Inland Steel, 28 August 2010

2010/08/28

Yes, I know…double posting for today. Hey, I’m trying to make up for being absent from here for over a month!

D80-CHI_InlandSteel01_2010-08_16B

Photo Information:

Camera: Nikon D80
Lens: Nikon Nikkor 60mm f/2.8 Micro [1]
ISO Equivalency: 100
Color Setting: Vivid

The subject of this photo is the Inland Steel Building, designed by Skidmore, Owings, & Merrill, [2] and completed in 1958. The building is one of my favorite modern buildings in Chicago, not least because, well. As you can see, it sure is shiny! [3] According to the AIA Guide to Chicago, the building has a number of pioneering features, including being the first to have a fully unobstructed floor area (the structural columns are at the perimeter of the floor slabs, and the service elements such as MEP [4] chases, elevator shafts, etc., are located in a smaller tower that is also adjacent to the main floor areas), the first to incorporate underground indoor parking, and the first to be fully air-conditioned. All good to know, but as mentioned, I like the building because it is so darn pretty.

Enjoy.

Notes:

[1]: Apparently, I got quite a bit of use from that macro lens. Actually, while it is specifically designed for use in close-up photography, there’s nothing preventing one from using it as a short telephoto lens, either. With the crop factor for using it with a DX sensor, the lens becomes a 120mm telephoto lens – basically, a portrait lens.

[2]: Known locally and within the industry as SOM. They’re the same firm that designed the John Hancock Building and the Sears Tower here in town, not to mention some other prominent super-tall buildings around the world (1 World Trade Center (a.k.a. the Freedom Tower) in NYC, the Jin Mao Building in Shanghai, and the Burj Dubai in UAE (currently the world’s tallest building)).

[3]: Unsurprising, given that the exterior of the building is composed entirely of curtainwall glazing and stainless steel cladding…

[4]: MEP (also sometimes listed as PME) is an industry acronym for Mechanical, Electrical, and Plumbing. In high-rise construction, the primary supply lines for each typically run in a vertical shaft enclosure that shares space with the other central core elements, such as the elevators and fire escape stairs. [*] Obviously, the more things you cram into the central core, the more floor area the central core needs – the advantage inherent in the design of the Inland Steel Building is that these elements were placed in a separate structure, so that the main occupiable floor area would not be interrupted by the core elements.

[*]: Those of you who recall the various news reports following the 9/11/01 bombings of the World Trade Center may recall that these were the parts of the building that became compromised by the aircraft strikes. Typically, the central core is also integrated with the structural frame of the building, lending it additional strength, but of course, nobody engineers their buildings to withstand the impact of a speeding jet airliner.

Okay, maybe the military, but there are few (if any) civilian designers who would even consider the intentional crash of a jet as part of the design criteria for a given building…

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One Response to “Inland Steel, 28 August 2010”


  1. […] in 1958 and designed by Skidmore, Owings, & Merrill); I’ve posted about this building before, so I won’t go into further detail. The building in the third photo is the Chicago […]


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