Our roots were founded in the last of the three re-building efforts that have occurred in Chicago's 165+ year history. After the Chicago Fire the need to re-build the city attracted architects, engineers, and contractors dedicated to the challenge of this massive effort. The demand for new buildings and some timely technological advances occurred almost simultaneously. Steel and iron structures, electric elevators and new foundation systems allowed construction of better and taller buildings.
The continual advancement in building technology and construction techniques lasted to the time of the Great Depression. This event and the Second World War stopped the construction of private buildings and any advancement in building technology was due to the country's defense needs.
In the early 1950's the expanding population and 20 year hiatus of building construction, created a resurgence of commercial and residential high rise construction. However, few of the previous
technical advances had not been assimilated by the design and construction industry and solutions to new problems were merely built on older ideas.
The need for better and more expeditious ways was apparent. This led firms and suppliers to seek innovations and products to answer these needs. These efforts led a structural engineer, William Schmidt, in December 1969, to invite several architects and engineer colleagues to a dinner to discuss their experiences in working on high rise buildings. Early the next year the group grew and elected Fazlur Khan its first Chairman.
The broad scope of the new committee was expressed in this statement by its chairman:
"The Chicago Committee on High Rise Buildings was formed because all of us felt the need to
expand our knowledge of margins-of-safety factors, the effects of wind on high rise buildings, how fire and tornado hazards can best be combated and many other aspects of safety and design. This is particularly true as buildings become taller and the natural forces, stresses and economic limitations of high rise construction become more important. We plan to initiate and support research in all of these areas, and disseminate the resulting information free of charge to any interested groups in the building industry."
The Committee again recognizes the founding members for their leadership and vision.
The legendary Fazlur Khan, first CCHRB Chair