Chicago exhibition by Norman Kelley includes Frank Lloyd Wright building fragments

Fragments of buildings by American architects such as Frank Lloyd Wright and Louis Sullivan have been displayed at a new exhibition in Chicago by US design studio Norman Kelley

A variety of fragments from iconic buildings are on display at the Art Institute of Chicago as part of a permanent exhibition called Architectural Fragments from Chicago.

Architectural Fragments from Chicago by Norman Kelley
Norman Kelley has created an exhibit of architectural fragments

Norman Kelley mounted multiple pieces of demolished or renovated Chicagoan buildings onto square grey panels measuring eight feet by eight feet (2.4 metres by 2.4 metres) with stainless steel, mirrored trim in the museum’s Henry Crown Gallery.

The exhibition includes approximately 27 architectural fragments and three lightboxes.

A large gallery space
The exhibit features pieces of notable Chicago buildings

The pieces displayed are sourced from local, architecturally significant buildings in order to illustrate and preserve Chicago’s built history.

Architectural fragments are part of a material history that speaks to past building practices, changing neighbourhoods, and evolving ways of life,” said the studio.

“Recuperated from demolished or renovated buildings, these pieces of facades or interiors help preserve the memory of architecturally or culturally significant structures long after their physical presence has been erased.”

Pieces of a building and a lightbox mounted with a stain glass window
Cornices, gates and other architectural stone and ironwork were mounted on grey panels

Architectural elements such as sections of cornices, wall panels, an elevator grille and a column are displayed.

The fragments were mounted across the space from a large stained glass window that is a part of the same exhibit.

Also among the pieces are an ornate circular ventilator grille and entrance door from Frank Lloyd Wright’s four-storey Francis Apartments, built in 1895 and demolished in 1971.

Both fragments display Wright’s early use of organic forms, informed by his mentor Louis Sullivan.

Stone and tiles affixed to a wall panel for display
The displays include work by Frank Lloyd Wright and Louis Sullivan. Top right: Facade Panel from the National Pythian Temple by Walter T. Bailey. Top left: Facade Panel from the Jordan Building by John N Coleman. Bottom right:

A cast iron cornice section and spandrel panel from Sullivan’s Gage Building, one of his last to be commissioned in Chicago, are also included. Both feature plant shapes and organic, curving lines.

Works from other architects include a facade panel from the National Pythian Temple by Walter T Bailey and a colourful section of floor tiles from the Mecca Apartments by Edbrooke and Burnham.

Pieces of buildings attached to a panel
The fragments were “recuperated” from historical buildings. Top left: Frieze Section from the Rothschild Store by Adler and Sullivan. Top Right: Newel Post from the Morris Selz House by Adler and Sullivan. Bottom left: Spandrel Panel from the Rosenfeld Building by Alder and Sullivan.

Lightbox installations include a geometric stained glass window from Frank Lloyd Wright’s Coonley Playhouse and the Tiffany Studios 1917 Hartwell Memorial Window that depicts a sprawling landscape of over 48 panels.

“While this installation represents many works by Chicago’s celebrated modern architects, other fragments come from buildings by lesser-known designers who were equally important in shaping spaces of activism, community, creativity and labor in our dynamic metropolis,” said the studio.

The fragments have been catalogued as part of the museum’s permanent collection.

A gate and pieces of iron work by Frank Lloyd Wright
An iron gate and ventilator grille from Wright’s Francis Apartments were included

Norman Kelley is based in Chicago and New Orleans and was founded by Thomas Kelley and Carrie Norman in 2012.

Elsewhere in Chicago, the studio recently completed an apartment renovation for a diverse collection of chairs and refreshed the lobby of a postmodern skyscraper.

The photography is by Nathan Keay.

Architectural Fragments from Chicago is on show at the Art Institute of Chicago permanently. For more exhibitions, events and talks in architecture and design, visit Dezeen Events Guide.

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