Chicago School

1880’s-1910’s

The Chicago School comprises an intellectually elite group of progressive architects in late-19th-century Chicago, Illinois. They introduce the skyscraper, a new building type for the new 20th century. This multistory structure establishes a new design language for commercial buildings and comes to dominate the urban landscape. Skyscraper expansion is helped by phenomenal commercial and business growth, national corporations, new technologies such as the elevator and the typewriter, and inexpensive steel.

Significant advances in construction technology affect the structure, form, and composition of buildings in Chicago, New York City, and other metropolitan areas.

Important information to remember:
1. Types: Commercial office buildings dominate steel frame construction throughout Chicago and New York City. Other common types include auditoriums, department stores, and libraries.
2. Office buildings and large complexes sit on prominent city streets, often on corner lots.
3. floor plans are generally rectangular or square, so buildings form a rectangular box or sometimes a U-shape
4. exterior walls give no hint to interior metal skeleton
5. building facades exhibit large scale, verticality, repetition, order and simplicity
6. buildings show wide expanses of glass windows arranged in rectangular grids that cover most of the facade
7.doors are monumental entryways, often with large arches or rounded by heavy architectural features
8. roofs are not VISIBLE, becuase they are either hidden by projecting cornices or are too high!
9. look for these give aways: projecting cornice at roof level, emphasis on straight lines, Chicago-style windows in a grid across facade, rounded corner to address the street, stringcourse separating base from middle section, large display windows, and a hint of Art Nouveau at entrance.





Furniture:
During the last half of the 19th century and into the early 20th century, office furniture differs little in form and appearance from residential furniture. The simple boxlike furniture of the American Arts and Crafts period is very popular in many offices.

Desks are made of wood and three types: rolltops, slant tops, and flat tops with drawers on one or both sides.
Desk chairs range from simple turned or bentwood chairs to Windsor types.
Paper is LIFE! So you need storage for all that paper in either shelves or cabinetry
Filing cabinets become a rage afte the turn of the century thanks to the Centennial Exposition of 1876.




Symbols and Motifs and Decorative Arts:
Some buildings have classical details, such as pilasters or stringcourses. Sullivan incorporates plant fomrs and geometric designs, such as the square, oval, and rectangle. Decorative arts are sparse with most furniture and interiors being ordered from catalog.






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