Construction of Chicago’s central stadium just south of downtown was launched in 1919 and ended in 1924. Soldier Field name was adapted soon after as memorial to fallen American soldiers.
Its architecture was monumental from the start, corresponding with other buildings of Chicago’s lakeside. The U-shaped outer walls were built in Greco-Roman style with tall Doric colonnades on both east and west sides.
Initially immitating ancient buildings, these walls became a national historical landmark themselves over time. With citizens used to the stadium’s appearance, the proposal to rebuild Soldier Field in 2001 caused massive criticism.
Despite strong opposition the plan was carried out in a unique way – the outer walls were left intact, but all stands inside were rebuilt from scratch, growing well above the old structures. After reopening in 2003 the stadium still raised controversy, losing its national landmark status on one side, but on the other being awarded superiority in design excellence by the American Institute of Architects in 2004.