Evolution of Skyscrapers

Topics: Skyscraper, Empire State Building, Willis Tower Pages: 9 (2733 words) Published: January 25, 2013

1.Historical Development In High-Rise Buildings
Ancient Skyscrapers - The Great Ziggurat of Babylon
Perhaps the most impressive structure in the ancient Middle East, the Great Ziggurat of Babylon was built over a span of several decades in the Sixth Century BC. Its seven stories, built upon a square foundation, stretched 300 feet into the sky. Some think it was the inspiration for the infamous Tower of Babel in the Book of Genesis. In this illustration, King Nebuchadnezzar, who ruled Babylon from 604 to 561 BC, is seen overlooking his capital

The towers of Bologna
The towers of and were built in Europe, or together until Bologna are slender, as much as 60 meters (150 feet) tall, by the rich for defense and as status symbols. No other site perhaps the world, had so many tall structures crowded the coming of skyscrapers in the late 19th century.

Fig. 1 The great Ziggurat of Babylon

As many as 180 towers, of many different heights, are thought to have been built in Bologna during the 1100's and slightly later; now there are barely 20. The two most prominent (seen here) are the symbols of the city and have long been known together as the "Two Towers."

Fig. 2 The towers of Bologna

The First Safety Elevators
In this period illustration, shoppers ride the elevator in the new Lord & Taylor's department store on Broadway in New York City sometime during the 1870's. Around the same time, the first-ever elevator in an office building was also installed in New York. It was designed by Elisha Otis, whose company became synonymous with the new contraption. Elevators revolutionized office buildings, literally turning them upside down. Prior to their invention, the lower floors of a structure were the most valuable rental property because of the difficulty and inconvenience of climbing the stairs. But the elevator made it possible for elite tenants to enjoy the view from the upper floors - and allow buildings to rise higher and higher.

Fig. 3 The first Safety Elevators

Great Chicago Fire
In this illustration, Chicago residents flee the terror of the Chicago fire which devastated their city over a three-day period in October 1871. The fire caused nearly $200 million in damage, killed some 300 people and left another 100,000 homeless. Despite this toll, the destruction cleared the way for Chicago to build scores of modern steel-framed office towers and to become one of America's most architecturally striking cities.

Fig. 4 Great Chicago Fire

The First skyscraper
Chicago's 10-story Home Insurance Building, built in 1884 and designed by William Jenney, was arguably the first true modern office tower. It was the first building to use structural steel at least partially in its frame, and was the first tall building to be fireproofed both inside and outside. It was torn down in 1931 but its legacy lives on in thousands of steel-framed and fireproofed buildings around the world.

Fig. 5 Home Insurance Building

The Tribune Tower

Pedestrians walk past the ornate entrance and lower floors of Tribune Tower, home of the Chicago Tribune newspaper, which was built in 1925. The 36-story Gothic Revival structure was designed by John Mead Howells and Raymond Hood, who won a contest held by the newspaper company to create "the most beautiful and distinctive office building in the world."

Fig. 6 The Tribune Tower

The Chrysler Building
With its majestic spire, New York City's Chrysler Building is perhaps the most famous Art Deco structure in the world. Built in 1930, the 77-storey structure was briefly the tallest building in the world. The sculptures at the top and around the edges are actually inspired by Chrysler hubcaps and hood ornaments. The building's tapering profile is perhaps the best example of "form follows zoning" by taking New York City's setback requirements from 1916 zoning laws - requiring new structures to leave more open space around them - and turning them...
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