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photo: Carol M. Highsmith
The Boston architecture firm Shepley, Rutan & Coolidge inherited H. H. Richardson’s practice and completed many of his buildings. For the Art Institute commission, the firm abandoned Richardson’s Romanesque style in favor of the Classical Revival. Before becoming a permanent museum, the building hosted the scholarly conferences of the World’s Columbian Exposition. The AIA and Daniel Burnham convened the World’s Congress of Architects there in August 1893.