Home Insurance Building in Chicago (USA) - first skyscraper
Location show on map
Chicago, Illinois, USA
Date of build
1885 - completion of construction
1931 - dismantling
Home Insurance Building is the first skeleton tower in history.
The engineer who came up with this brilliant idea was American William LeBaron Janney. He was to design a modern office building for the insurance company Home Insurance Company. The legend says that one day Jenney felt bad and returned from work early. He wanted to sit in his favorite chair, but he was lying on a large old photo album. Mrs. Janney went into the room and put the album on a wire parrot cage. Janney, sitting in a chair, noticed a large book lying in a silent cage. If the cage made of thin wire held such a weight... and in this way came up with the idea of skeletal construction.
The entire building weighed only 1/3 of the mass that would be achieved by the same building made of bricks. An additional advantage of this concept was the possibility of using large windows without weakening the entire structure.
The building was erected much faster than the traditional construction and much less material was needed for its construction due to its thin brick walls. When the building reached 10 floors and more than 20 m, the rule that human ignorance gives rise to unjustified fear was revealed. City authorities, under the pressure of societies, ordered the construction to be abandoned. The delegated experts were to check whether this new Janney invention would fall to the streets. Fortunately, the fears turned out to be unfounded.
The new construction method appealed to entrepreneurs very much. In a short time they built dozens of such office buildings. In this situation, people began to fear that the sunny streets of Chicago would turn into dark gullies. In 1893, the authorities reduced the height of newly built high-rise buildings to 131 feet (40 m), Chicago, like New York, suffered from the lack of space for new skyscrapers. The Home Insurance Building became a victim of this problem. It was demolished in 1931, and in its place a new, better, more beautiful skyscraper was built. Unfortunately, you probably did not realize that Home Insurance Building has such historical value. A similar fate was met by other skeletal skyscrapers erected at that time, only a dozen have survived to this day.