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This article was originally published on the blog of the Chicago Architecture Biennial, the largest platform for contemporary architecture in North America. The 2017 Biennial, entitled Make New History, will be free and open to the public between September 16, 2017 and January 6, 2018. The Tribune Tower has stood at the heart of Chicago’s cultural heritage for almost a hundred years. Like the spire of a secular cathedral, it still symbolizes the rise of the “city of big shoulders” and its defining role in the American Century. But the building is more than a Chicago icon. The story of its origin has proved to be one of the most enduringly influential narratives in 20th Century architecture, key to understanding the skylines of cities all over the world. A groundbreaking skyscraper was the highest ambition of Colonel Robert R. McCormick, the powerful publisher of the Chicago Tribune and a man who dominated local politics before the First World War. Hoping to project an aura of international prestige for his burgeoning media empire, the competition brief he compiled asked architects to create “the most beautiful office building in the world.” View more View full description
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