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word of the week: SKELETAL FRAME

2010 March 7
by Caroline Nye Stevens

SKELETAL FRAME: a frame of vertical columns (typically made of steel) and horizontal beams which create a grid to support the floors, roof and walls hanging from (or attached to) the building.

The development of the skeletal frame is what made the skyscraper possible. The Home Insurance Building in Chicago (demolished) was the first building supported entirely by a skeletal frame — making its architect, William Le Baron Jenney, the father of the skyscraper.