Jenney, William Le Baron


Jenney, William Le Baron
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b. 25 September 1832 Fairhaven, Massachusetts, USA
d. 15 June 1907 Los Angeles, California, USA
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American architect and engineer who pioneered a method of steel-framed construction that made the skyscraper possible.
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Jenney's Home Insurance Building in Chicago was completed in 1885 but demolished in 1931. It was the first building to rise above ten to twelve storeys and was possible because it did not require immensely thick walls on the lower storeys to carry the weight above. Using square-sectioned cast-iron wall piers, hollow cylindrical cast-iron columns on the interior and, across these, steel and cast-iron beams and girders, Jenney produced a load-bearing metal framework independent of the curtain walling. Beams and girders were united by ties as well as being bolted to the vertical members, so providing a strong framework to take the building load. Jenney went on to build in Chicago the Second Leiter Building (1889–91) and, in 1891, the Manhattan Building. He played a considerable part in the planning of the 1893 Chicago World's Fair. Jenney is accepted as having been the founder of the Chicago school of architecture, and he trained many of the later noted architects and builders of the city, such as William Holabird, Martin Roche and Louis Sullivan.
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Further Reading
A.Woltersdorf, 1924, "The father of the skeleton frame building", Western Architecture 33.
F.A.Randall, 1949, History of the Development of Building Construction in Chicago, Urbana: University of Illinois Press.
C.Condit, 1964, The Chicago School of Architecture: A History of Commercial and Public Building in the Chicago Area 1875–1925, Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
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Biographical history of technology. - Taylor & Francis e-Librar. . 2005.