Formation of the Chicago Committee on High Rise Buildings

As told by Sherwin Asrow

The impetus for the formation of the Chicago Committee on High Rise Buildings (CCHRB) was
the meeting in 1968 with William Schmidt, a well-known Structural Engineer in Chicago.
William Schmidt and his daughter and her husband George Horncol were responsible for the
structural design of many of the concrete apartment buildings on Lake Shore Drive in the 1960’s.
He was retained to do the structural design for Lake Point Tower that was architecturally
designed by George Schipporeit and his partner John Heinrich.

In the initiation of the construction of the foundations for Lake Point Tower, the Portland
Cement Association agreed to document the stresses in the hardpan under the caissons and the
stresses in the caissons as the building was being constructed. In early 1968, the funds that were
appropriated for this investigation had been depleted. William Schmidt was notified that the
investigation would be terminated unless he provided the funds to carry on the investigation.

William Schmidt requested a meeting with a number of Structural Engineers at the Red Star Inn
in the near north side of Chicago. Sherwin Asrow, along with his mentor John Roche, Alfred
Benesch as well as several other Structural Engineers, met to discuss William Schmidt’s need for
funds in order to continue the document the stresses. After the meeting, the structural engineers
present discussed the need of an organization that would address the design and construction
issues involved in the design and construction of high-rise buildings.

Prominent Chicago Architects and Structural Engineers met to discuss the formation of an
organization to meet this need. The attached document indicates those that were present at the
initial meeting of CCHRB on February 18, 1969.