honestly expressed in the form of the building. His widely published theories had a marked influence on the Chicago School architects just when the United States was beginning to realize that it was different from the Old World. That revelation was expressed by Walt Whitman, Ralph Waldo Emerson, and the sculptor Horatio Greenough, who in 1852 had called for a home-grown American architecture in terms that would be echoed (albeit in a French accent) in the theories of Viollet-le-Duc.

The Borden Block (1879–1880) by Dankmar Adler and Louis Sullivan was one of the first buildings to repudiate solid wall or heavy pier construction. Its narrow vertical piers allowed the maximum penetration of natural light to the interior. Ornament, while never completely rejected, gradually freed itself from historical precedent and became integrated with the making of the architecture, subordinated to frank structural expression, the needs of the building’s users, and the nature of materials. The economy of form of the mature skyscraper can be seen in the Marquette Building (1894–1895) by Holabird and Roche, in which narrow piers and recessed spandrels frame large rectangular windows. It is a little ironic in an essay about Chicago architecture that Adler and Sullivan’s Wainwright Building (1890–1891) in St. Louis, Missouri—their first work that exclusively used metal framing—is probably the best example of the skyscraper esthetic. Sullivan clearly expressed the external elements according to the idea set out in his tract The Tall Building Artistically Considered. He insisted that there should be a base (the public floors), a shaft (any number of identical upper floors), and a capital (the pronounced cornice crowning the composition). He denied that this articulation of die tall building form reflected the classical column, but the connection is inescapable. As noted, all human endeavor is characterized by building upon what we already have.

See also

Curtain walls

Further reading

Condit, Carl W. 1964. The Chicago School of Architecture. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Huxtable, Ada Louise. 1984. The Tall Building Artistically Reconsidered: The Search for a Skyscraper Style. Berkeley: University of California Press.

Morrison, Hugh. 1998. Louis Sullivan, Prophet of Modern Architecture. New York: W. W. Norton.

Turak, Theodore. 1986. William Le Baron Jenney: A Pioneer of Modern Architecture. Ann Arbor. MI: UMI Research Press.

Snowy Mountains Scheme


The Snowy Mountains Scheme, one of the largest engineering and construction projects in the world, extends over 2,700 square miles (7,000 square kilometers) in Australia’s Snowy Mountain Range. The “Snowies,” as they are known, form part of the Australian Alps, a southern extension of the Great Dividing Range that stretches parallel to the east coast from northeastern Queensland to Victoria. The highest peaks reach about 7,250 feet (2,300 meters). The government-financed scheme is complex but conceptually straightforward. Aqueducts and dams collect melted snow and rainwater from the upper reaches of the Snowy River and its tributary the Eucumbene, store it in reservoirs, and then divert it westward via underground tunnels. On the way, it falls 2,625 feet (800 meters) and passes through a series of power stations that generate 3,740 megawatts of electricity—approximately 16 percent of the generating capacity of southeast Australia—for the Australian Capital Territory, New South Wales, and Victoria. The water is finally released to augment irrigation along the vast inland Murrumbidgee-Murray River system for use by New South Wales, Victoria, and South Australia. The Snowy Mountains Scheme, begun in October 1949 and completed on time and under budget in 1972, involved the construction of 16 dams, 7 hydroelectric power stations, about 90 miles (145 kilometers) of tunnels, and 50 miles (80 kilometers) of aqueducts. The capital cost was $A820 million. In 1967 the American Society of Engineers listed it among the seven engineering wonders of the modern world. Thirty years later, the American Society of Civil Engineers recognized the scheme as an International Historical Civil Engineering Landmark, ranked with the Panama Canal and the Eiffel Tower.

As early as 1884 there were proposals for using the Snowy’s waters to supplement the inland rivers and relieve frequent drought conditions. In the early twentieth century, when Canberra was chosen for the site of the