Begun in 2013, the remodelling and restoration work recently completed at the former London Guarantee & Accident Building (1923, Alfred S. Alschuler) has involved countless masons, metalworkers, tilers, heritage experts, architects, and engineers. The multi-million-dollar transformation of one of Chicago's most iconic structures from defunct office tower to the LondonHouse Hotel has resulted in a beautiful finished product inside and out. While the exterior limestone cladding and fine detail masonry and metal work were first to undergo a complete rehabilitation and restoration, equal attention to detail has gone into the interior restoration work that has brought out many of the fine period details, such as the rich gold copper ceilings, wrought iron, and marble cladding.
Sandwiched between the former London Guarantee & Accident Building and the Mather Tower (1928, Herbert Hugh Riddle), the new glass addition to the former office block and current LondonHouse Hotel, designed by Goettsch Partners for the Oxford Capital Group, sits flush with its neighbours on both sides, its exterior and interior transitioning seamlessly into that of the fully restored adjoining structure.
While the overall aesthetic effect of the restored limestone facade in contrast with the modern glass addition is impressive in its own right, a stroll through the interior public spaces within the historic structure highlights the extent to which the recently completed restoration efforts achieved a breathtaking level of care and attention to detail.
Through the main entry point into the historic portion of the hotel, it is immediately clear that no expense has been spared in the process of bringing the beautifully decorated lobby space back to life. Marble-clad and capped with a magnificently detailed vaulted ceiling, the main lobby transports visitors back to the Jazz Age with which the historic structure was long associated, the attention to detail here betraying a level of opulence not seen since the Roaring Twenties.
Featuring a series of hand-painted murals, each showcasing a historic cityscape scene of old Chicago, the vaulted ceiling within the old part of the hotel is truly the highlight of the main floor. Seen in detail below, the mural depicts the Chicago River as it existed at the time of the building's construction in the early 1920s.
Lovingly restored, the gold leaf detailing has been meticulously applied. The fine detailing performed on the coat of arms seen in the close-up image below highlights this fact. The work of many, many months, the restoration efforts undertaken on this aspect of the project are top-notch, with the period detailing appearing just as it would have upon its debut nearly a century ago.
Moving up to the roof, the second-most impressive feature of the restoration work is found atop the newly opened rooftop patio. The iconic neoclassical stone cupola is among the highlights of the reimagined outdoor space, and the panoramic views from the 21st floor make for a wonderful summer night amid the new and old skyscrapers of the world-famous Chicago skyline.
Indeed, for lovers of fine architecture, a visit to the LondonHouse Hotel's rooftop patio and bar is a must. The breathtaking views of the surrounding cityscape are more than worth the price of admission (free!). Chicago at its finest, the views from the top are unmatched, featuring several of the best examples of modern American architecture from the last 120 years.
|Related Companies:||Goettsch Partners, Oxford Capital Group|