As some may know, I am a blogger for the Archinect School Blog Project (check it out). Recently I posted an update of the classes that I am taking at the University of Illinois Chicago. The post included an quick rundown of a project I am working on for an Architectural Theory class. (I will probably post the whole project on here when it is done.)
The research project is about structures that were never built in Chicago. My portion of the project focuses on the National Life Insurance Building by Frank Lloyd Wright.
While doing some follow up research, and searching for information online I came upon a slough of new blog articles on the building. What was funny, they all quoted my post on Archinect! My research is accurate, but I find this amazing. What is perhaps funnier is that there is a great deal of conversation on these other blogs regarding the merits of the building, but people actually know very little about it.
These bloggers were kind enough to link to where they were reblogging from so I will give them a little shout out. It is very clear that they did not all get the post directly from my Original post but rather through each other, but the idea of proliferation in this way is so interesting.
Some real information about the building based on graduate level research.
National Life Insurance Building (1923-25)
Architect- Frank Lloyd Wright
Client- A.M.Johnson/National Life Insurance Co
Material-Cantilevered reinforced concrete floors, reinforced concrete pylons, insulated extruded sheet copper curtain wall “Suspended sheet copper screens”
When commissioned by an eccentric money man, Frank Lloyd Wright set out to design a new type of skyscraper. It was to be an “Architecture of Democracy.” Claiming that the building would be earthquake-proof (most likely a gimmick for the insurance company it was to house), the National Life Insurance Building would stand 25 stories tall at the North end of the Magnificent Mile. A set of four main transepts, the floors would be cantilevered off of groups of reinforced concrete pylons. With the load of the building taken away from the exterior FLLW was attempting to have the walls “cease to exist as either weight or thickness” with what we would now refer to as a curtain wall, and what he referred to as “suspended sheet copper screens.” These “screens” were to be per-fabricated off site. A concept that would also become the norm of skyscraper construction. Wright is also quick to point out that “there is no unsalable floor space in this building created 'for effect', and no features manufactured 'for effect'.” This was to be a tower of rationalism at a time when less then a mile away two Gothic revivalist towers where being erected (Wriggly and Tribune). Many believe that, had this building been constructed, it would have turn Wright's career around at a time when he was facing many tribulations in his personal and professional life.
There is more but we will save it...