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During the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, a number of Western cities in Britain, the United States, and Western Europe underwent a massive advancement in technology and how they were going to be built. Notably, this was the time that Industrial revolution was happening; the society was completely changed with new technology replacing human labor with mechanical work, wood was replaced by iron. It is in this Industrial revolution that the rise if the first city states occurred. This affected the society in a number of ways as many things got to change. These new cities thrived as a result of new cast iron and steel manufacturing technologies. This paper takes an in-depth study and discusses the impact of new cast-iron and steel manufacturing technologies, and their social consequences, upon the development of late nineteenth and early twentieth-century Western cities.
Cast-iron architecture is a form of architecture, in which cast iron is the central theme. This was a prominent style during the Industrial Revolution when cast iron was cheap and modern steel was not yet developed. There were a number of buildings and monuments that were built by using this material. The Eiffel Tower is a puddle iron lattice tower that is located on the Champ de Mars in France's Capital, Paris (Jonnes 163-4). It was built in 1989 and has come to be a key figure in identifying France (Billington 24-6). About three hundred workers came together to build this massive structure with about 18, 038 pieces of puddle iron. This was a very pure form of structural iron during the industrial revolution. Designed by Maurice Koechlin, the tower also used about two and a half million rivets. The risks involved in its construction were great given the fact that it is different from modern skyscrapers and it is an open frame with only two platforms. It has become a centre piece ever since attracting many visitors daily. This magnificent structure has two hotels in each of its two floors that attract a lot of both international and local visitors (Watson 142).
The other monument the Talin's Tower, also known as The Monument to the Third International, is a grand monument envisioned by a Russian architect and artist known as Vladimir Tatlin, but never built (John 28). It was supposed to be erected at what is called St. Petersburg nowadays after the Bolshevik Revolution of 1917. It was supposed to be the headquarters of the Comintern or the third international. The constructivist tower was supposed to be built from iron, glass and steel and the result would be a towering symbol of modernity. It would have been very big when compared to Eiffel Tower in Paris. It was meant to house a number of buildings that could rotate designed for conferences, lectures and legislative meetings as well. It is not considered a buildable project but rather an expression of architectural constructivism. It requires a lot of steel and the structural practicability appears to be minimal.
The other outstanding monument is the Statue of Liberty or Liberty Enlightening the World. It is a magnificent structure on Liberty Island in New York Harbor designed by Frederic Bartholdi. It represents a Roman goddess of freedom and has come to be an iconic symbol of freedom and the Unites States as well (Hayden & Despont 117-8). The monument was a gift by the People of France as a sign of friendship to the United States. Gustave Eiffel was also commissioned to come up with the huge iron pylon, as well as secondary skeletal framework that would allow the Statue's copper skin to move independently and stand upright at the same time. The statue is also a site to visit by many visitors as it symbolizes freedom and liberty.
Skyscrapers are also other structures that came to replace towers. The introduction of steel during the Industrial Revolution saw the building of modern skyscrapers. During this time, a lot of engineers started experimenting with two new materials which were iron and steel. Chicago type of architecture is very famous and one style is known as Chicago School. It is also referred to as Commercial style (Carl 15). It involved the promotion of new technologies that used steel-frame construction in many commercial buildings. This type of architecture has done a lot to influence and also reflect the history of American architecture. The Chicago school also explored the use of steel-frame construction and later large plate glass, which came to be the first modern skyscrapers.
Among the first examples of this type of architecture was the Home Insurance Building. It was built in 1884 in Chicago, but destroyed in 1931 for the construction of the Field Building. It was the first to put into use structural steel in its frame while the majority of it was composed of cast and wrought iron. It is considered to be the first skyscraper in the world due to its unique architecture and weight bearing frame. It was also the first building that carried both floors and external walls on its metal frame as it made full use of steel framing technology. It was designed by an engineer known as William Le Baron Jenney (Theodore 13).
Most people were concerned with its safety due to its massiveness, however, it only weighed a third of what a stone building would have weighed. The building is a good example of the Chicago School in architectural designs (Pridmore & George 43-5). It led to the future in the building of skyscrapers. The original designer brought the capability of the iron skeletal frame to the attention of building and architectural communities as engineers and architects began to use the idea. William Jenny figured out that iron could be the solution to stability, rigidity, and height without requiring the thickness of structural stone. The idea is responsible for laying down the foundation for numerous skyscrapers that would war. The use of steel in this massive structure held up the walls, floors, and roof, which made it extremely strong. The same engineer also came up with the Second Leiter Building also known as the Sears Building. He implemented the skeletal frame made of steel to come up with the fireproof design.
The other building that came to be iconic was the Monadnock Building. It is a skyscraper at 53 West Jackson Boulevard in Chicago. It is the first to put into use the portal system of wind bracing. Upon its completion, it came to be known as largest office building worldwide. While there were numerous critics who saw it to be lacking style, early twentieth century European architects found inspiration in the way it addressed purpose and functional expression. There is two halves of the building that are similar in scale and color; however, they appear to differ in their style. The north half is termed as a fountainhead of modern architecture due to its complete absence of exterior ornament. The other half represents a masterful early use of classical architectural principles used in designing of a tall building. The Monadnock marks a historic transition to happen in the development of structural methods since earlier buildings were supported by outside walls. While the north part was supported by Brick walls, the southern part has a chunk of it supported by a steel frame. It is nowadays referred to as curtain wall construction. Modern critics take Monadnock to be an important exemplar of the Chicago school.
Another exemplary building is the Guaranty Building. Now referred to as the Prudential Building, it was designed by Louis Sullivan and Dankmar Adler in Buffalo, New York. The design was split into four forms. Notably, the supporting steel structure was embellished with what is referred to as terra cotta blocks. These are different styles of block that delineated the three zones of the building that are visible. The structure displays an alternative exploration of the possibilities of new urban architecture that is commercial in nature. The exterior skin of the building expresses a brand new form of the steel skyscraper, while the plan shows hard realities that embrace function necessary for the construction of buildings such as those ones. It is a u-shaped building stacked upon a rectangular block.
The building came to be the first of steel-supported and curtain-walled buildings in the world. In the year 1975, it was declared to be a National Historic Landmark. Notably, skyscrapers no longer depend on a new architecture or idea, but on desire for profit. This is expressed at the speed at which construction goes on and the use of space. All these buildings are magnificent in their structures and have set the pace for modern buildings.
There are also a number of other buildings that came to be iconic that were not skyscrapers. The Crystal Palace was a building made of cast-iron and glass in Hyde Park, London (John 87-90). It housed the Great Exhibition of 1851, which displayed a number of the latest technologies that had come up in the Industrial Revolution. It was designed by a man named Joseph Paxton who received a knighthood as a result. It was then moved to Sydenham Hill after the exhibition and later destroyed by fire. It was a very magnificent structure that attracted many visitors from all over.
It was a huge, modular wood, glass and iron structure. The building was later destroyed by fire due to flammable materials that were used in its construction. Though brought down by fire, the structure still retains most of its impressive Victorian architecture. It is an iconic structure that other buildings hailed from. It had magnificent water landscape that was instrumental for the rest that followed.
The Great Stove, Chatsworth is an iconic structure designed by Joseph Paxton. It was constructed between 1836 and 1840. The building houses a lot of flowers and other small plants. It has folding glass doors and winding steps that led to a light wrought-iron gallery. It happened to be the greatest glass structure in the world by all means.
On the other hand, transport changed very much during the industrial revolution as a result of the need for better and efficient methods of transporting goods, new and cheap technologies, and large scale investment in infrastructure to most countries. The improvement of railroad led to better transportation of goods and humans as well. The course of industrial revolution was very much influenced by these accomplishments in the railroad sector (Ostler 170). A number of factories flourished as railways became a dominant mode of the transportation especially during the last half of the nineteenth century. This was all brought by the success of Stephenson and other pioneers. During this era, railways spread across countries at an alarming rate as businessmen were given tenders to build or run new lines.
The construction of the railways raised the demand for coal and steel. Steel was used to make the railways while coal was used to run the steam engines. In summary, railroad fueled industrial growth by offering cheap transport as it boosted agricultural and fishing industries. This impacted a lot on the social lives of people as many individuals got jot jobs as miners and railroad workers. It lessened the difficulty involved with people travelling. While earlier railways were cumbersome, the introduction of wrought iron developed stronger railways to be built. Examples include the Stockton and Darlington Railway, the Liverpool and Manchester Railway in England.
As railways spread across Europe and America, so did the new industrial economy. Moreover, train stations that came up as a result were of social significance to most people in the society during this era. Apart from dealing with goods and other materials, people used to travel as well. They were designed as cathedrals with spaces for other human activities. Railway stations had restaurants, shops and other personal services.
It is important to note that, the earliest examples of railways were wagonways, which were used to link coal mines to rivers that were nearby. They had wooden rails on which flanged wheel used to run. It was later improved when cast iron plates were put on top of the wooden rails, which was more durable than wood. In the 1780s, a new system came into place known as the plateway. He wagons had ordinary wheels like those of cars. However, the cast iron used was liable to break due to stones and debris found on the track. It then followed that England became very instrumental in the development of railroads and locomotive engines. Individuals like George Stephenson were successful in attempting to develop a practical rail transport. Nowadays, rail transport seems to have been forgotten about as focus shifts to modern forms of transport and superhighways.
There were also a number of bridges that sprung up during this age of revolution. The Royal Albert Bridge, in the United Kingdom, spans between Plymouth and Saltash rivers. Its unique design made the use of lenticular iron that carries the Cornish Main Line railway in and out of Cornwall. It was designed by a man named Isambard Kingdom Brunel (Peter 77). The construction of such magnificent and large structure brought about public's attention. It has impacted on numerous cultural paintings and designed as many people photograph it. The bridge has also become the symbol of transition from Devon to Cornwall as many admire it (Norrie 48). There were also other bridges that copied or borrowed from the design.
Thomas Telford's Buildwas Bridge was built by Coalbrookdale Company in 1796. However, it has been replaced by two modern structures since then. Made from cast iron, it offers the ideal starting point of studying how bridges evolved. It was based on a Swiss design but faced a number of damages. Another example is the Forth Bridge in the east of Scotland. It acts as a major connection between the north-east and south-east of the country (Charles 67). Before 1917, it was the longest and single cantilever bridge span worldwide. It was also the first bridge to use steel alone in Britain. It is still regarded to be an engineering marvel up to date. However, many were injured and lost during the construction period.
Notably, bridges were very important during this time due to the advancements of railroads. During the nineteenth century, trusses were very much used in building a number of bridges of unimaginable strength. A good example is the cantilever bridges, which consisted of truce complexes that balanced on supportive piers. Another type of steel bridge was the suspension bridge. The roadway hung from massive steel cables. An example of a massive bridge that shaped the industrial revolution is the Forth Road Bridge. It is a suspension bridge in east central of Scotland. It connects the South Queensferry to the North Queensferry. It is also adjacent to the Forth Bridge. At the time it was being constructed, it was the longest suspension bridge. It is made up of about 39000 tonnes of steel. There are numerous proposals aimed at adding up a new bridge to lessen the traffic that passes through it. Nowadays, it is still a monument of civil engineering while still functioning. There have been numerous upkeeps which has led to its perfect conservation since it was first constructed.
In conclusion, the late nineteenth century and early twentieth century saw a lot cities being impacted by new cast-iron and steel manufacturing technologies, as well as their social consequences. There was a new change in structural designs of many buildings as innovative design solutions were put to use. The emergence of technological solutions during this time saw cast iron being used in the superstructure of numerous buildings (Roth 450). Spectacular iron structures came about, for example, the Eiffel Tower and a number of railroad stations. They display the most engineering marvels of the period, as well as, the optimism of a new age. The society was completely changed by the new technology replacing human labor with mechanical work as wood was replaced by iron. It is in this Industrial revolution that the rise if the first city states occurred. This affected the society in a number of ways as many things got to change. These new cities thrived as a result of new cast iron and steel manufacturing technologies.
It also brought about new schools of architecture (Nikos 3). Cast-iron architecture is a form of architecture, in which cast iron is the central theme. This was a prominent style during the Industrial Revolution when cast iron was cheap and modern steel was not yet developed. Skyscrapers came to replace towers. The introduction of steel during the Industrial Revolution saw the building of modern skyscrapers. During this time, a lot of engineers started experimenting with two new materials, which were iron and steel. Chicago type of architecture is very famous and one style is known as Chicago School. It is also referred to as Commercial style. It involved the promotion of new technologies that used steel-frame construction in many commercial buildings. This type of architecture has done a lot to influence and also reflect the history of American architecture. The Chicago school also explored the use of steel-frame construction and later large plate glass, which came to be the first modern skyscrapers.