Pittsfield Building

Pittsfield Building
  1. About the Pittsfield Building in Chicago
    1. Building Catalogations
  2. Architect and team
  3. Architectureal style
  4. Spaces and uses
  5. Structure and materials

The Pittsfield Building is a Neogothic skyscraper designed by Graham, Anderson, Probst & White and built between 1926 and 1927 in Chicago, IL.

Its precise street address is 55 E. Washington Street, Chicago, IL. You can also find it on the map here.

The Pittsfield Building is a structure of significant importance both for the city of Chicago and the United States as a nation. The building embodies the distinctive characteristic features of the time in which it was built and the Neogothic style. Because of that, the Pittsfield Building was officially declared as a national landmark on November 6th 2002.

Building's timeline

Construction begins
Construction completed
Declared NL
years ago

Architect and team

Graham, Anderson, Probst & White was the architecture firm in charge of the architectural design.

Also known as GAP&W, the firm was founded in 1912 in Chicago, and remained active until 2006, when it finally closed its doors.

GAP&W is not only key in the evolution of Chicago's architecture because of the buildings they designed, which were many and nothing short of cutting-edge for their time, but also because two of their architects, Hubert Burnham and Daniel Burnham, eventually started their own practice, which became Burnham Brothers, yet another of the most influential firms the city has ever seen.

The firm's style evolved according to the times. Their first buildings had clear Beaux-Arts inspirations, but they eventually embraced the arrival of Art-Deco, as well as neogothic and neoclassicism.

Graham, Anderson, Probst & White was in charge of the architectural design, however, architecture is a complex discipline, which usually involves many professionals from different fields, without whom this building would have not been possible. We will surely be leaving out a lot of names here, but here is a list of the people we do know also played their part in making the Pittsfield Building a reality:

  • William Braeger in charge of Structural Engineering
  • Henry Ericsson and Co. as the Main Contractor

Architectural Style

The Pittsfield Building can be categorized as a Neogothic building.

The Neo-Gothic style, also known as Gothic Revival, emerged in the United States during the late 19th century, taking inspiration from the Gothic architecture found in Europe from centuries prior.

The Gothic Revival movement took elements characteristic of the Gothic buildings, such as pointed architect, ribbed vaults and flying buttresses, and applied them to newer buildings, even those belonging to typologies that did not exist during the original Gothic period, such as skyscrapers.

Neg-Gothic buildings usually feature pinnacles, gargoyles and other decorative elements that emphasize the verticality of the structure, and include stonework that features the craftsmanship of skilled artisans of the time.

The Pittsfield Building was completed in 1927. These were the late days of the Neogothic movement, which had been around for almost 200 years at the time.

Art-deco would soon take over US architecture, and therefore, even though Graham, Anderson, Probst & White didn't venture into what was cutting edge in terms of style at the time, and took instead a more conservative approach to the design of the Pittsfield Building, it is possible that the design already started showing some traits that would later become characteristic of the art-deco movement.

Spaces & Uses

The Pittsfield Building reaches an architectural height of 551ft (168m). It has a total of 41 floors, 38 above ground and 3 basements.

When it opened its doors to the public in 1927, the Pittsfield Building was primarily used as Medical space. That however, is no longer the case, and today it mainly provides Commercial space, with other complementary uses such as residential space.

551ft (168m)
3 basements

Materials & Structure

The Pittsfield Building uses a frame structure made of steel columns and concrete slabs.

A frame structure uses a combination of beams and columns to sustain the building's weight. The walls in this case are non-load bearing, which allows for more flexibility when distributing the interior spaces.

The facade is non-load bearing either, as it is common in frame structure type buildings.

From an aesthetic point of view, the facade features polished black granite on its ground story and grey terracotta on its upper floors.

Other materials found at the Pittsfield Building include, copper-clad, used to cover the distinctive pyramidal roof, and bronce, used for some of the most precious ornamentation.


  • www.chicago.gov