evolution of the skyscraper
architecture of Chicago
We attended this informative tour by the Chicago Architecture Foundation and learned how the Great Chicago Fire of 1871 destroyed almost every building in Chicago. The city was rebuilt with strict fire controls in place. Typical buildings were brick load bearing maximum 5 stories high, as this was consisted the highest people could walk. The invention of the escalator in the 1850's changed all that.
The Manadnock building completed in 1893 by architects Burnham and Root, rose to 17 stories high and was built using load bearing brickwork. When it was built, it was the world’s largest office building, however the walls are 6 feet thick at the base, with small openings for windows. Interestingly, the second half of the building looks like the first half but is built of steel construction! Windows are larger and let in more light and ventilation.
Photo credit: www.monadnockbuilding.com