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Chicago Skyscrapers, 1871-1934$
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Thomas Leslie

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780252037542

Published to Illinois Scholarship Online: April 2017

DOI: 10.5406/illinois/9780252037542.001.0001

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Iron and Light: The “Great Architectural Problem” and the Skeleton Frame, 1879–1892

Iron and Light: The “Great Architectural Problem” and the Skeleton Frame, 1879–1892

(p.35) Chapter 3 Iron and Light: The “Great Architectural Problem” and the Skeleton Frame, 1879–1892
Chicago Skyscrapers, 1871-1934

Thomas Leslie

University of Illinois Press

This chapter describes major structures built from 1879 to 1892, many of which used skeletal frames that offered greater plan efficiency and improved daylighting through narrower, iron-reinforced brick piers. The five-story building erected by William Le Baron Jenney for dry-goods merchant Levi Z. Leiter at Wells and Madison has traditionally been considered Chicago's earliest skeletal exterior, though it was only a tentative step. The building served as a shop and storehouse, and light was of paramount concern, especially given the shallow corner lot. Jenney worked to reduce the exterior of the building as much as possible by supplementing traditional brick piers with iron columns.

Keywords:   Chicago, building construction, skeletal frames, William Le Baron Jenney

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