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The Industrial Revolution had so changed technology and design that old concepts no longer seemed right. Starting in 1840, leading artists, designers, and critics tried to develop new approaches to architecture. Modern architecture has its roots in a number of different origins. One of the persistent ideas in 20th-century architecture, however, is the belief of many, engineers as well as architects, that "beauty could be seen in the clear expression of the structural properties of the new materials" (Curtis 25).
As iron, glass, and steel became available, building construction was no longer limited to stone and wood. One structure built for the Paris World's Fair of 1889 showed this exactly. The Eiffel Tower, by Gustave Alexandre
Eiffel, which was seven-thousand tons of steel, was erected to soar nine-hundred eighty-four feet into the sky, as part of the centennial celebration of the French
Revolution. Like this steel skeleton many other buildings would soon use the same type of way to build. High-rise buildings were made possible by the building of a steel cage, on which to hang the floors and walls. The basic skyscraper office building took form in Chicago by the 1890s and spread rapidly elsewhere. Involved were some exceptionally able architects, including members of the Chicago School.
The Chicago School, an American architectural movement based in late 19th-century Chicago, was the first manifestation of modern architecture. The architect-engineer William Le Baron Jenney built the ten-story Home Insurance Building in Chicago, using for the first time an all-metal skeleton of cast-iron columns and steel beams to support the masonry shell of floors and walls, creating the prototype for all skyscraper design.
William Le Baron Jenney, an American architect and engineer, used new construction methods that would earn him the title "Father of the Skyscraper". After completing
his architectural and engineering education in Paris, he came back to the U.S. and served as an engineer in the Union army during the American Civil War. After the war Jenney settled in Chicago, where he opened his own architectural office, where many members of the Chicago School served their architectural apprenticeships on his staff, including Louis Sullivan. Jenney's greatest contribution to architecture was his pioneering use of metal frame construction for large buildings, first used in his Home Insurance Company Building. Jenny's revolutionary method of building, termed curtain wall construction, remains the basic design for tall buildings, now known as skyscrapers.
There were many other different architects that were part of the Chicago School, which fought against the normal, more conventional, ways of architecture. Some of these were men like Daniel Burnham, William Holabird, and Louis Sullivan.
Daniel Burnham, architect and urban planner, was born in Henderson, New York. At the age of 26 he formed a partnership with the architect John W. Root in Chicago. Burnham was administrator and Root was the designer.
Together they were "among those who lead the Chicago School" (Curtis 63), and built some of the first steel-
frame structures, such as the Montauk Block, that were the beginnings of the modern skyscrapers. Their many projects in Chicago included the Masonic Temple, which was at the time, the tallest building in the world. They also helped to plan the 1893 World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago.
Root died before the project was completed, but Burnham continued as chief of construction. The Exposition featured lavish pavilions, designed by the leading architects of that time. "Burnham's plans, with its monumental buildings and strongly axial layout, exerted a great influence on town planning in the early 20th century" (www.ci.chi.il.us). In Burnham's later buildings, such as the towering Flatiron Building in New York City, the steel frame was hidden by traditional beaux-arts facing. He was also a member of the commission to enhance Washington D.C. Burnham's most famous project was his Plan of Chicago. "This comprehensive design was intended to forestall the chaos of random urban growth" (www.public.iastate.edu). It included plans for a civic center with radiating boulevards, a system of city parks,
and preservation of the Lake Michigan lakefront. Burnham also designed plans for the cities of Baltimore, Maryland; Buffalo, New York; Cleveland, Ohio and San Fr
Quotes talked about in this paper
- Sullivan said: "By a feat of visionary abstraction the artist was to dig below the surface of his society and see he inner meaning of human institutions, then give them an appropriate form".
- he began to use these understandings of family life, he produced a new form for the family home, which would be known as the "prairie house".
- He believed "architectural form must ultimately be determined in each case by the particular function of the building, its environment, and the type of materials employed in the structure".
- Frank Lloyd Wright said this about Fallingwater: "Fallingwater is a great blessing - one of the great blessings to be experienced here on earth. I think nothing 14 yet ever equaled the coordination, sympathetic expression of the great principle of repose where forest and stream and rock and all the elements of structure are combined so quietly that really you listen not to any noise whatsoever although the music of the stream is there. But you listen to Fallingwater the way you listen to the quiet of the country..." "In contemporary architecture and justly one of the most famous modern houses in the world"
Names referenced in this essay
Frank Lloyd Wright, Louis Sullivan, Baron Jenney, Wright, William Holabird, administrator and Root, John W. Root, a teenager, Martin Roche, Edgar J. Kaufmann, Jenny, Gustave Alexandre,
Organizations included in this term paper
Locations talked about in this report
Chicago, New York, United States, New York City, Paris, Buffalo,
Facility talked about in this research material
Auditorium Building, Eiffel Tower, Flatiron Building,
Keywords included in this research material
Frank Lloyd Wright, architects, architecture, Chicago, William Le Baron Jenney, Louis Sullivan, New York, design, modern architecture, skyscrapers, architectural, William Holabird, prairie houses, New York City, great architect, Daniel Burnham, Curtis, Carson Pirie Scott Department Store, steel, organic architecture, Home Insurance Building, twentieth century, international architecture, modernist architecture, contemporary architecture, Flatiron Building, Auditorium Building, West Point Military Academy, air conditioning, Larkin Building, hotel, Fallingwater, High rise buildings, designer, American Civil War, modern way, tall buildings, a new era, school, his autobiography, new materials, steel frame, Dankmar Adler, new reborn, Columbian Exposition, Eiffel Tower, Martin Roche, projects, Industrial Revolution, single family houses,