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Chicago tribune tower competition - Essay Example

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In 1922, the Chicago Tribune hosted an international design competition for its new headquarters, and offered a $50,000 prize for the most beautiful and eye-catching building in the world. The competition worked brilliantly for months as a publicity stunt to enhance the…
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Chicago tribune tower competition

Download file to see previous pages... (see fig. 1) Yet as with any design project, opinions were subjective, many professionals believing the winner should have been the simplified modernistic design by the Finnish architect, Eliel Saarinen.(see fig. 2). Winner or not, future designs would soon replicate Saarinen’s simplicity and the competition itself become the focal point of discussion and ideas that would forever effect the purpose and design of these giant, impressive structures. (jitterbuzz.com, no date)
Howell’s and Hood’s design, with its classic buttresses popular in the early twentieth century, seemed a logical choice to blend with other more traditional buildings in the city. The thirty-six story building featured a spectacular topside treatment with structural piers shooting upward to flying buttresses that form an ornate ornamental crown. Elaborate Gothic carvings adorn the top and bottom of the building along with contributing decorations from more than one-hundred and twenty structures of significance, including the Great Wall of China. As was the case with most of Hoods projects, the sculptures and decorations were executed by the American artist Rene Paul Chamberllan. The tower also features carved images of Robin Hood (Hood) and a howling dog (Howells) near the main entrance to commemorate the architects. Its famous lobby incorporates patriotic passages defending freedom of the press. Its Gothic style, hardly unique, was somewhat based on a precedent set by Hood’s Woolworth Building, built 1913”(see fig 3) ( jitterbuzz.com, no date, para. 3).
Critics such as Louis Sullivan, who coined the phrase “form ever follows function,” disagreed on principle with the committee’s choice. Though Sullivan’s quote has often been over-and misused over time, “his [Sullivan’s] point, that the style of architecture should reflect its purpose, made sense at the time, and continued to do so for much of the last century...” (Rawsthorn, 2009, para. 3).
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