Chicago, 7 Jul (ONA) --- When the building that first contained the central library and now the Chicago Cultural Center was completed in 1897 at a cost of more than $60, it was a symbol of the city’s rising importance and a beacon of culture and knowledge.
The latest change in what has been a multistep renovation of the building; a comprehensive, more than $15 million restoration of the Grand Army of the Republic Memorial Hall and Rotunda, is expected to be completed in February 2022 and help bring the structure back to its original magnificence.
Tim Samuelson, cultural historian emeritus for the city of Chicago said that the centre’s building was one of the best when it was built in the 1890s and it still is one of the best with its restoration in 2021.
The project will take one year as it brings together top preservation experts and artisans from the Chicago area and beyond. The project is funded by a grant from an anonymous donor; the largest private donation in the history of the city’s Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events.
Two key parts of the building in the north wing are the memorial hall and rotunda. Highlighting the rotunda is a dome 40 feet in diameter with 62,000 pieces of stained glass.
But as inevitably happens over time, the building suffered normal degradation, and elements were modified. A protective glass skylight over the rotunda dome was covered during a 1930s renovation, blocking natural light, and the meticulously layered colors of the walls were painted over in the 1970s.
This new project is meant to counteract those changes, restore the original look of rooms and upgrade electrical and technical infrastructure.
Mark Kelly, DCASE commissioner said that the renovation will return the lost color and gleam of the centre, making it similar to a Tiffany masterpiece, the American Chicago Sun-Times news reported.