April 25, 2020
Paul indicates that contemporary architecture has its roots in the American heartland, Chicago. The city of Chicago was burnt down in the 1870s due to a horrifying conflagration that caused a lot of damage. The city had to be rebuilt from scratch. The new birth of the city became the foundation of a modern architectural idiom that has influenced the way people live in modern society. Since its rebirth, Chicago has become a laboratory of architectural inventions and developments. Architects have implemented provocative theories and new technologies that have influenced architectural design history. Water Tower Property is a famous building that was not destroyed by the Great Chicago Fire of 1871. This paper explores the history of the Chicago Water Tower, its form, structure, and function.
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The Chicago Water Tower
The Chicago Water Tower made the Old Chicago famous. It is located at 806 North Michigan Avenue along Magnificent Mile near the North Side community area of Chicago. The tower was designed and built-in 1869 for the purpose of firefighting and controlling water surges in the city. It was also used to draw clean water from Lake Michigan. The tower came to the limelight after the Great Chicago Fire of 1871. While some people may incorrectly argue that the tower was the only building that was not destroyed by the fire, there are other unrecognized buildings that survived the fire. According to Liesse, Chicago Water Tower is the only public building in the area that survived the fire. From the time of the tragedy until today, the tower symbolizes the old city of Chicago. It has undergone two major renovations.
Brief History of the Architect of the Chicago Water Tower, William W. Boyington
One of the notable architects who contributed a lot to put up the structure of Chicago Water Tower is William W. Boyington. Boyington was born in Massachusetts, studied engineering and architecture in New York. After completing his studies, he secured employment in the New York State legislature, but later joined the emerging metropolis of Chicago. He designed many buildings before the Great Chicago Fire. Unfortunately, the fire destroyed most of these, but the Pumping Station and Chicago Water Tower survived. Both of these buildings have become well-loved landmarks in the United States. Boyington has also been accredited for designing other buildings such as The First LaSalle Street Station, Second Presbyterian Church and The New State Capitol Building in Springfield. The architect is also known for designing the Sherman House located at Clark and Randolph Streets 1859, the Windsor Hotels of Montreal, the Milikin Bank Building and the 1864 Democratic Convention Hall among others. Boyington lost his dwelling in Chicago in the fire tragedy. He passed on in 1898, after serving as a mayor for two successive terms.
The Water Tower Building – its Form and Structural Design
The building is located in the city of Chicago. The Water Tower building is made of stone, which makes it outstanding. According to Liesse, the building represents one of the most cherished features for many decades. Having survived the greatest disaster of 1871, the Water Tower building is believed to symbolize the indomitable spirit of the people living in the city. The design and form of the building have changed many times. According to Liesse, the original form of the building consisted of Joliet limestone blocks that were available in quarries within the city of Illinois. These blocks were substituted by Indiana limestone that has been used in the construction of buildings in other cities. The Chicago Water tower was built to conceal a standpipe that stands 138 feet tall.
The Chicago Water Tower is a neo-gothic tower with a small European medieval castle. It is designed in a Gothic style. According to Leisse, the tower is a dark, Gothic-styled building and resembles a fourteen-century European castle, as opposed to a water tower. The tower has an octagonal form even though it has elements of Gothic architecture. The building is slender with wide windows and a big balcony. The Chicago Water Tower has a minaret quality. The roof of the building is made of steel and copper. These materials were used as a contrast to the color of Indiana limestone used in other cities in the United States. The foundation of the Chicago Water Tower comprises of 168 columns, all of which are filled with concrete. Each of the columns is also capped with a square of oak. In order to enhance it, massive stones were laid in the cement. These stones complete the foundation of the building. There minor towers in the building established in five sections from the foundation of the building. Each of these towers has battlement pillars. The building has pillars at the corners. The sides of the tower have arched windows, which make the building look cozy and warm. Above these pillars, there are other sections, which consist of balconies and resemble the first sections. The sections diminish in size from bottom to top. The main tower is in the center and is on top of the last section. The entire building is about 154 feet above sea level. The architect of this building has been praised for managing to arrange the towers into a harmonious structure. Inside the Chicago Water Tower, there is a grand spiral staircase that is used to get into various floors of the standpipe. The tower has a superb sleeping room with unique archways.
Functions of the Chicago Water Tower
The Chicago Water Tower was created to serve various functions. Technically, the building was an outstanding feature of the First City. It was designed and built-in 1869 and survived till today. Gardner claims that the Chicago Water Tower is a tribute to individuals who engaged themselves in shaping and building the city over the years. The building is a memorial for the Chicago city. In the midst of the fire tragedy, the tower was not damaged by the flames and survived. It gave all the people hope that there is a chance to rebuild the city from the ashes. It symbolizes the indomitable spirit of the people of Chicago. The building has served as a point of reference when passing laws regarding structures that ought to be built around the city. Politicians from Chicago have been urged to examine the conditions that almost brought down the whole city following the fire tragedy. Therefore, politicians are advised to pass laws requiring making all structures from blocks or brick and mortar. This argument is based on the premise that the Chicago Water Tower survived the fire tragedy because it is made of blocks.
Chicago is a city rich in water sources. However, its citizens used low-quality water during the early years. Water mainly from the Chicago River tasted foul since the same river served as the city’s sewer. Cases of deadly diseases such as cholera and typhoid were common. The building of Chicago Water Tower was groundbreaking, and it brought great joy and jubilation to people living in Chicago City. The tower was designed to provide much-needed water pressure for the North Side of Chicago. No one had seen such an ornately wrapped pipe as the Chicago Water Tower. Through the tower, water-related problems in Chicago were solved. It was a near-instant project of maximum affection for people living in Chicago.
The materials used to construct the building enabled it to survive Chicago’s greatest disaster of 1871. When the fire broke out and roared across the city, all wooden buildings were destroyed. Chicago’s Water Tower was the only building that withstood the flames. The building stood as the guidepost to the totally ruined area.
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After the fire, the tower was renovated. Its first renovation occurred between 1913 and 1916. The initial limestone blocks were changed, and repairs were made in the interior area of the Water Tower. New staircases and archways were constructed. Interestingly, a little amount of money was incurred since labor was readily provided by the volunteers from the city. The second renovation took place in 1978. It is during this time when minor repairs were carried out in a detailed version with the aim of making the architecture of the buildings stronger. The standpipe located in the interior of the building was removed. The existing information building was remodeled and furnished. A well-furnished viewing area was created in a room near the main entrance. Since the time of the second renovation, the Chicago Water Tower has been used as a tourist information office. Tourists interested in the greatest fire tragedy may check the theater program every day in the building. The building serves as an information desk for tourists from different parts of the world. In 1969, the American Water Works Association has chosen the building to be the first water landmark in the United States. From then on, the tower has become the third major tourist attraction site in Chicago.
The Water Tower is a unique feature that adds value to Chicago city. Chicago is considered to be an architectural city because of the Old Water Tower. It is believed to be unique because it survived the greatest fire disaster that almost ruined Chicago’s history. As a tourist attraction feature, the tower houses a gallery, which carries works of local architectures and photographers.
In conclusion, in spite of the fire in the 1870s, the city is still respected for its influence in contemporary architecture. The Chicago Water Tower is located at 806 North Michigan Avenue along Magnificent Mile near the North Side community area of Chicago. The tower was designed for firefighting and controlling water surges in the city. William W. Boyington is accredited for playing a critical role in the designing and building of the tower. Chicago Water Tower is a tribute to individuals who were engaged in shaping and building the city over the years. The building of Chicago Water Tower was groundbreaking, and it brought great joy and jubilation to people living in Chicago City. The tower was designed to provide the water pressure for the North Side of Chicago. Having survived the greatest disaster of 1871, the Water Tower building symbolizes the indomitable spirit of the people living in the city. The foundation of the Chicago Water Tower comprises of 168 columns, all of which are filled with concrete. Each of the columns is also capped with a square of oak. The architect of this building has been praised for managing to arrange the towers into a harmonious structure. In 1969, the American Water Works Association has chosen the building to be the first water landmark in the United States. The building ranks among the top ten tourist attraction buildings in Chicago.
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