Skyscraper of the Day, Part 16

Masonic Temple, corner of Randolph and State Streets.  Burnham and Root, 1892 (demolished, 1939).  (120 Photographic View of Chicago, Rand McNally, 1912)

Buildings braced by sway-rods typically had two or mote dedicated vertical planes on which, at every level, rods connected to columns and girders. These planes of metal bracing took the pace of masonry shear walls, and sway bracing occupied a plan width of a few inches at most instead of the foot or more that brick required to be effective. Diagonal braces could actually be built inside partition walls, but they often conflicted with doors, corridors, and open retail or banking halls. . . . 

The Masonic Temple was the ultimate example of diagonal sway-rods’ potential, using single-, double-, and triple-story panels to brace its record-breaking 273-foot height along two partition lines that were integrated into the plan.

Taken from Chicago Skyscrapers, 1871-1934 (University of Illinois Press, June 2013).

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