Spotlight: Daniel Burnham

Spotlight: Daniel Burnham

The impact Daniel H. Burnham had on urban planning and the American city is still felt today, many years after his death, on what would have been his 168th birthday. Over the course of his lucrative career, Burnham pioneered some of the world's first skyscrapers, inspired the City Beautiful Movement with his vision for the World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago, and created urban plans for numerous cities before urban planning even existed as a profession. Burnham said of his unusual large scale thinking, "Make no little plans, they have no magic to stir men's blood."

Burnham might not have been quite as accomplished had he not found a perfectly suited business partner, John Wellborn Root, while working early on. The two formed their own firm, Burnham & Root, just a year after meeting. Burnham was business savvy and had a knack for strategic thinking, while Root was more artistic and creative. Of their harmonious partnership, their former boss Peter Right noted, "Root had the ability to carry to success anything that Burnham offered to do." Together, the two were wildly successful. After Root's untimely death in 1891, Burnham restructured their firm as D.H. Burnham and Company and went on to design buildings such as the Flatiron in New York City.

Story via PBS and Encyclopaedia Britannica

About this author
Cite: Jennifer Whelan. "Spotlight: Daniel Burnham" 04 Sep 2014. ArchDaily. Accessed . <> ISSN 0719-8884

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