Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Architecture and the Chicago World Fair

Many different aspects of the Gilded Age shine though as I read “The Devil in The White City.” Chicago was growing as a city and many things were arising that helped the progress of the city….things such as architecture, social status, crime and corruption, consumption, and transportation.

The aspect of Chicago that I am going to focus on is the progress being made in architecture and its techniques that helped Chicago grow as a city and was a big part in how the Chicago World Fair came to be. During the Gilded Age, architecture started to develop in a different way, buildings started to grow taller instead of wider in order to make space for more buildings and for more people to be able to live in the city. Overall architecture and the ways that buildings were being built were experimenting with different ideas and this theory is very evident in the Chicago World Fair.

Burnham wanted the Architecture to be something that the public would never forget and the buildings he had designed would surely make that hope a reality. The buildings for the World Fair were extravagant, so much that deadlines were pushed back due to inability to build such detailed structures in the given time period. A major theme among architects in the Gilded Age was new ideas and one of the structures in the Chicago World Fair that stood out to me as a prime example of this theory was the development and building of the Ferris Wheel. This structure reflects the idea of “skyscrapers” which was a new architectural style developed during the Gilded Age. It reflects the idea of building up and no longer developing buildings horizontally.

The transformation that Burnham and his team of architects made when planning and executing the Chicago World Fair is certainly a reflection of how architecture has made a transformation throughout the Gilded Age and would pave a new trail in which architecture would be viewed in the future.

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