The history of Chicago architecture is fascinating. The history of the history of Chicago architecture is even more fascinating. “This book grew out of an effort to understand the vast and varied man-made landscape that constitutes the Chicago metropolitan area and its hinterland.” So begins Robert Bruegmann’s study of the Chicago architectural firm of Holabird & Roche. The Architects and the City: Holabird & Roche of Chicago, 1880–1918 will, the author says, be supplemented by a second volume, covering the architects’ works in the 1920s and 1930s, when the firm became Holabird & Root. The author, a professor of architectural history at the University of Illinois at Chicago, is part of a revisionist band of interpreters of Chicago’s architectural heritage. These historians have done much to rekindle interest in relatively neglected facets of the city’s built environment, in particular the “Art...


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