word of the week: LOAD-BEARING WALL
LOAD-BEARING WALL: a wall of a structure that bears the weight and force resting upon it. The load-bearing quality means that the taller a load-bearing building is, the thicker its walls become. Compare this to skeletal-framed buildings which distribute the weight of construction throughout the structure, allowing for curtain walls that offer no structural support and literally hang off a building’s frame. This is like the difference between building with legos and tinkertoys: legos are load-bearing construction and tinkertoys are skeletal-frame construction.
The Monadnock Building is the tallest masonry load-bearing commercial building in the world. The walls at the base are 6ft thick and at the top they are only 18 inches thick. Compare Chicago’s Monadnock Building with the Egyptian pyramids. Both are great examples of load-bearing construction.