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THE WORLD’S FIRST SKYSCRAPER BUILDING?

MAY 2021
01
THE WORLD’S FIRST SKYSCRAPER BUILDING?

Was it in Chicago?


Think ‘skyscraper’ and what comes to mind?


Sears Tower skydeck view down image.

Looking down from the Sears Tower skydeck. Image courtesy Tim Trad on Unsplash.


The Sears Tower * skydeck, right, if you’re from Chicago?

Maybe the Empire State building, speaking from an all-American perspective?


But, chances are, you wouldn’t think of the Home Insurance Building.

A Chicago building.

That is widely thought to be the first skyscraper in the world.


Barney from How I Met Your Mother Going Whaaat gif.

Gif courtesy giphy.

The Home Insurance Building?

An image of the Home Insurance Building in Chicago.

Image courtesy https://www.theguardian.com/cities/2015/apr/02/worlds-first-skyscraper-chicago-home-insurance-building-history.


It was commissioned by the Home Insurance Company of New York in 1883 to serve as their Chicago headquarters.

The contract was won by William Le Baron Jenney, who’d been an engineer in the army, and then opened his own architecture firm upon retiring.

He was also a visiting professor at the University of Michigan.

The Home Insurance Building project would earn him lifelong fame as the ‘Father of the American Skyscraper’.

Interesting! What else was remarkable about this particular building?

Decorative image.

Image courtesy Franco Antonio Giovanella on Unsplash.


1870’s and earlier Chicago had a lot of buildings with wood as a key building material.

Then came the Fire of 1871.

Hundreds of lives were lost, properties gutted and enormous losses suffered.

However, it would also give rise to a construction boom.

It was during this period that the Home Insurance Building was commissioned and built in Chicago.


Partly as a response to the fire and partly due to (then) emerging engineering and architectural concepts, new Chicago buildings were largely made of stone, iron and steel.

And the Home Insurance Building followed this trend.

Did it simply follow the trend or was there something UNIQUE about the Home Insurance Building?

Decorative gif.

Gif courtesy giphy.


The project called for the new building to be tall and fireproof.

This is where Jenney, the engineer and architect, showed his brilliance.

He created a (then) revolutionary design, with a steel ‘skeleton’ that would support the building, with a stone and brick exterior ‘wrapped’ around it.

This enabled him to design a high building, with more windows than were typically possible at the time.


The building was completed in 1885, with ten floors.

A further two floors were added in 1890.

And Jenney’s design was studied by other architects and engineers, paving the way for modern skyscraper development.

It also set the standard for various other building innovations like elevators and modern plumbing systems.

Where is this building? Can we visit it?

Decorative image.

Image courtesy Dariusz Sankowski on Unsplash.


The corner of Adams and LaSalle Streets in the Loop.

That is…

...or rather, was where the world’s first skyscraper was located.

'Was located'? Did it collapse?

Decorative image.

Image courtesy Robin Higgins from Pixabay.


No, it didn’t collapse.

William Le Baron Jenney’s architectural brilliance sustains.

However…

It WAS demolished to make way for the LaSalle Bank Building in 1931.


So, unfortunately, you can’t visit the Home Insurance Building today.


If you’re looking for something fun to do in Chicago however, you CAN check out Chicago’s best escape room.


* If you’re NOT from Chicago, you might know it as the Willis Tower, but here in Chicago, it’ll always be the Sears Tower.


Banner image courtesy Max Bender on Unsplash.



  BLOGS
THE WORLD’S FIRST SKYSCRAPER BUILDING?

Was it in Chicago?


Think ‘skyscraper’ and what comes to mind?


Sears Tower skydeck view down image.

Looking down from the Sears Tower skydeck. Image courtesy Tim Trad on Unsplash.


The Sears Tower * skydeck, right, if you’re from Chicago?

Maybe the Empire State building, speaking from an all-American perspective?


But, chances are, you wouldn’t think of the Home Insurance Building.

A Chicago building.

That is widely thought to be the first skyscraper in the world.


Barney from How I Met Your Mother Going Whaaat gif.

Gif courtesy giphy.

The Home Insurance Building?

An image of the Home Insurance Building in Chicago.

Image courtesy https://www.theguardian.com/cities/2015/apr/02/worlds-first-skyscraper-chicago-home-insurance-building-history.


It was commissioned by the Home Insurance Company of New York in 1883 to serve as their Chicago headquarters.

The contract was won by William Le Baron Jenney, who’d been an engineer in the army, and then opened his own architecture firm upon retiring.

He was also a visiting professor at the University of Michigan.

The Home Insurance Building project would earn him lifelong fame as the ‘Father of the American Skyscraper’.

Interesting! What else was remarkable about this particular building?

Decorative image.

Image courtesy Franco Antonio Giovanella on Unsplash.


1870’s and earlier Chicago had a lot of buildings with wood as a key building material.

Then came the Fire of 1871.

Hundreds of lives were lost, properties gutted and enormous losses suffered.

However, it would also give rise to a construction boom.

It was during this period that the Home Insurance Building was commissioned and built in Chicago.


Partly as a response to the fire and partly due to (then) emerging engineering and architectural concepts, new Chicago buildings were largely made of stone, iron and steel.

And the Home Insurance Building followed this trend.

Did it simply follow the trend or was there something UNIQUE about the Home Insurance Building?

Decorative gif.

Gif courtesy giphy.


The project called for the new building to be tall and fireproof.

This is where Jenney, the engineer and architect, showed his brilliance.

He created a (then) revolutionary design, with a steel ‘skeleton’ that would support the building, with a stone and brick exterior ‘wrapped’ around it.

This enabled him to design a high building, with more windows than were typically possible at the time.


The building was completed in 1885, with ten floors.

A further two floors were added in 1890.

And Jenney’s design was studied by other architects and engineers, paving the way for modern skyscraper development.

It also set the standard for various other building innovations like elevators and modern plumbing systems.

Where is this building? Can we visit it?

Decorative image.

Image courtesy Dariusz Sankowski on Unsplash.


The corner of Adams and LaSalle Streets in the Loop.

That is…

...or rather, was where the world’s first skyscraper was located.

'Was located'? Did it collapse?

Decorative image.

Image courtesy Robin Higgins from Pixabay.


No, it didn’t collapse.

William Le Baron Jenney’s architectural brilliance sustains.

However…

It WAS demolished to make way for the LaSalle Bank Building in 1931.


So, unfortunately, you can’t visit the Home Insurance Building today.


If you’re looking for something fun to do in Chicago however, you CAN check out Chicago’s best escape room.


* If you’re NOT from Chicago, you might know it as the Willis Tower, but here in Chicago, it’ll always be the Sears Tower.


Banner image courtesy Max Bender on Unsplash.



  BLOGS