The Chicago School of Architecture was a movement that led to modern architecture. Its influence on today's architecture has changed the way we build; as safety improved, the new era of the skyscraper and a deeper knowledge into architecture. The four main characteristics in the Chicago School were elevators, skeleton structure, fireproofing and foundations.
Briefly, the Chicago School was established after the great fire, and ideas for improvement brought architects and engineers for the first time to work together. This change led to the era of the skyscrapers.
Comparing with the architecture many years ago, technology wasn't a main factor in building structures, and they had a basic structure. The invention of the elevator, (and the improvement to electric powered) had led to the increase in the number of stories. Because it was easy to access, it became so popular that there was no limit to its rise. In comparison to today's lifts, they are more powerful, faster and have a low maintenance.
In relation, the ideas of taller buildings were affected by the skeleton structure. The old methods of framing were timber joints and brick walls, but slowly drifted to metal framing. It became important, because it was cost effective, hardwearing and was fire resistant. The skeleton structure idea of the Home Insurance Building is still in use today. In many modern glass-walled buildings, they have an internal framework of steel and concrete. The external glass wall does not provide any support, but acts as a protective shield. The Insurance building had a curtain wall that served as a protective function.
Fireproofing methods and materials used today were based on the Chicago movement. Although today's materials used against fires are much safer (eg: ceiling sprinkler system, fire alarms / extinguishers, fire exits and other new synthetic fire resistors), the ideas from the past were really the branch to it all. It was necessary to know the basic elements in fireproofing before the further researching.
Foundations are used to withstand winds and earthquakes. Still used today, the principles of using foundations are similar (dug underground and filled with concrete). The comparison between these two generations, modern buildings have a classy appearance with style. They usually appear like a boxed-shape and cover a small land area. Buildings built within the Chicago era had the opposite features.
In conclusive, the characteristics of today's buildings are similar to the past, but they differ with advantages in technology and further research.