Archive for November, 2009

28
Nov
09

Chrystler Building

This picture was taken on my trip to New York on Thanksgiving Weekend.

The Chrysler Building is an Art Deco skyscraper in New York City, located on the east side of Manhattan in the Turtle Bay area at the intersection of 42nd Street and Lexington Avenue. Standing at 319 metres (1,047 ft), it was the world’s tallest building for 11 months before it was surpassed by the Empire State Building in 1931. After the destruction of the World Trade Center, it was again the second-tallest building in New York City until December 2007, when the spire was raised on the 365.8-metre (1,200 ft) Bank of America Tower, pushing the Chrysler Building into third position. In addition, The New York Times Building which opened in 2007, is exactly level with the Chrysler Building in height.

The Chrysler Building is a classic example of Art Deco architecture and considered by many contemporary architects to be one of the finest buildings in New York City. In 2007, it was ranked ninth on the List of America’s Favorite Architecture by the American Institute of Architects

The Chrysler Building was designed by architect William Van Alen for a project of Walter P. Chrysler. When the ground breaking occurred on September 19, 1928, there was an intense competition in New York City to build the world’s tallest skyscraper. Despite a frantic pace (the building was built at an average rate of four floors per week), no workers died during the construction of this skyscraper.

Design beginnings
Van Alen’s original design for the skyscraper called for a decorative jewel-like glass crown. It also featured a base in which the showroom windows were tripled in height and topped by twelve stories with glass-wrapped corners, creating an impression that the tower appeared physically and visually light as if floating on mid-air. The height of the skyscraper was also originally designed to be 246 metres (807 ft). However, the design proved to be too advanced and costly for building contractor William H. Reynolds, who disapproved of Van Alen’s original plan. The design and lease were then sold to Walter P. Chrysler, who worked with Van Alen and redesigned the skyscraper for additional stories; it was eventually revised to be 282 metres (925 ft) tall. As Walter Chrysler was the chairman of the Chrysler Corporation, various architectural details and especially the building’s gargoyles were modeled after Chrysler automobile products like the hood ornaments of the Plymouth; they exemplify the machine age in the 1920s (see below).

Construction
Construction commenced on September 19, 1928. In total, almost 400,000 rivets were used and approximately 3,826,000 bricks were manually laid, to create the non-loadbearing walls of the skyscraper. Contractors, builders and engineers were joined by other building-services experts to coordinate construction.

Prior to its completion, the building stood about even with a rival project at 40 Wall Street, designed by H. Craig Severance. Severance increased the height of his project and then publicly claimed the title of the world’s tallest building[17] (this distinction excluded structures that were not fully habitable, such as the Eiffel Tower). In response, Van Alen obtained permission for a 56.3-metre (185 ft) long spire and had it secretly constructed inside the frame of the building. The spire was delivered to the site in 4 different sections. On October 23, 1929, the bottom section of the spire was hoisted onto the top of the building’s dome and lowered into the 66th floor of the building. The other remaining sections of the spire were hoisted and riveted to the first one in sequential order in just 90 minutes

11
Nov
09

Inland Steel Building

This is one of the defining commercial high-rises of the post-World War II era of modern architecture. The use of stainless steel cladding is an eloquent testimony to the corporation that commissioned the building as its headquarters. The placement of all structural columns on the building’s perimeter — and the consolidation of elevators and other service functions in a separate tower — allowed for a highly flexible interior floor layout. It was the first skyscraper to be built in the Loop following the Great Depression of the 1930s. Its principal designers were Bruce Graham and Walter Netsch of the SOM architecture firm.

from: http://egov.cityofchicago.org/Landmarks/I/InlandSteel.html

06
Nov
09

Auditorium Building

The Auditorium Building in Chicago, Illinois is one of the best-known designs of Dankmar Adler and Louis Sullivan. Completed in 1889, the building is located on South Michigan Avenue, at the northwest corner of Michigan Avenue and Congress Parkway. It was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1975. It was designated a Chicago Landmark on September 15, 1976. In addition, it is a historic district contributing property for the Chicago Landmark Historic Michigan Boulevard District.

Since 1947, the Auditorium Building has been the home of Roosevelt University.

Design
Adler and Sullivan designed a tall structure with load-bearing outer walls, and based the exterior appearance partly on the design of H.H. Richardson’s Marshall Field Warehouse, another Chicago landmark. The Auditorium is a heavy, impressive structure externally, and was more striking in its day when buildings of its scale were less common. When completed, it was the tallest building in the city and largest building in the United States.

One of the most innovative features of the building was its massive raft foundation, designed by Adler in conjunction with engineer Paul Mueller. The soil beneath the Auditorium consists of soft blue clay to a depth of over 100 feet, which made conventional foundations impossible. Adler and Mueller designed a floating mat of crisscrossed railroad ties, topped with a double layer of steel rails embedded in concrete, the whole assemblage coated with pitch.

The resulting raft distributed the weight of the massive outer walls over a large area. However, the weight of the masonry outer walls in relation to the relatively lightweight interior deformed the raft during the course of a century, and today portions of the building have settled as much as 29 inches. This deflection is clearly visible in the theater lobby, where the mosaic floor takes on a distinct slope as it nears the outer walls. This settlement is not because of poor engineering but the fact the design was changed during construction. The original plan had the exterior covered in lightweight terra-cotta, but this was changed to stone after the foundations were under construction. Most of the settlement occurred within a decade after construction, and at one time a plan existed to shorten the interior supports to level the floors but this was never carried out.

In the center of the building was a 4,300 seat auditorium, originally intended primarily for production of Grand Opera. In keeping with Peck’s democratic ideals, the auditorium was designed so that all seats would have good views and acoustics. The original plans had no box seats and when these were added to the plans they did not receive prime locations.

Housed in the building around the central space were an 1890 addition of 136 offices and a 400-room hotel, whose purpose was to generate much of the revenue to support the opera. While the Auditorium Building was not intended as a commercial building, Peck wanted it to be self-sufficient. Revenue from the offices and hotel was meant to allow ticket prices to remain reasonable. In reality, both the hotel and office block became unprofitable within a few years.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Auditorium_Building

05
Nov
09

Monadnock Building

The Monadnock Building, also known as Monadnock Block, is a historic proto-skyscraper in the Loop district of downtown Chicago, Illinois. It is arguably the world’s first skyscraper. The Monadnock is the tallest commercial building in the world with masonry load-bearing walls. It is located at 53 West Jackson Blvd.

The seventeen-story building stands 197 feet (60 meters) tall. The northern half was designed and built by Burnham & Root in 1889–1891; the southern half was designed and built by Holabird & Roche in 1891–1893. The building was designated a Chicago Landmark on November 14, 1973 and was also listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

The northern half of the Monadnock represents the last Chicago skyscraper built using load-bearing wall construction; in order for the structure to support its own weight, the walls at the base of the structure are six feet (1.83 m) thick. The building was so heavy that it sank into the ground after it was built, requiring steps to be installed at the entrances. The walls curve in slightly at the second story and flare out at the top of the building, lending it a form similar to that of an Egyptian pylon. Architect John Root’s initial plans for the building included additional Egyptian embellishment, but the developer insisted that the building have no ornament.

The southern half of the building was built using the more technologically advanced steel frame construction, which allowed narrower piers and wider windows. The radical difference in construction between the two halves marks the building’s place in architectural history at the end of one building tradition and the beginning of another.

The building’s name is taken from the New Hampshire mountain that gave its name to the geological term indicating a freestanding mountain surrounded by a plain.

from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Monadnock_Building

01
Nov
09

Minoru Yamasaki

Minoru Yamasaki (山崎實, Yamasaki Minoru, December 1, 1912 – February 7, 1986) was an American architect of Japanese descent, best known for his design of the twin towers of the World Trade Center buildings 1 and 2. Yamasaki was one of the most prominent architects of the 20th century and his firm, Yamasaki & Associates, continues to do business. He and fellow architect Edward Durell Stone are generally considered to be the two master practitioners of “romanticized modernism”.

Biography
Yamasaki, born in Seattle, Washington, was a second-generation Japanese American. He grew up in Auburn, Washington and attended Auburn Senior High School.[citation needed] He enrolled in the University of Washington program in architecture in 1929, and graduated with a Bachelor of Architecture (B.Arch.) in 1934. During his college years, he was strongly encouraged by faculty member Lionel Pries. He earned money to pay for his tuition by working at an Alaskan salmon cannery.

After moving to New York City in the 1930s, he enrolled at New York University for a master’s degree in architecture and got a job with the architecture firm Shreve, Lamb and Harmon, designers of the Empire State Building. In 1945, Yamasaki moved to Detroit, where he was hired by Smith, Hinchman, and Grylls. Yamasaki left the firm in 1949, and started his own partnership. In 1964 Yamasaki received a D.F.A. from Bates College.

Yamasaki was first married in 1941 and had two other wives before marrying his first wife again in 1969. He died of stomach[citation needed] cancer in 1986.

St. Louis Airport, at St. Louis, Missouri, 1951 to 1956.
Pruitt-Igoe Public Housing, at St. Louis, Missouri, 1955, demolished 1972.
American Concrete Institute, at Detroit, Michigan, 1958.
Dhahran Air Terminal, at Dhahran, Saudi Arabia, 1959 to 1961.
Century Plaza Hotel, at Century City, Los Angeles, California, 1961 to 1966.
Temple Beth-El, at Bloomfield Township, Michigan, 1968 to 1974.
Performing Arts Center, at Tulsa, Oklahoma, 1973 to 1976.
Saudi Arabian Monetary Agency Headquarters, at Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, 1973 to 1982