Slavick (4) explains that Chicago School refers to building designs in the early 19th Century. Turak (60) claim that Chicago is indeed the birthplace of skyscrapers. In 1880’s Chicago manages to develop architects referred as the First Chicago School (Turak 60). At this time, Chicago is the second largest metropolis with a high population growth in America. People consider building large commercial buildings since low-level buildings are inefficient. Chicago experiences a booming economy and a lot of innovation that enables the building of skyscrapers to allow for more space for business people.
Chicago buildings in this era display diverse styles and techniques. Chicago School has some of the famous architectural designs in the world. This was because the city ranks among the first in promoting new technologies in designing commercial buildings. This architectural design applied since the 19th Century by some of the best designers in Chicago (Slavick 4). Architecture in Chicago School is the initiators of the steel-frame technology, masonry cladding, large plate glass windows, and the tube frame structure to set up the commercial buildings (Weisman 312). Additionally, architects in the region pioneer the skyscrapers that embody a base, column shaft, and the capital. Chicago School influences most of the European buildings towards modernization. Cultural associations in this era lead to industrialization and the rapid growth of cities such as Chicago. Turak(61)says that the glass-plate window that originates from this school has a large center panel and two smaller windows. Architects of Chicago School include William Le Baron Jenney who is the first Chicago School Architect in the early 19th Century and Louis Sullivan, a student of Le Baron. Le Baron and Sullivan are the forerunners of the future of Chicago School architects.
Le Baron is a strict utilitarian, rationalist, and has expertise in designing up good buildings (Turak 61). Other acclaimed architects in the Chicago School include Dankmar, William Holabird, John Root, among other architects. Among the buildings designed by the Chicago School, include Reliance building, Sullivan Center, Fisher Building, Brooks Building, Auditorium building, and the Home Insurance Building. This paper compares and contrasts the Manhattan Building and the Home Insurance Building designed in the early 19th Century.
William Le baron Jenny gets credit for designing the Home Insurance Building as the first ever skyscraper in 1885 (condit 334). Le Baron builds the Home Insurance amidst a building frenzy after the incidence of the Great Chicago Fire since most of the buildings are largely from wood. The building boom helps the flourishing of the economy since the structure has a design that allows the accommodation of higher spaces to meet the demand (Weisman 313).
According to the worldview, Le Baron is the father of the Modern Skyscraper in the United States since he manages to complete the building first and mentors other designs such as Sullivan and Burnham (Condit 334). The home Insurance Building stood at the corner of Adams and LaSalle Illinois, Chicago. This building had 10 stories at a height of 138 feet. In the face of restructuring, urban planners demolish this building in 1931(Slavick 5).
Currently LaSalle Bank Building, another skyscraper stands at the former position of Home Insurance after demolishment. Slavick (7) evidences that the Home Insurance is the very fast skyscraper that applies the steel technology. Le Baron an engineer uses steel to create a light framework to support the exterior walls. Prior to this, tall buildings in that era use thick stone and earthen walls to support the tower. The traditional set up has a structured weight due to interior column and beams that make it difficult to add more floors, since the building can collapse. Consequently, most of the building has a limitation of natural light due to their thick walls. To counter this drawback, Le Baron uses an internal cage of iron and steel to enable a light exterior. Home Insurance has outermost iron columns that are clad in masonry so as to ensure they remain fireproof. This skyscraper has an internal setting of metal frames to support the weight of the structure. The metal frames are made of Iron rather than steel.
This building uses iron up to the sixth floor and thereafter uses steel. Le Baron Switch from iron since it is brittle in the presence of fire and likely to warp. Home Building had steel columns clad in masonry on the exterior this makes it fire resistant.
According to Condit (340) Le Baron has a solution to the thick dark buildings that fail to attract tenants in that Le Baron utilizes an inner skeleton of the vertical columns and horizontal beams made from steel. Steel is light than brick and accommodates more weight. This technique permits light masonry walls to hang like curtains from the steel frame. This enables the development of higher floors without the building collapsing due to own weight. This frame allows for more windows and enables penetration of natural light in the entire building. Originally, Home Insurance Building has 10 stories that stretch 138 feet (Slavick 7). During the process of construction, city corps halts the process to perform measures to ensure safety. Construction continues in 1890 where two additional floors are added, and the Home Insurance stands at 180 feet (Condit 341). This building provides a blueprint for the future skyscrapers built in the era. The construction industry benefits from this invention of a steel-framed skyscraper and sets it as a standard to build future tall buildings.
The Manhattan building is the works of William Le Baron in 1889 (Weisman 12). This structure uses an internal skeleton of metal to support the weight of the building. Manhattan Building is the only surviving piece of architecture of William Le Baron Jenny that has the embodiment of steel-frame structure.
This building is the third-oldest survivor of an elaborate high-rise structure in Chicago. The other two early skyscrapers are Rookery and Auditorium. Manhattan building is an example of the skyscraper architecture of early 19th Century (Weisman 12).
According to Turak (62), the mayor of Chicago Metropolis declares Manhattan Building a landmark in 1976. This building is not the first skyscraper in the world. The Chicago Manhattan offers a glimpse of the historic Chicago architecture. This structure enables one to understand the historic utilitarian structures set up by the Chicago School. This building has 16 stories situated in Dearborn, Illinois.
Manhattan Building is the tallest building at the time of its completion in 1891 (Turak 62). This building is one of the oldest skyscraper in the world that has loop elevated system and pure skeletal frames. The Manhattan has an archaic beauty among all the other skyscrapers in the 19th Century.
The sixteen-story building has left and right symmetry but has an imbalance from top to bottom in respect to structure and material used. The first three floors of the Manhattan have granite that is heavy to reduce the load of upper floors. The top 13 floors have bricks that are lighter than granite (Turak 62).
The top eight floors preceding the granite floor has bay windows. The north and south region of the building has round bays in each floor and a polygonal bay in each floor. The rest of the upper five floors do not have round bays. This is because architects plan this design at a later stage in the restructuring of the building to enable the penetration of light in the entire building. The Manhattan pushes outward on the north and south sides at the tenth floor. At this region, there is the presence of cantilevered steel. Bay windows have floralesque ornamentation. This building has an artistic beauty when compared to most of the acclaimed structures of Chicago School.
Windows of the Manhattan have distinctive bays to provide natural light to the interior spaces. The combination of granite in the lower three floors and brick facade in the upper floors helps to reduce the weight of steel framework. The primary goal of Le Baron in constructing the Manhattan Building is to allow for maximum penetration of natural light. This translates to the creation of a cellular wall and the bay window emphasis that has a polygonal bay and bow windows. Manhattan uses a liberal design in the aesthetics. The building has an intricate display of ornaments.
The architect William Le Baron pioneers the development of Home Insurance and Manhattan Buildings. Both buildings are home to the renowned First Chicago School in the early 19th Centuries. Both buildings are constructed in Illinois Chicago and used the same architectural style as skyscrapers.
Manhattan building takes three years to complete from 1889 to 1891(Turak 61). This building is renovated in 1982 (Weisman 314). Both buildings apply a mixture of steel and iron in their base structure. Both buildings are considered the world’s tallest building at their time of completion. While the Home Insurance is the first ever skyscraper in the world to use the steel technology, the Mayor names Manhattan as a Chicago Landmark in 1976(Weisman 314). This is because the building is the oldest surviving steel-frame building in the historic Chicago School of Architecture in the 19th Century (Turak 62).
While the Home Insurance is the first ever skyscraper to use steel as fireproof measure, Manhattan is the first building to use vertical truss to withstand the wind forces. Both buildings are subject to renovation after completion. Home Insurance originally was ten floors and ended up as twelve floors. Manhattan originally was twelve and ended up as sixteen. This building has a rigid frame to brace itself from the wind forces.
Both buildings mark a transition at the time of their invention. At the time of constructing the Home Insurance, the architectural designed used was used like a standard in building the future skyscrapers. The Manhattan incorporates the invention of the elevator that applies in all modern skyscrapers.
The Home Insurance is an invention designed to counter fires as Home Insurance uses steel since it is light, and since it allows the installation of higher floors in a building. Manhattan still stands today as a landmark building where modern architects can take a glimpse of their predecessors work. Urban planners demolished Home Insurance in 1931 and replaced the building at that place (Turak 61).
Manhattan Building stands at close to 52 meters and has 16 floors above the ground. The construction of Home Insurance starts in 1884 and ends in 1885 the building stood at 55 meters. Originally, the architect had anticipated for 10 floors, but in 1890, two more floors were constructed. Manhattan and Home Insurance apply window bay design to ensure maximum ventilation and penetration of natural light in the interior of the building. The design of Home Insurance uses skeleton construction and glass curtain that was common in that era while the Manhattan uses the wind bracing aspect of design.
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Slavick, Ann. Hour Chicago Twenty-five 60-Minute Self-guided Tours of Chicago's Great Architecture and Art.. Lanham: Ivan R. Dee, 2008. Print.
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