ENGINEERING REASONS FOR BEAUTIFUL BUILDINGS. Chicago architects usually seem to be proud of engineering innovations and enjoy explaining how features of their buildings are intended to solve engineering problems rather than aesthetic considerations. So I was pleased by Mies’s explanation in one of the articles on 860-880 Lake Shore Drive that although design elements in the building were required for strength, the real reason was that “without the steel section [I-beams] attached to the corner columns… it did not look right.” The obituary on Bruce Graham cites his pride in tube construction, which uses an external steel frame rather than an internal cage of steel. His Hancock Building and his Sears Tower used tube construction. Of the nine tubes in the Sears Tower, only two reach the top. Graham was proud that the tubes permitted the use of less steel and made it stronger. He demonstrated the design to his engineering partner with a package of cigarettes.

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