Chicago school of
Chicago School was
a school of architects active in Chicago at
the turn of the 20th century. They were
among the first to promote the new
technologies of steel-frame construction in
commercial buildings, and developed a
spatial aesthetic which co-evolved with, and
then came to influence, parallel
developments in European Modernism. A
"Second Chicago School" later emerged in
the 1940s and 1970s which pioneered new
building technologies and structural
systems such as the tube-frame structure.
In 1871 a devastating fire destroyed
most of downtown Chicago.
From this in 1871 …
This frontier American city,
unfettered with European traditions,
now had a blank slate upon which to
Social and economic factors after the
fire, as well as the technological
advances of the time, gave rise here
to the world‘s first skyscrapers.
The architects that contributed to
this unprecedented type of
commercial building, including Louis
Sullivan, were collectively known as
… to this in 1896
the ‗Chicago School‘.
The Otis Safety Lift,
patented in 1861
The electric light bulb
Some of the distinguishing features of the
Chicago School are the use of steel-frame
buildings with masonry cladding (usually terra
cotta), allowing large plate-glass window areas
and limiting the amount of exterior
ornamentation. Sometimes elements
of neoclassical architecture are used in Chicago
The "Chicago window" originated in this school.
It is a three-part window consisting of a large
fixed center panel flanked by two smaller
double-hung sash windows.
Architects whose names are associated with the Chicago School
include Henry Hobson Richardson, Dankmar Adler, Daniel
Burnham, William Holabird, William LeBaron Jenney, Martin
Roche, John Root, Solon S. Beman, and Louis Sullivan.
First chicago school
The top level houses mechanical
devices such as elevator engines and
water tanks. Its appearance proclaims
its difference in function from the rest
of the building.
A succession of workers offices fill
the upper stories and are modular and
repetitive in appearance.
Street level spaces for shops, banks,
and public commerce. These are large,
open spaces ―liberal, expansive and
sumptuous‖ that will flow up into the
In the 1940s, a "Second Chicago School"
emerged from the work of Ludwig Mies
van der Rohe and his efforts of education
at the Illinois Institute of Technology in
Chicago. This was supported and enlarged
in the 1960s due to the ideas of structural
engineer Fazlur Khan. He introduced a
new structural system of framed tubes
in skyscraper design and construction. He
defined the framed tube structure as "a
three dimensional space structure
composed of three, four, or possibly more
frames, braced frames, or shear walls,
joined at or near their edges to form a
vertical tube-like structural system capable
of resisting lateral forces in any direction
by cantilevering from the foundation."[
The first building to apply the tube-frame
construction was the DeWitt-Chestnut
Apartment Building which Khan designed
and was completed in Chicago by
1963.This laid the foundations for the
tube structures of many other later
skyscrapers, including his own John
Hancock Center and Willis Tower, and
can been seen in the construction of the
World Trade Center, Petronas Towers, Jin
Mao Building, and most
other supertall skyscrapers since the
Second chicago school of architecture
Chronological context in Architecture
- Modernism to Postmodernism 1890s
The pioneers of modernism.
They each treated form, space,
structure, materials and ornament in
These were the architects of ‘high
modernism’- the universal
International Style- as well as the
fashionable Art Deco period.
These were the architects of
They reacted against the orthodoxy of
Peter Behrens -
Auguste Perret -
C. R. Mackintosh -
Mies van der Rohe
Otto Wagner -
I. M. Pei
Adolf Loos -
William Van Allen
Louis Sullivan -
Napier Art Deco architects
Frank Lloyd Wright - Chicago and mid-western states of USA
Louis Henry Sullivan was an American architect,
and has been called the "father of skyscrapers" and
"father of modernism―. He is considered by many as
the creator of the modern skyscraper, was an
influential architect and critic of the Chicago School,
was a mentor to Frank Lloyd Wright.
Along with Henry Hobson Richardson and Frank
Lloyd Wright, Sullivan is one of "the recognized
trinity of American architecture". He received the AIA
Gold Medal in 1944.
Form ever follows function
Dankmar Adler (1844, in Germany – 1900, in
Chicago, Illinois, U.S.)
After he began his own firm, Adler hired Louis Sullivan as a
draughtsman and designer in 1880; Sullivan was made a partner in
the firm in 1883
Adler was not only an architect but also a gifted civil
engineer who, with his partner Louis Sullivan,
designed many buildings including influential
skyscrapers that boldly addressed their steel
skeleton through their exterior design: the Guaranty
Building in Buffalo, New York, the Chicago Stock
Exchange Building (1894–1972) and the
Wainwright Building in St. Louis, Missouri.
Adler and Sullivan's Auditorium Building (1889) is an early
example of splendid acoustical engineering, as is their Kehilath
Anshe Ma'ariv Synagogue. Both drew upon the fine acoustics in
Adler's earlier Central Music Hall. Adler was an acclaimed expert
EXTERIORTypical semi circular arches
-inspired from the roman arches.
Granite masonry for first 2 floors
Ashlar masonry for upper storeys.
10 floors+tower(water tank)
-seems to be borne
down by wt of bldg
Ornamental patterns on
balustrade got simplified
as one moved up
• Staircase- narrow-deviation
from european standards
-grand ceremonial staircase.
broke away from traditional horse shoe plan
- no side seats.
But stage comparatively small and lacking in storage space
Stage-system to fly out the sides of the proscenium arch to make
stage area continuous with rest of the auditorium
Acoustic tunnel – conical
-diminishes reverberation by decreasing the volume of auditorium
-to control the flow while improving diffusion of the sound
Stairways and public area- did away with all walls so sound could
flow away till the rear part of the great theatre
Stage directly visible from foyer on first floor
4000 light bulbs light up the auditorium
Ventilation and lighting system passes
through the arches
Function- focus light on stage
Form-arches and bulbs fixed along their
Rest of auditorium lighted in same way
only lighting and arrangements change.
Curve due to pressure of the first balconynot hidden from sight and used as a visible
member in design
Offices-smallest part of
building-least space taken.
Hotel -wide entrance large balconies
daylight, richly decorated staircase
dining room on 10th floor-roosevelt
university now uses as library.
Banquet hall later added by Adler and decorated by Sullivan placed
on 7th floor roof of auditorium- now used by university as concert
Hotel expanded as new building erected
across road connected by underground
tunnel but became successful
independently-identical façade was
1947-roosevelt university took over
1918-Sullivan left office in tower.
Wainwright Building is among the first skyscrapers in the world.
It was designed by Dankmar Adler and Louis Sullivan in the Palazzo
style and built between 1890 and 1891.
With the Wainwright Building
Sullivan solved the
problem of how to design the
skyscraper; by treating the
structure as a
classical column: the lower two
floors form the
base; floors three to nine a fluted
shaft; and the
ornate frieze and cornice on top
form a capital
Required function=need of light at ground floor (skylighted ground
Solution in terms of form= atrium therefore creating a u-shaped
form for plan
Plan provides an outer exposure for all offices.
Innovative structural elements
raft roofing of reinforced concrete
braced, riveted steel frame
wall bays carried on spandrel shaft angles
First 2 storeys make up the base
Then horizontal ledge which provides flat
surface base for pilasters
Unusually high cornice brings
perpendicular momentum to a stop
Window spandrels set back in a deeper relief plane
each storey carries a different brick ornamentation on spandrel
10th storey surrounded by foliage
frieze of the roof
- circular windows centre of each
Ornamental elementsDecorated spandrels around windows
The Guaranty Building,
which is now called the
built in Buffalo, New York
He and Adler divided the building into four zones.
1. The basement was the mechanical and utility area. Since this level
was below ground, it did not show on the face of the building.
2. The next zone was the ground-floor zone which was the public
areas for street-facing shops, public entrances and lobbies.
3. The third zone was the office floors with identical office cells
clustered around the central elevator shafts.
4. The final zone was the terminating zone, consisting of elevator
equipment, utilities and a few offices.
The supporting steel structure of the building was embellished with
terra cotta blocks. Different styles of block delineated the three
visible zones of the building.
Variations in the color and pattern of the glaze could make it look
like granite or limestone; this flexibility helped make it attractive for
Four major types of terra-cotta were widely used
1. Brownstone was the earliest type. A dark red or brown block which
was not necessarily glazed, it was used as imitation sandstone, brick
or with real brownstone.
2. Fireproof was developed as a direct result of the growth of the high
rise building in America. Cheap, light and fireproof, the roughfinished hollow blocks were ideally suited to span the I-beam
members in floor, wall and ceiling construction. Certain varieties
still in production today.
3. Veneer was developed during the 1930s, is still used today. Unlike
traditional architectural terra-cotta, ceramic veneer is not hollow
cast. It is a veneer of glazed ceramic tile which is ribbed in the back
like bathroom tile and usually attached to a grid of metal ties which
have been anchored to the building.
4. Glazed architectural terra-cotta was the most complex building
material developed. The hollow units were hand cast in molds or
carved in clay and heavily glazed, then fired. associated with the
architecture of Louis Sullivan.
Function, form and ornament
ornament must be of the building, integral to
structure, rather than merely applied over it.
reflected functional aspects of the building,
distinguishing entranceways, busy public areas
the plain surfaces of his buildings ornamented with lush
Art Nouveau and rather Celtic-like
usually cast in iron or terra cotta
ranging from organic forms like vines,
ivy, to more geometric designs, interlace
Inspired by his Irish design heritage.
Shingle style houses
• Irregular steeply pitched roof
• Large porches
• Shingle walls without corner
• Asymmetrical façade
• Decorative detailing used
• Often have a tower
• Porch posts are often clad in
• Most commonly found in coastal
Shingle Style houses can take on many forms. Some have tall turrets,
suggestive of Queen Anne architecture. Some have gambrel roofs, Palladian
windows, and other Colonial Revival details. Some Shingle houses have
features borrowed from Tudor, Gothic and Stick styles. But, unlike those styles,
Shingle architecture is relaxed and informal. Shingle houses do not have the
lavish decorations that were popular during the Victorian era. The architectural
historian Vincent Scully coined the term "Shingle Style" because these homes
are usually sided in rustic cedar shingles. However, not all Shingle Style houses
are shingle-sided. You will recognize them by their complicated shapes and
rambling, informal floor plans.
Aside from being a style of design, the style also conveyed a sense of the
house as continuous volume. This effect—of the building as an envelope of
space, rather than a great mass, was enhanced by the visual tautness of the
flat shingled surfaces, the horizontal shape of many Shingle-style houses, and
the emphasis on horizontal continuity, both in exterior details and in the flow
of spaces within the houses.
McKim, Mead and White and Peabody and
Stearns were two of the notable firms of the
era that helped to popularize the Shingle style,
through their large-scale commissions for
Perhaps the most famous Shingle-style house
built in American was "Kragsyde" (1882) the
summer home commissioned by Bostonian G.
Nixon Black, from Peabody and Stearns.
Kragsyde was built atop the rocky coastal
shore near Manchester-By-the-Sea,
Massachusetts, and embodied every possible
tenet of the Shingle style. The William Watts
Sherman House is a notable house designed by
American architect H. H. Richardson, with
later interiors by Stanford White. The house is
generally acknowledged as one of Richardson's
masterpieces, and the prototype for what later
became known as the Shingle Style in
An icon of American architecture, the
demolished William G. Low House was a
seaside cottage at 3 Low Lane in Bristol, Rhode
Island. It was designed in 1886-87 by
architect Charles Follen McKim of the New York
City firm, McKim, Mead & White. The house —
with its single, exaggerated, 140-foot-long gable
— embodied the tenets of Shingle Style
architecture, which included horizontality,
simplified massing and geometry, minimal
ornamentation, and the blending of interior and