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  • Architect: Daniel Hudson Burnham, Chicago
  • 1897
  • 21 West Broad Street
  • Renovation: Richard Palencar, Columbus, 1978

An example of the so-called Chicago school of architecture, the eleven-story Wyandotte Building was the city’s first skyscraper, and is a wonderful sample of work by one of the great pioneers of American architecture, Daniel Burnham.  Utilizing the nascent constructional technology of the early skyscrapers, a masonry skin wraps the building’s steel structural frame. The vertical alignments of oriels, similar to bay windows, are one of Burnham’s trademarks, and were used to provide light, ventilation, and extra floor space on crowded city blocks. The ornamentation of the Wyandotte is elegantly simple and restrained, reinforcing the sculptural quality of its form and the inherently Classical division of its vertical dimension into base, shaft, and cap. The lower two stories comprising the building’s base have battered walls, which impart a sense of stability and permanence. The nine-story shaft is capped by an understated cornice that defers to the prominent oriel windows. Similarly, the detailed terra-cotta ornaments around the entrance contrast with the comparatively unadorned brickwork on the upper floors.

The Wyandotte Building originally housed the Wyandotte Building & Loan Company and other commercial tenants.  In 1916 the State of Ohio purchased the skyscraper for state offices, and in 1975 local investors purchased the Wyandotte and rehabilitated the interior for commercial office use.  The Columbus Chapter of the American Institute of Architects was located in this building until 2013.

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