Daniel Hudson Burnham, FAIA (September 4, 1846 – June 1, 1912) was an American architect and urban designer. He was the Director of Works for the World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago. He took a leading role in the creation of master plans for the development of a number of cities, including Chicago and downtown Washington, D.C. He also designed several famous buildings, including the Flatiron Building in New York City and Union Station in Washington D.C.
Burnham was born in Henderson, New York and raised in Chicago, Illinois. His parents brought him up under the teachings of the Swedenborgian Church of New Jerusalem, which ingrained in him the strong belief that man should strive to be of service to others. After failing admissions tests for both Harvard and Yale, and an unsuccessful stint at politics, Burnham apprenticed as a draftsman under William LeBaron Jenney. At age 26, Burnham moved on to the Chicago offices of Carter, Drake, and Wight, where he met future business partner John Wellborn Root (1850–1891).
Burnham and Root were the architects of one of the first American skyscrapers: the Masonic Temple Building in Chicago. Measuring 21 stories and 302 feet, the Temple held claims as the tallest building of its time, but was torn down in 1939. Under the design influence of Root, the firm had produced modern buildings as part of the Chicago School. Following Root’s premature death from pneumonia in 1891, the firm became known as D.H. Burnham & Company and after Burnham's death as Graham, Burnham & Co. Its successor Graham, Anderson, Probst & White (GAP&W) is a Chicago architectural firm which exists to the present day.
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