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Old Posted Oct 27, 2021, 2:02 AM
galleyfox galleyfox is online now
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Originally Posted by twister244 View Post
That photo of the "curving terrace" is just jaw dropping.....

The contrast of new and old - amazing.

Photos like this make me appreciate Chicago so much more from an architectural perspective. I have spent this month in Paris, and this might sound crazy, but I feel these weird parallel DNA strands between the two cities.

Walking through the parks in central Paris.... Seeing the fountain at the gardens at Versailles that look oddly like Buckingham Fountain..... The emphasis on architecture, food, and blending it together. Or maybe I am reaching for some connection that isn't there.

When I see the neo-gothic style of old Chicago buildings built in this era, I can't help but think Paris had an influence on those who built the pillars of Chicago after the fire. So seeing these photos of the Tribune tower rehabs now just make me appreciate it even more from a distance. The integration of the old Tribune Tower with new interior design here is worth every penny.

The connection is that Chicago quite literally wanted to be Paris.

The Paris we see today is the result of the wide-scale demolition and rebuilding of the medieval city into a then-modern city between the years of 1853 to 1870.

Chicago burned down in 1871.

Every single ambitious American architect at the time thought, “Holy Crap, here’s our chance to build an American Paris.” Burnham’s 1909 Plan of Chicago is all about trying to make Chicago into a Parisian-like city. (With the hope that a renovation similar to Paris could also be a form of effective social engineering for Chicago.)

From 1853 to 1861, William Le Baron Jenney who built Chicago’s first skyscraper studied architecture and engineering at the École Centrale Paris, learning sophisticated iron and steel techniques. His classmate was Gustave Eiffel.

The Eiffel Tower was built for the 1889 World’s Fair in Paris.

Chicago was desperate to host the next World Fair to try to surpass Paris. In 1893, Chicago completed the White City and the Ferris Wheel.

People who visited Chicago to see the White City also traveled there to see the world’s first skyscrapers which were called the “Black City”. The skyscrapers were described as Eiffel Towers with walls.

From a French perspective:

“By a singular contrast, the White City I left, constructed only for a season and finished to the minutest detail, must disappear forever, while the black city, which will endure forever is only at its commencement. Strange contrast. I felt it was unique. I saw it presented the exceptional feature of this exposition, distinguishing it from all others.

The White City of Jackson Park, with its palatial monuments of human achievement lacking only in stability, standing at the gates of a city still incomplete, is not an apotheosis, it is a hope.”

Paul Bourget

Basically, Chicago was a very young city, trying to establish its own identity, that became fascinated by Paris at a critical time.

Last edited by galleyfox; Oct 27, 2021 at 4:28 AM.