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word of the week: CURTAIN WALL

2010 May 17
by Caroline Nye Stevens

333 W. Wacker, CNS 2010

CURTAIN WALL: An exterior wall that offers no structural support and literally hangs off of a building’s skeletal frame like a curtain.

Reliance Building

Compare the modern curved and reflective curtain wall on 333 W. Wacker (far left) with the historic curtain wall on the Reliance Building. With 2/3 of its facade comprised of glass, the Reliance Building is arguably the world’s first glass skyscraper.

COMMENTS? Where’s your favorite curtain wall in Chicago?

4 Responses
  1. Eric Klusman permalink
    June 8, 2010

    Where is the Reliance Building located?

    • June 8, 2010

      Today it is called the Burnham Hotel and is located at 1 W. Washington Street at the intersection of Washington and State streets.

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