles (4,300 km) of telephone and telegraph wires were once hidden. No less than 150,000 miles (240,000 km) of wires (considered possibly the most direct long-distance wire from any building) once ran from the room. Although the building was commissioned for the Chicago Board of Trade, its first tenant was the Quaker Oats Company, which moved in on May 1, 1930.

Sculptural work by Alvin Meyer, the one-time head of Holabird & Root’s sculpture department, is prominent on the building’s façade, and represents the trading activities within. On each side of the 13 ft (4.0 m) diameter clock facing LaSalle Street are hooded figures, a Babylonian holding grain and a Native American holding corn. Similar figures are repeated at the uppermost corners of the central tower, just below the sloping roof. About 30 ft (9.1 m) above street level, representations of bulls protrude directly from the limestone cladding on the building’s north side and to a lesser degree on the east side, a reference to a bull market. The central structure is capped by a 6,500 pound, 31 ft (9.4 m) tall aluminum statue by sculptor John H. Storrs of the Roman goddess of grain, Ceres, holding a sheaf of wheat in the left hand and a bag of corn in the right hand, as a nod to the exchange’s heritage as a commodities market. This statue was assembled from 40 pieces. Commissioned in 1930 but removed from the agricultural trading room in 1973 and stored until 1982, John W. Norton‘s three-story mural of Ceres shown bare-breasted in a field of grain underwent extensive restoration in Spring Grove, Illinois by Louis Pomerantz before being displayed in the atrium of the 1980s addition.

Read more on architecture.org – Chicago Board of Trade Building and Wikipedia Chicago Board of Trade Building (Smart Traveler App by U.S. Department of State - Weather report by weather.com - Global Passport Power Rank - Travel Risk Map - Democracy Index - GDP according to IMF, UN, and World Bank - Global Competitiveness Report - Corruption Perceptions Index - Press Freedom Index - World Justice Project - Rule of Law Index - UN Human Development Index - Global Peace Index - Travel & Tourism Competitiveness Index). Photos by Wikimedia Commons. If you have a suggestion, critique, review or comment to this blog entry, we are looking forward to receive your e-mail at comment@wingsch.net. Please name the headline of the blog post to which your e-mail refers to in the subject line.






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