THE MILE HIGH ILLINOIS
Architect: Frank Lloyd Wright / Date: 1956 / Location: Chicago.
When asked to design a hypothetical television tower a mile high, Wright opted to turn a mere antenna into a building, proposing a 528-floor structure that would house all Illinois state government offices and consolidate commercial, governmental, and civic functions.
The facade tapers as the building rises, exposing the elevator cores to offer landscape views to those racing to the top, a trip designed to take only sixty seconds.
Given Wright’s disdain for crowded cities, an enormous skyscraper might seem like an odd project for the architect. But he viewed the idea as “a necessary step” toward the decentralization that his Broadacre City plan would bring.
He explained, “The Mile High would absorb, justify, and legitimatize the gregarious instinct of humanity … and would mop up what now remains of urbanism.” Employees working in the Mile High are surrounded by green space rather than the typical mob of towers and are freed from overcrowding, pollution, and traffic as cars and helicopters transport them easily into the natural landscape.
Wright’s colossus, which reflects an ambition to build higher and higher that’s as old as the Tower of Babel, continues to challenge architects contemplating high-rise buildings in urban environments.
(Words from here)