The Skyscraper Museum is devoted to the study of high-rise building, past, present, and future. The Museum explores tall buildings as objects of design, products of technology, sites of construction, investments in real estate, and places of work and residence. This site will look better in a browser that supports web standards, but it is accessible to any browser or Internet device.
the chicago tribune competition
In June 1922, the Chicago Tribune announced its intention to construct a new headquarters that would be "the most beautiful office building in the world." To find its architect, the Tribune conceived a competition that was also a brilliant publicity campaign. With a $50,000 first prize (the equivalent today of about $690,000!), and $20,000 and $10,000 for second and third prize, the competition generated massive press coverage and attracted 263 entries from twenty-three countries. A range of the winning entries and some famous modernist contenders from Europe are shown in the frames at the right.
To ensure the prestige of the event, the paper invited ten nationally prominent firms to submit designs and paid each $2,000. Among the invited was New Yorker John Mead Howells, the son of author and editor William Dean Howells, as well as a cousin of the Tribune publisher Robert R. McCormick. Unable to devote sufficient time to the project, Howells sought an associate to prepare the entry and happened fortuitously on the young architect Raymond Hood, who needed work. Hood created the drawings and seems to have been responsible for much of the design, which was a Gothic spire modeled on the medieval Butter Tower of Rouen.
Plate 1: First Prize, John Mead Howells and Raymond M. Hood (NYC)
Plate 7: Perspective drawing of the winning entry
Plate 13: Second Prize, Eliel Saarinen (Helsingfors, Finland) with Dwight Wallace and Bertell Grenman (Chicago)
Plate 96: Ralph Walker of McKenzie, Voorhees & Gmelin (NYC)
Plate 97: Bertram Goodhue (NYC)
Plate 20: Third Prize, Holabird & Roche (Chicago)
Plate 34: Helmle & Corbett (NYC)
Plate 44: D. H. Burnham & Co. (Chicago)
Plate 196: Adolf Loos (Nice, France)
Plate 231: Bruno Taut, Walter Gunther, and Kurz Schutz (Magdeburg, Germany)
Plate 197: Walter Gropius and Adolf Meyer (Weimar, Germany)
Plate 229: Max Taut (Berlin, Germany)
Plates from the Tribune Company, Tribune Tower Competition, 1923.
Collection of the Skyscraper Museum.