Oriel Chambers, Liverpool
Address: 14 Water Street, Liverpool, Merseyside L2 8TD, United Kingdom
Construction started: 1864; Opened: 1865.
Architectural style: Modern architecture
Architect: Peter Ellis
Oriel Chambers is the world’s first building featuring a metal framed glass curtain wall. Designed by architect Peter Ellis and built in 1864, it is located on Water Street near the town hall in Liverpool, England. Peter Ellis also designed the world’s second glass curtain walled building: 16 Cook Street, also in Liverpool and very close to Oriel Chambers. Scroll down for image.
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It has been suggested that American architect John Root was influenced by the construction of both buildings, having studied in Liverpool at the time of their construction John Wellborn Root studied in Liverpool as a teenaged boy, being sent there by his father to be safe from the American Civil War following the Atlanta Campaign (1864). In all likelihood, he studied the then brand new Oriel Chambers and put the lessons learnt to good use when he developed into an important architect of the Chicago School of Architecture, exporting Ellis’ ideas across the Atlantic. Long rows of bay windows (of which oriels are a special type) characterise some of Burnham and Root’s 1880s American skyscrapers.
16 Cook Street, Liverpool is the world’s second glass curtain walled building. Designed by Peter Ellis in 1866, it is a Grade II Listed Building.
Built two years after Oriel Chambers on Water Street, the architect’s only other work, it shows the development of Ellis’ style. Its floor to ceiling glass allows light to penetrate deep into the building, contrasting strongly with the adjacent structures.
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