Welcome to CornerSpotter, Curbed's regular game in which you, fair readers, consult archival streetscape photos or postcard illustrations to identify the building(s) and/or location presented. Time to tap that reservoir of urban minutiae and flaunt it before your fellow readers. Fire away in the comments, and we'll reveal the correct identity and backstory tomorrow.
Just by looking at this late-1800s construction shot, you know the steel frame represents a significant engineering and architectural undertaking. For starters, there weren't many buildings of this height 125 years ago. Secondly, you can't tell from the skeletal framing but this still-standing tower was being positioned for big risks in curtain wall composition: 85% of the facade is glass— whatever fit between the beams—with the remainder dressed in terra cotta. The broad windows weren't arbitrary design— the building's primary tenancy benefited greatly from the generous natural lighting. The slender 15-story building is a quintessential early skyscraper, and a big architectural draw. What's the word?
·Cornerspotter [Curbed Chicago]