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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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Power and Height: The Electric Skyscraper, 1920–1934

Power and Height: The Electric Skyscraper, 1920–1934

Chapter:
(p.144) Chapter 8 Power and Height: The Electric Skyscraper, 1920–1934
Source:
Chicago Skyscrapers, 1871-1934
Author(s):

Thomas Leslie

Publisher:
University of Illinois Press
DOI:10.5406/illinois/9780252037542.003.0008

This chapter describes major structures built from 1920 to 1934, which were dominated by towers that resulted from an explosive real estate market that challenged code restrictions on height and that took fuller advantage of powered construction and circulation. The height restrictions imposed by the 1893 Code foreclosed any serious attempt to build higher than 180 or, later, 260 feet. But after World War I, a loophole in Chicago's ordinance that permitted “Spires, Towers, and Domes” sparked a controversy and then a race for new heights. The sudden appearance of the 556-foot Chicago Temple in the center of the Loop agitated property owners, architects, and engineers into a new quest for height—at first within the limits of the spire and tower loophole and then to the relaxed requirements of a new zoning ordinance that was tailor-made for a new, powered skyscraper era.

Keywords:   Chicago, building construction, building codes, real estate market, skyscrapers

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