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Let's Talk Chicago
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© Christine Till
From its humble beginning and growth of a city to the devastation of the fire of 1871, and it's rise from the ashes, Chicago always has been a city of contrasts. It has been at the forefront of architectural progress for more than a century.
The devastating Fire jumped a river and cleared the way for visionaries of plate glass and structural steel. Chicago's ambitious business leaders in the late 1800's (after most of the commercial district had been erased by the Great Fire) faced a quandary. Hemmed in by water on three sides and a rail center to the south, they knew that if the city were to grow - it would have to grow up. It had to be done ... and Chicago solved that problem spectacularly.
It is no accident that in the 1880s Chicago produced a group of architects, now known as the "First Chicago School," whose work would have a profound effect upon architecture. Its matchless tradition of technical prowess and aesthetic boldness would surface again in Chicago in the 1930s with the arrival of the Bauhaus, and in the following decades in the work of Ludwig Mies van der Rohe and his disciples - building higher and sleeker - and it has soared in the 21st century with audacious new steeples such as The Trump Tower and Jeanne Gang's Aqua Building.
Chicago is justly celebrated for its restaurants and writers, its movies and music, its cultural breakthroughs - even its way with words. But nothing defines the city more than its architecture, a creative and technological discipline in many ways responsible for Chicago's identity and very existence. This is where architecture lives, and history is still being etched upon the sky.
January 31st, 2013
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