There are many buildings in the world which have their own identities. Some buildings are tall, and some are unique in their construction. The name skyscraper came into existence in 1880 which means tall multistoried building. Which building is widely regarded as the first skyscraper? Read more to know!
The skyscraper shows the various architectural structures and designs because they are made up of various materials. The home insurance building is widely regarded as the first skyscraper. In history, the first skyscraper Home Insurance Building gave the idea of using materials like steel, iron, and stone.
After 130 years of the first skyscraper, there are many taller skyscrapers known for their height and designs. Constructor of Home Insurance Building Jenney’s vision of constructing a building for the long term gave ideas to future generations.
1. Which Building is Widely Regarded as the First Skyscraper
The first building with six stories was built in 1881 by the Wilson brothers and company. This building had a steel frame but only had six floors so not considered a skyscraper. There were some other lower-level buildings in which iron frame architects were used like the Montauk building in 1882 but they were not fireproof.
The building which is widely regarded as the first skyscraper is a home insurance building located in Chicago at Adams and Lasalle Streets The home insurance building was 138 feet and constructed by Major William Le Baron Jenney in 1885 with ten stories in the air. This building took two years to complete because of halted construction and in 1891 the height of the building was increased to 180 feet by adding two floors.
The construction of this building was halted by city officials because of safety purposes. The innovative design of Jenney frightened city officials moreover the weight of the building was much lighter than masonry buildings.
1.1. Home Insurance Building Opened the Door to the Skyline
Home insurance building is the leading example of the era of the construction of new buildings. This building is known as the “father of skyscrapers” because the first tall building gave the idea of constructing stories by using a steel frame that supports the wall and the weight of the building.
The idea behind the construction of steel frames was the protection of the structure against great fire. One more characteristic of steel was that steel is lighter than bricks and could carry more weight as compared to bricks which supported the walls. In the construction of this premises, brick was used in the exterior.
The home insurance building was built after the Great Chicago Fire in 1885. The great Chicago fire in 1871 demolished the economy due to the burning of almost three square miles of central city. The first skyscraper improved the city’s economy and gave way to the skyline.
1.2. Major William Le Baron Jenney’s Architecture of the First Skyscraper
William LeBaron Jenney was appointed by the home insurance company in 1883. This home insurance company in New York needed a tall and fireproof construction for its Chicago headquarters. Jenny designed steel frames of vertical columns and horizontal beams instead of masonry walls.
He used the iron frame to support the external structure. William Le Baron Jenney made a maximum number of small offices with metal frames in a home insurance company. The steel and iron frames supported more windows due to the facade design of the Jenney in the home insurance building.
2. Demolition of Home insurance building
The home insurance building was demolished in 1931 and in the same place, a new building was constructed called LaSalle Bank Building or Field Building. The field building was constructed by demolishing six buildings including the home insurance building.
The structure of the home insurance building was examined by the Chicago school during demolition. Chicago school made the foundation for the architectural structures in the 19th and 20th centuries. There were other members of Jenney’s house insurance company like Daniel Burnham, Louis Sullivan, and Dankmar Adler, designers of the Flatiron building in 1902. This structure is triangular and the first steel-frame skyscraper in New York.
Chicago is called the birthplace of the world’s first skyscraper whereas New York is known as the creator of skyscrapers. The world’s first skyscraper does not exist now, but many other skyscrapers of that time are still existing. Most of the early skyscrapers are located in New York and Chicago.
3. William Lebaron Jenney Architecture Skyscrapers
William Lebaron Jenney is known as the father of American skyscrapers. The various American skyscrapers were designed by William Jenney and Chicago schools are located in different cities and stood the test of test.
3.1. Ames Building
This building was constructed in 1893 in Massachusetts, USA. The height of this property was 196 feet and 14 floors. This building was the tallest in America at that time. Ame’s building was the headquarters for the agricultural tools company and architects’ offices. After 2007 these premises were turned into a luxury hotel.
3.2. Manhattan Building
The Manhattan building was designed by engineer William Lebaron Jenney with a height of 170 feet and 168 stories in 1891. The main feature of this construction was granite on the lower floor and bricks on the higher levels to reduce the weight of the structure. This establishment was always used as a commercial office space.
3.3. Old Chronicle Building
The old chronicle building was erected in the year 1888 in New York City with 10 stories and a height of 288 feet. This structure is now part of the Ritz-Carlton club. This is the oldest skyscraper in the western part of the United States. The old Chronicle establishment got the name of the owner and was called the De Young building.
3.4. New York Times Building
The New York Times Building is a Romanesque Revival-themed structure built by George B. This building was built in the year 1889 with 13 floors but later it was extended to 16 floors. This construction was the residence for many key pillars in the paper business and other industries.
3.5. Wilder Building
Wilder building was built in 1887 – 1888 in the United States for Sam Wilder’s company of banking and land developers. This structure was designed by Rochester and had 11 stories with a spire around all its corners. Wilder building is one of several skyscrapers designed in Romanesque style.
3.6. Rookery Building
The Rookery building was designed and built for Daniel Burnham and John Wellborn Root in 1888 in Chicago 55 ft and 12 stories. The hotel is located in downtown Chicago and has been known for having an elegant office property for centuries.
3.7. Sun Building
The Sun buildings were designed by Alfred M. Mullet; it was a 9-story building. This structure was designed in the years 1885 – 1887. The Sun building remained the tallest in Washington. Mullett’s design was pioneered for this task. Originally titled Sun Buildings, a steel skeleton allowed Mullett to construct seven-storey structures over a 2-storey basement.
The first historic building in Chicago is known as the first tallest steel frame skyscraper. This tall establishment set the standard for the construction of urban life. Chicago is called the birthplace of skyscrapers due to home insurance buildings and Chicago schools. Chicago Skeleton is the architecture of modern buildings. In the present era, we are observing the 70-80 floors also with different amenities like passenger elevators, pools, gardens, modern plumbing, and wind bracing.
The scarcity of space and the cost of land is becoming a major problem. The demands of the increasing population can be tackled by buildings. Architecture and engineers are always exploring new ways for the evolution of skyscrapers in the future. City planners should make designs for skyscrapers in which the basic amenities and services should be at cheaper rates and the cost of designing should be less.
Suggested Reading: Learn about the Evolution of Chicago’s Skyscraper in French!
Writing is an art but for writing we have to learn various things to upskill the art. I like to write about nature and the environment. In my view what is in our surroundings,everything is related to us.