Skyscrapers

In the video lecture presented by Joanna Merwood-Salisbury, she explains the development and new innovation of skyscrapers. There were four skyscrapers that she focused on were: The Reliance, Monadnock Building, Masonic Temple and the Chicago Stock Exchange, all of which were located in Chicago. These four skyscrapers were huge innovations at the time when Chicago was growing faster than ever.

For one, the skyscrapers were space savers. As the city kept growing, they were running out of room for everyone. Instead of extending the city our horizontally, they chose to extend vertically. Some new inventions that made the skyscraper possible was the elevator, steel beams, and curtain wall construction. These buildings became the “new American style”. These buildings, because of the new materials were able to stand in harsh weather conditions such as wind and snow.

The early skyscrapers were viewed as products of their designers due to the fact of the “curtain wall construction”. Because of the steel beams creating the supporting frame inside, instead of having the support from the exterior walls, it allowed all types of designs to be created on the exterior walls. For example, one skyscraper may be seven stories tall but the designer created it to look like it only has three stories. The designer could have created this look or façade by extending windows vertically that continue through various floors. There could also be intricate designs on the base of the skyscraper, along the top, or even the spandrel.  

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