18-story office building. Façade comprised of terra cotta masonry units and wood windows.
Designed in a French gothic revival style by D.H. Burnham & Company, the façade of the Fisher Building is a riotous mixture of terra cotta sea creatures and ornate detailing. Yet years of neglect and exposure to coal dust and auto exhaust had left the façade of the designated landmark building in a severe state of deterioration. In 1994, DESMAN Associates was retained to provide a condition assessment report for the exterior restoration of the building. The challenge was to develop temporary repair schemes that could be implemented immediately, but would no disrupt the architectural integrity of the historic terra cotta façade. The work was successfully completed in the summer of 1997.
In 1998, the Fisher Building was sold and slated for conversion from an office building into rental apartments. DESMAN was commissioned to provide architectural and engineering services for the exterior restoration of the building and return the façade to its 1896 appearance, in compliance with city, state, and federal requirements for landmark buildings. The work required replacement of over 4,000 terra cotta units and restoration of the three original entries and original wooden windows. DESMAN provided construction documents and on-site observation for the project.
DESMAN was presented with the Chicago Plan Commission Award for Preservation Excellence and the prestigious Driehaus Foundation Preservation Award for the firm’s efforts in the restoration of The Fisher Building. The project also received a Special Recognition Award at the AIA Chicago 2001 Design Excellence Awards. The Friends of Downtown presented their award for best restoration in 2002.