Chicago Architecture Center, in the Birthplace of the High-rise Building, Tells Tale of World’s Towers

The Chicago Architecture Center’s brand-new area at 111 E. Wacker Drive teaches visitors about the advancement of the skyscraper; Image credit: CAF.jpg.

Like the towers over the surrounding skyline, the Chicago Architecture Center’s new home programs visitors in significant fashion that the city is the birth place of the skyscraper.

The center’s structure overlooks a mix of crucial architecture. To the north throughout the Chicago River, the historical Wrigley Building, outfitted in 6 tones of white terra cotta, looms near the Gothic-inspired Tribune Tower. They stand in contrast to the modern Apple Shop, with its floor-to-ceiling glass walls and roofing that looks like a laptop computer.

Inside, the 52-year-old organization strives to showcase the around the world advancement of tower style in a 20,000-square-foot area with its own architectural significance: It uses up the first 2 floorings at One Illinois Center, a 32-story workplace tower finished in 1970 that was created by Mies van der Rohe, the modernist pioneer who was based in Chicago for much of his profession.

Picture credit: CAF.jpg. The space, developed by the world-renowned but locally grown company of Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture, highlights its views with 40-foot windows that flood the interior with light and call attention to the 36-foot tall model of Saudi Arabia’s Jeddah Tower, which is anticipated to dismiss the Burj Khalifa in Dubai as the world’s tallest structure when building is completed in 2020.

Rendering of Saudi Arabia’s Jeddah Tower, of which a 36-foot high model is included in the Chicago Architecture Center; Picture credit: © Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture/Jeddah Economic Company.And that’s part of

the point. The Chicago Architecture Center, rebranding itself from its initial Chicago Architecture Foundation title, aims to be another must-see cultural location that informs the story of the skyscraper. It likewise informs the tales of the designers who sought to height, materials and design as eminent architectural functions that have been copied the world over.

“We are reinforcing Chicago’s architectural legacy by developing a customer-designed area at a best location,” stated architect Gordon Gill, co-founder of the firm that bears his name, and co-creator of the Chicago Architecture Center’s area.

“The place, ignoring the Michigan Opportunity Bridge, is at that crossroads of Chicago,” he stated. “The design doubles down on the impressive exposure to produce an open, accessible space that invites the city to step inside and supplies a perch from which visitors can watch the city at work and play.”

Motivated by, of all things, the Great Chicago Fire of 1871 that wrecked about 17,000 primarily wood-constructed structures, the history of the high-rise building’s development is told in displays that demonstrate how architects have actually crashed through barriers in the name of design and utility.

The Drake Family Skyscraper Gallery’s inaugural exhibition “Building Tall” consists of large designs of famous towers in Chicago and throughout the world, narrating the genesis of breaking huge on height. It uses the narrative on exactly what architects have actually hoped to achieve in groundbreaking structures, the majority of which are standing or under construction today.

The so-called race to the top was rooted on the planet’s first high-rise building, the Home Insurance Building in Chicago, which opened in 1885. At 10 stories, it was the first high building to have a fire-resistant metal frame. That tradition can be traced to today, influencing buildings from Chicago’s Willis Tower, which stood as the world’s tallest for almost 25 years, to Jeddah Tower.

Other noteworthy towers include the previous John Hancock in Chicago, with its X-braced exterior frame, to the Art Deco-inspired Chrysler Structure in New York City, and the Petronas Twin Towers in Malaysia– still the tallest twins and the structure that went beyond Willis Tower in 1996.

Much of the towers were designed by Chicago-based designers, including Jeddah Tower, which is an Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture design.

The Chicago Gallery narrates the history of the city through structures, starting with the balloon-frame wood houses and structures that sustained that huge fire. Obtained from the ashes of that 2,000-acre destruction was the awareness that the structures that made it through the fire were made from terra-cotta and limestone. That led designers to seek to fireproof steel and brick as the foundations for future structures, starting with the Home Insurance Structure.

The account is informed through a movie that uses the gallery’s Chicago Model Experience as its prop, theatrically illuminating the swath of the fire and structures as they are talked about. This is the star tourist attraction of the gallery, an expanded version of the 2009 model that now has 4,200 structures, about 4 inches to 12 inches high, representing 630 blocks and 12.5 miles– all built with 3D printing. Touch screens illuminate the structures and use information about them and their surrounding areas.

The center, open now in its first complete week of operation, will likewise offer classes to young students and adults, as well as docent-led tours of the galleries, which will change periodically.

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