Stewart Building, corner of State and Washington Streets. D. H. Burnham & Co., 1897. (120 Photographic Views of Chicago, Rand McNally, 1909)
The Stewart represents the burgeoning idea in Burnham’s office that the structural frame could serve as a substrate for an applied program of Beaux-Arts ornament. Over the next decade the economic formula of these skins would change to allow stricter adherence to classical precedent, but as long as large windows demanded thinner piers, such styling was limited to the selection of ornamental elements attached to an otherwise neutral frame.
Taken from Chicago Skyscrapers, 1871-1934 (University of Illinois Press, June 2013).