Burnham was born September 4, 1846 in New York and was raised in Chicago, Illinois. He was an architect and urban planner with a bold and persuasive personality. He was the Director of Works for the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago that played a defining role in promoting Western innovation and industrialization. He also created the Plan of Chicago of 1909, which is one of the most notable and significant documents in the history of urban planning. Besides The Rookery, his more notable building designs include The Flatiron Building in New York City and Union Station in Washington DC, and The Reliance Building and The Monadnock Building in Chicago. Burnham died in 1912.
Root was born January 10, 1850 in Lumpkin, Georgia and was raised in Atlanta. When Atlanta fell during the American Civil War, he fled to Liverpool, United Kingdom. He eventually returned to study and receive his degree from New York University. He was one of the founders of the Chicago School style of architecture.
Before The Rookery, Root was designing tall buildings with a blank slate because no one had defined exactly what they should look like. In The Rookery, he created a weighty substantial base and emphasized the verticality by allocating more delicate details toward the top. Building investor Peter Brooks and Root himself were concerned about the ornamentation. Both appreciated and encouraged simplicity in architecture, and Brooks wrote that a “building throughout is to be for use and not for ornament.” Perhaps both men accepted this contradiction because of the desire to have The Rookery make a notable impression in the heart of the financial district.
Root died of pneumonia in 1891 at the young age of 41.
Frank Lloyd Wright was born June 8, 1867. He was an American architect, interior designer, writer, educator, and philosopher who designed more than 1,000 projects, of which more than 500 resulted in completed works.
Wright promoted organic architecture (exemplified by Fallingwater), originated the Prairie School of architecture (exemplified by the Robie House), and developed the concept of the Usonian home. His work includes original and innovative examples of many different building types, including offices, churches, schools, hotels, houses and museums. Wright also often designed many of the interior elements of his buildings, such as the furniture and stained glass.
Wright authored twenty books and numerous articles and was a popular lecturer in the United States and in Europe. Already well-known during his lifetime, Wright was recognized in 1991 by the American Institute of Architects as “the greatest American architect of all time.” Wright died in 1959.
William Drummond was born in 1876 in Newark, New Jersey. The Drummond family relocated to the west side of Chicago in 1886. Drummond was admitted to the University of Illinois School of Architecture in 1899. However, financial difficulties forced Drummond to leave the school after one year. Thereafter, Drummond began working in Chicago in the firm of Louis Sullivan. Several months later he went to work for Frank Lloyd Wright. Drummond would serve as the chief draftsman for several well-known commissions of Wright’s. Upon parting ways with Wright, Drummond entered private practice. He died in 1946.