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The Railway Exchange

224 S Michigan, Chicago, IL

The Railway Exchange Building at 224 S Michigan is an iconic part of Chicago’s architectural history and a preeminent example of the city’s innovation. Designed by D.H. Burnham and Frederick P. Dinkelberg in the early 20th century, the building features classical Beaux-Arts formal compositions, popularized by Burnham’s designs for the World’s Columbian Exposition. White-glazed terracotta envelops the exterior façade and interior court, and white-glazed brick lines the light well. Classical designs were also incorporated for the ornamental dentils, balusters, and column capitals.

EAA designed the building’s new standard for elevator lobbies, corridors, and restrooms. The design team prioritized complementing the historic design elements with updated materials and construction methods. Porcelain and marble that adorn the floors and walls echo the famed White City, while dark accent wall tiles and small-scale fixtures humanize the sense of scale. Coffered ceiling tiles decorate the building’s lobby, and individual light fixtures imitate the warm and elaborate accent lighting of the original design.