The Illinois: Could Frank Lloyd Wright’s mile-high skyscraper be built (somewhere in the world)?

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From Forbes.com: Frank Lloyd Wright (American, 1867–1959). The Mile High Illinois, Chicago. Project, 1956. Perspective with Wright’s Golden Beacon Apartment Building project, 1956–57 (detail). Pencil, colored pencil, ink, and gold ink on tracing paper, 105″ x 30″. The Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation Archives (The Museum of Modern Art | Avery Architectural & Fine Arts Library, Columbia University, New York).
The Illinois -- Frank Lloyd Wright's envisaged mile-high skyscraper
The Illinois — Frank Lloyd Wright’s envisaged mile-high skyscraper

In the 1950s, architect Frank Lloyd Wright proposed an outrageously ambitious concept — a mile-high, 548-story skyscraper that would house 10,000 people. He dubbed it: “The Illinois.”

Of course, the building hasn’t been constructed yet, and his vision of “atomic elevators” would probably scare anyone fearing a nuclear meltdown somewhere on the 400th floor. However, there has been a trend towards building increasingly large and massive buildings world-wide, with some 3,000 ft. plus tall projects, including one in Saudi Arabia that will likely be built by 2019. (The Kingdom Tower had originally been planned as a mile-high structure, but engineers discovered the surrounding geology couldn’t support a structure that tall.)

There aren’t current plans to build anything like The Illinois in Illinois, but it is still fascinating to travel back into the past, as noted in this Forbes.com article, reporting on an exhibition at New York’s Museum of Modern Art (MoMA).

He presented his grandiose plan with colossal architectural drawings, one of which was twenty-six feet high. (An eight-foot-high version is exhibited at MoMA.) . “If we’re going to have centralization, why not quit fooling around and have it,” he said in a 1956 presentation to Chicago’s leading businessmen.

Wright’s dream may have seemed wildly futuristic in 1956 in Chicago, but may come true sometime within the next decade or two.

mile high
From Forbes.com: Frank Lloyd Wright (American, 1867–1959). The Mile High Illinois, Chicago. Project, 1956. Perspective with Wright’s Golden Beacon Apartment Building project, 1956–57 (detail). Pencil, colored pencil, ink, and gold ink on tracing paper, 105″ x 30″. The Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation Archives (The Museum of Modern Art | Avery Architectural & Fine Arts Library, Columbia University, New York).

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