Jenney, William LeBaron In 1884, Chicago architect William LeBaron Jenney created the first skyscraper. The Home Life Insurance Building was the first construction to have its whole weight supported by an iron frame, including the outer walls. It used this new technology to reach a height of 140 feet (43 m). The invention of the elevator in 1841 made it possible for people to go up in buildings, which before then had been used only as storage space.
The idea for the Home Life Insurance Building came to Jenney while he was sitting with his friend and business partner, Frank Lloyd Wright. They were talking about how hard it was for architects to get work due to the many applicants vying for few jobs. Jenney decided to use his knowledge of engineering to create a product that would be needed by businesses. He reasoned that if there were more than one way to do something, then why should someone who knows a lot about one method be limited to working on just one project at a time? This idea eventually became known as "division of labor".
Wright loved what Jenney had come up with and they agreed to work together on the project. The two initially met with some resistance from their colleagues who didn't think they could build such a high structure. However, word of mouth helped to spread information about the advantages of using iron frames and elevators in building projects.
Jenney, William LeBaron In 1884, local architect William LeBaron Jenney was the first to stretch the boundaries by creating the first skyscraper. He called his new building the "Metropolitan Tower" because it was supposed to be the tallest structure in Chicago at 73 feet tall.
His idea was not new. Ever since the invention of the elevator in the 16th century, architects have been dreaming up ways to use them in buildings. But it was Jenney who first put these ideas together into a workable plan that could be implemented today. His design included an enclosed revolving floor for passengers, a technology that is used in modern skyscrapers like The Willis Tower (now known as One World Trade Center) in New York City and Samsung Skywalk in Seoul, South Korea.
Other architects had also dreamed up similar ideas before Jenney came along, but he was the first one to actually build such a thing. His tower was successful at raising money for its owner, the Metropolitan Life Insurance Company, so it must have made sense business-wise. But the public didn't love it, and neither did his next project, which was also an insurance company building. After this failure, Jenney quit designing towers altogether and started over on a new project: a city hall.
The Home Insurance Building, erected in 1885 as the world's first completely steel-frame skyscraper with increasing height, is credited with inventing the skyscraper; it was destroyed in 1931. However, this building was not the first steel-framed skyscraper, and it is Henry Hobson Richardson who gets the credit for this achievement.
Richardson developed his own version of the skyscraper before the Home Insurance Building was even completed. His designs were more ambitious than those of its creator, Chicago's Charles Boyington, and included larger floor plates, better offices, and storage space. The Home Insurance Building was replaced by the Merchandise Mart, which was also designed by Richardson. It is this building that gives rise to today's conception of the skyscraper as a towering engineering feat.
Before the advent of the skyscraper, churches and government buildings were the only structures large enough for many people to work in comfortably. The idea of putting factories, warehouses, and office towers on top of each other is new. It requires new technologies for construction as well as design. Skyscrapers are now found everywhere in major cities around the world.
In conclusion, the invention of the skyscraper is credited with creating a new form of architecture that has been used ever since then.