January 4, 2015

1397-1401 UNITED STATES (Illinois) - Chicago Skyscrapers


In the 1770s, the Haitian-born Jean Baptiste Point du Sable established a fur trading post in the area which later became known as Fort Dearborn, along the bank of the Chicago River. In 1837, the settlement had a little more than 3,500 inhabitants and was incorporated as a city. Located near a portage between the Great Lakes and the  Mississippi River watershed, Chicago emerged as an important transportation hub between the eastern and western United States, becoming the fastest growing city in the world for several decades. After the Civil War ended in 1865, the American economy was transformed by the industrial revolution, in which the city of Chicago was its leader, becoming America’s second largest city and a leading industrial center. In the 1890’s alone, the city’s population increased by 600,000 people alone.


The Great Chicago Fire, which destroyed most buildings within the downtown area, led to the largest building boom in the history of the nation. In 1885, the first steel-framed high-rise building, the Home Insurance Building, rose in the city as Chicago ushered in the skyscraper era. Moreover, the city gave its name to the Chicago School and was home to the Prairie School, two movements in architecture, being able to say that the architecture of Chicago has influenced and reflected the history of American architecture. Numerous architects have constructed landmark buildings of varying styles in city. Some of these are the so-called "Chicago seven":  James Ingo Freed, Tom Beeby, Larry Booth, Stuart Cohen, James Nagle, Stanley Tigerman, and Ben Weese. Today, the city's skyline is among the world's tallest and most dense.


Willis Tower - built as and still commonly referred to as Sears Tower, is a 108-story, 442m skyscraper completed in 1973. It surpassed the World Trade Center towers in New York to become the tallest building in the world, a title held for nearly 25 years. As of December 2013, the Willis Tower is the second-tallest building in the United States and the eighth-tallest freestanding structure in the world. Its innovative design, structurally efficient and economic, inspired by an advertisement for a package of cigarettes, was realised by the architect Bruce Graham and structural engineer Fazlur Rahman Khan (Skidmore, Owings & Merrill), who used for the first time bundled tube structure. The tower's observation deck (the Skydeck), located on the 103rd floor, is 412m high and is one of the most famous tourist attractions in Chicago.


Presidential Towers - is a series of four nearly identical towers with 49 storeys (141m), each a step back from the leader, and spanning two city blocks. Designed by Solomon Cordwell Buenz & Associates and built between 1985 and 1986, it was one of the pioneering residential projects in the River West neighborhood, an area that was once seen as nothing more than a ramshackle collection of old brick warehouses.

333 West Wacker Drive - is an office building with a height of 149m, designed by Kohn Pederson Fox Associates and completed in 1983. On the side facing the Chicago River, the building features a curved green glass façade, while on the other side the building adheres to the usual rectangular street grid. It’s not the tallest, or the most expensive, but it is still one of the superstars of the Chicago skyline.


James R. Thompson Center - houses offices of the Illinois state government. The building opened in 1985 as the State of Illinois Center was renamed in 1993 to honor former Illinois Governor James R. Thompson. The property takes up one of the 35 full-size city blocks within Chicago's Loop. It was designed by Murphy/Helmut Jahn and opened to mixed reviews by critics, ranging from "outrageous" to "wonderful". The 17-storeys, all-glass exterior does not reflect the building's function, and instead conveys an image of pure postmodernism.

About the stamps
On the first postcard
The first stamp is part of the Wedding series, about which I wrote here. The second stamp is part of the series Send a Hello (Forever), about which I wrote here.

On the second postcard
The first stamp, depicting Spicebush Swallowtail, is part of a definitive series with butterflies, about which I wrote here. The second belong to the series issued on 2013 to commemorate the Harry Potter film series, about which I wrote here.

On the third postcard
The first stamp is part of the Wedding series, about which I wrote here. The second belong to the series issued on 2013 to commemorate the Harry Potter film series, about which I wrote here.

On the fourth postcard
The first stamp is part of the series Send a Hello (Forever), about which I wrote here. The second stamp is part of the Wedding series, about which I wrote here.

On the fifth postcard
The first stamp is part of the series A Flag for All Seasons, about which I wrote here. The second stamp, depicting Spicebush Swallowtail, is part of a definitive series with butterflies, about which I wrote here.

References
Chicago - Wikipedia
Chicago skyline guide - Wikitravel
Chicago/Loop - Wikitravel
Willis Tower - Wikipedia
Presidential Towers - Chicago Architecture Info 
333 Wacker Drive - Chicago Architecture Info
333 Wacker Drive - Wikipedia

Sender 1-5: Denise 
1-5: Sent from Greenvale (New York / United States), on 17.01.2014
1, 3, 5: Photo - Karina Wang 
2: Photo - Terry Shoulders
4: Photo - Phil Valdez

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