Trends In Chicago Architecture

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Since the founding of Chicago in 1833 we can notice patterns in styles in architecture and take this knowledge to think about the conceptual design of the city in its entirety. Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, Hammond, Beeby, and Babka were all famous architects with different styles and concepts. Their views on ornamentation and historical touches conflicted, but all are similar in that they found light, space, and function in their building designs. Most importantly, they left a mark on Chicago architecture that has inspired other architects to draw from their work and to unify the city. Significant Chicago architectural buildings such as the Harold Washington Library and the Dirksen Federal Building play a vast role in both the multicultural and…show more content…
The Dirksen Federal Building envelops all of Mies’s musings on architecture into one grand building. It is one of Mies’s most famed designs because of its bold I-beams, stunning transparency, and balance. (Pridmore & Larson 137) Mies’s geometric style and lack of ornamentation recalls De Stijl art and its intent to cleanse art of historical reference. (Pridmore & Larson 139). This international styled building supports Mies’s “less is more” approach (Pridmore & Larson 137). This tower made of glass and steel gives off a reflective view of its surrounding city and people. Before walking into the building we noticed a weightless transparency yet mirror-like effect through the exterior glass elements of the building. The surrounding marble floor from the outside of the building continues onto the inside, forming a sense of wholeness and continuity. The interior of the building is made of marble walls and flooring which flow into one, with vertical steel material used as a differentiating component between the glass and marble. The large glass panel windows articulate light into the building. This light helps to expand the size of the…show more content…
Further towards the center of the building, there is an open yet unified portal in which we could see more than one floor at once. Symbols and quotes are located in the center and lowest level of this portal, portraying unification of not only the building’s ties of literacy to architecture, but of the City of Chicago as a whole. Although there is barely glass ceiling throughout the lower levels of the building, the various ceiling and wall lights it has are eloquently adorned displaying the beaux arts and Romanesque integration. However, a part of the building that has the most natural and organic light element is the glass roofed winter garden located at the top floor. This winter garden demonstrates late 1800 environmental openness in architecture similar to The Rookery, created by Burnham and Root, which is a part of Chicago’s architectural past. Both The Harold Washington Library and the Dirksen Federal Building are examples of Chicago’s architectural advances which also incorporate ideas and foundations that have been derived from Chicago’s past

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