The Devil in the White City recounts the saga of creating the World's Fair in Chicago in the late 1800s. There were many obstacles to overcome in the creation of the Chicago World's Fair, many of them specific to the architecture but others, as well. One huge obstacle was the weather. The Midwest in winter is a devilish hazard just to live in; for someone trying to build something as monumental as these structures, it would have been horrific. A second obstacle was the Fair's proximity to water. Not only did that make the weather conditions worse, it also created an unstable foundation for any structure. Third, the great architects in America (located primarily on the east coast) at first refused to work on the project, insulted because New York was not chosen as the site for this World's Fair and appalled that such a "heathen" city would be hosting the world and representing the best of America. Once they did finally join the project, there was the natural discord of creative people with disparate visions. This caused countless delays, compromises, and problems during the course of building the Fair.
There are certainly others, as you no doubt know from your reading, but these are the primary three obstacles to the architectural work at this World's Fair in Chicago.