Skyscraper
Overview
 
A skyscraper is a tall, continuously habitable building of many stories, often designed for office and commercial use. There is no official definition or height above which a building may be classified as a skyscraper. One common feature is that skyscrapers tend to make use of a steel framework structure from which walls are suspended, rather than having load-bearing walls as seen in conventional buildings.

As there is no official definition of what constitutes a skyscraper, a relatively small building may be considered one if it protrudes well above its built environment and changes the overall skyline
Skyline
A skyline is the overall or partial view of a city's tall buildings and structures consisting of many skyscrapers in front of the sky in the background. It can also be described as the artificial horizon that a city's overall structure creates. Skylines serve as a kind of fingerprint of a city, as...

.
Encyclopedia
A skyscraper is a tall, continuously habitable building of many stories, often designed for office and commercial use. There is no official definition or height above which a building may be classified as a skyscraper. One common feature is that skyscrapers tend to make use of a steel framework structure from which walls are suspended, rather than having load-bearing walls as seen in conventional buildings.

As there is no official definition of what constitutes a skyscraper, a relatively small building may be considered one if it protrudes well above its built environment and changes the overall skyline
Skyline
A skyline is the overall or partial view of a city's tall buildings and structures consisting of many skyscrapers in front of the sky in the background. It can also be described as the artificial horizon that a city's overall structure creates. Skylines serve as a kind of fingerprint of a city, as...

. The maximum height of structures has progressed historically with building methods and technologies. 'Supertall' has arisen as a contemporary expression for exceptionally tall buildings, although again there is no formal definition.

Definition

The word "skyscraper" originally was a nautical term
Glossary of nautical terms
This is a glossary of nautical terms; some remain current, many date from the 17th-19th century. See also Wiktionary's nautical terms, :Category:Nautical terms, and Nautical metaphors in English.- A :...

 referring to a small triangular sail set above the skysail on a sailing ship
Sailing ship
The term sailing ship is now used to refer to any large wind-powered vessel. In technical terms, a ship was a sailing vessel with a specific rig of at least three masts, square rigged on all of them, making the sailing adjective redundant. In popular usage "ship" became associated with all large...

. The term was first applied to buildings of steel framed construction of at least 10 storeys in the late 19th century, a result of public amazement at the tall buildings being built in major cities like Chicago
Chicago
Chicago is the largest city in the US state of Illinois. With nearly 2.7 million residents, it is the most populous city in the Midwestern United States and the third most populous in the US, after New York City and Los Angeles...

, New York City
New York City
New York is the most populous city in the United States and the center of the New York Metropolitan Area, one of the most populous metropolitan areas in the world. New York exerts a significant impact upon global commerce, finance, media, art, fashion, research, technology, education, and...

, Detroit, and St. Louis. The first steel frame skyscraper was the Home Insurance Building
Home Insurance Building
The Home Insurance Building was built in 1884 in Chicago, Illinois, USA and destroyed in 1931 to make way for the Field Building . It was the first building to use structural steel in its frame, but the majority of its structure was composed of cast and wrought iron...

 (originally 10 storeys with a height of 42 m or 137.8 ft) in Chicago, Illinois in 1885. Some point to New York's seven-floor Equitable Life Assurance Building, built in 1870, as an early skyscraper for its innovative use of a kind of skeletal frame, but such designation depends largely on what factors are chosen. Even the scholars making the argument find it to be purely academic.

The structural definition of the word skyscraper was refined later by architectural historians, based on engineering developments of the 1880s that had enabled construction of tall multi-storey buildings. This definition was based on the steel skeleton—-as opposed to constructions of load-bearing masonry
Masonry
Masonry is the building of structures from individual units laid in and bound together by mortar; the term masonry can also refer to the units themselves. The common materials of masonry construction are brick, stone, marble, granite, travertine, limestone; concrete block, glass block, stucco, and...

, which passed their practical limit in 1891 with Chicago's Monadnock Building
Monadnock Building
The Monadnock Building , is a skyscraper located at 53 West Jackson Boulevard in the south Loop community area of Chicago, Illinois. The north half of the building was designed by the firm of Burnham & Root and built in 1891...

. The steel frame developed in stages of increasing self-sufficiency, with several buildings in Chicago and New York advancing the technology that allowed the steel frame to carry a building on its own. Today, however, many of the tallest skyscrapers are built almost entirely with reinforced concrete
Reinforced concrete
Reinforced concrete is concrete in which reinforcement bars , reinforcement grids, plates or fibers have been incorporated to strengthen the concrete in tension. It was invented by French gardener Joseph Monier in 1849 and patented in 1867. The term Ferro Concrete refers only to concrete that is...

.

Skyscraper and supertall

The Emporis Standards Committee defines a high-rise
Tower block
A tower block, high-rise, apartment tower, office tower, apartment block, or block of flats, is a tall building or structure used as a residential and/or office building...

 building as "a multi-storey structure between 35–100 metres tall, or a building of unknown height from 12–39 floors" and a skyscraper as "a multi-storey building whose architectural height is at least 100 metres." Some structural engineer
Structural engineer
Structural engineers analyze, design, plan, and research structural components and structural systems to achieve design goals and ensure the safety and comfort of users or occupants...

s define a highrise as any vertical construction for which wind is a more significant load factor
Load factor
Load factor may refer to:* Load factor , the ratio of the lift of an aircraft to its weight* Load factor , the ratio of the number of records to the number of addresses within a data structure...

 than earthquake
Earthquake
An earthquake is the result of a sudden release of energy in the Earth's crust that creates seismic waves. The seismicity, seismism or seismic activity of an area refers to the frequency, type and size of earthquakes experienced over a period of time...

 or weight. Note that this criterion fits not only high-rises but some other tall structures, such as tower
Tower
A tower is a tall structure, usually taller than it is wide, often by a significant margin. Towers are distinguished from masts by their lack of guy-wires....

s.

The word skyscraper often carries a connotation of pride and achievement. The skyscraper, in name and social function, is a modern expression of the age-old symbol of the world center
Axis mundi
The axis mundi , in religion or mythology, is the world center and/or the connection between heaven and Earth. As the celestial pole and geographic pole, it expresses a point of connection between sky and earth where the four compass directions meet...

 or axis mundi: a pillar that connects earth to heaven and the four compass directions to one another.

A loose convention of some in the United States and Europe draws the lower limit of a skyscraper at 150 metres (~500 ft).

History

Before the 19th century

Modern skyscrapers are built with materials such as steel
Steel
Steel is an alloy that consists mostly of iron and has a carbon content between 0.2% and 2.1% by weight, depending on the grade. Carbon is the most common alloying material for iron, but various other alloying elements are used, such as manganese, chromium, vanadium, and tungsten...

, glass
Glass
Glass is an amorphous solid material. Glasses are typically brittle and optically transparent.The most familiar type of glass, used for centuries in windows and drinking vessels, is soda-lime glass, composed of about 75% silica plus Na2O, CaO, and several minor additives...

, reinforced concrete
Reinforced concrete
Reinforced concrete is concrete in which reinforcement bars , reinforcement grids, plates or fibers have been incorporated to strengthen the concrete in tension. It was invented by French gardener Joseph Monier in 1849 and patented in 1867. The term Ferro Concrete refers only to concrete that is...

 and granite
Granite
Granite is a common and widely occurring type of intrusive, felsic, igneous rock. Granite usually has a medium- to coarse-grained texture. Occasionally some individual crystals are larger than the groundmass, in which case the texture is known as porphyritic. A granitic rock with a porphyritic...

, and routinely utilize mechanical equipment such as water pump
Water Pump
Water Pump is one of the neighbourhoods of Gulberg Town in Karachi, Sindh, Pakistan. It is near main Water Pump that supplies fresh water to the city of Karachi....

s and elevator
Elevator
An elevator is a type of vertical transport equipment that efficiently moves people or goods between floors of a building, vessel or other structures...

s. Until the 19th century, buildings of over six stories were rare, as having great numbers of stairs to climb was impractical for inhabitants, and water pressure was usually insufficient to supply running water above 50 m (164 ft).

The tallest building in ancient times was the Great Pyramid of Giza
Great Pyramid of Giza
The Great Pyramid of Giza is the oldest and largest of the three pyramids in the Giza Necropolis bordering what is now El Giza, Egypt. It is the oldest of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, and the only one to remain largely intact...

 in ancient Egypt
Ancient Egypt
Ancient Egypt was an ancient civilization of Northeastern Africa, concentrated along the lower reaches of the Nile River in what is now the modern country of Egypt. Egyptian civilization coalesced around 3150 BC with the political unification of Upper and Lower Egypt under the first pharaoh...

, which was 146 metres (479 ft) tall and was built in the 26th century BC. Its height was not surpassed for thousands of years, possibly until the 14th century AD with the construction of Lincoln Cathedral
Lincoln Cathedral
Lincoln Cathedral is a historic Anglican cathedral in Lincoln in England and seat of the Bishop of Lincoln in the Church of England. It was reputedly the tallest building in the world for 249 years . The central spire collapsed in 1549 and was not rebuilt...

 (though its height is disputed), which in turn was not surpassed in height until the Washington Monument
Washington Monument
The Washington Monument is an obelisk near the west end of the National Mall in Washington, D.C., built to commemorate the first U.S. president, General George Washington...

 in 1884. However, being uninhabited buildings, none of these buildings actually complies with the definition of a skyscraper.

High-rise apartment buildings already flourished in classical antiquity
Classical antiquity
Classical antiquity is a broad term for a long period of cultural history centered on the Mediterranean Sea, comprising the interlocking civilizations of ancient Greece and ancient Rome, collectively known as the Greco-Roman world...

: ancient Roman
Ancient Rome
Ancient Rome was a thriving civilization that grew on the Italian Peninsula as early as the 8th century BC. Located along the Mediterranean Sea and centered on the city of Rome, it expanded to one of the largest empires in the ancient world....

 insulae
Insulae
In Roman architecture, an insula was a kind of apartment building that housed most of the urban citizen population of ancient Rome, including ordinary people of lower- or middle-class status and all but the wealthiest from the upper-middle class...

 in Rome and other imperial
Roman Empire
The Roman Empire was the post-Republican period of the ancient Roman civilization, characterised by an autocratic form of government and large territorial holdings in Europe and around the Mediterranean....

 cities reached up to 10 and more stories. Several emperors
Roman Emperor
The Roman emperor was the ruler of the Roman State during the imperial period . The Romans had no single term for the office although at any given time, a given title was associated with the emperor...

, beginning with Augustus
Augustus
Augustus ;23 September 63 BC – 19 August AD 14) is considered the first emperor of the Roman Empire, which he ruled alone from 27 BC until his death in 14 AD.The dates of his rule are contemporary dates; Augustus lived under two calendars, the Roman Republican until 45 BC, and the Julian...

 (r. 30 BC-14 AD), attempted to establish limits of 20–25 m for multi-storey buildings, but met with only limited success. The lower floors were typically occupied by either shops or wealthy families, while the upper stories were rented out to the lower classes. Surviving Oxyrhynchus Papyri
Oxyrhynchus Papyri
The Oxyrhynchus Papyri are a very numerous group of manuscripts discovered by archaeologists including Bernard Pyne Grenfell and Arthur Surridge Hunt at an ancient rubbish dump near Oxyrhynchus in Egypt . The manuscripts date from the 1st to the 6th century AD. They include thousands of Greek and...

 indicate that seven-storey buildings even existed in provincial
Roman province
In Ancient Rome, a province was the basic, and, until the Tetrarchy , largest territorial and administrative unit of the empire's territorial possessions outside of Italy...

 towns, such as in 3rd century AD Hermopolis
Hermopolis
Hermopolis Magna or simply Hermopolis or Hermopolis Megale or Hermupolis is the site of ancient Khmun, and is located near the modern Egyptian town of El Ashmunein in Al Minya governorate.-Etymology:Khmun, the Ancient Egyptian name of the city, means "eight-town", after the Ogdoad, a group of...

 in Roman Egypt.

The skylines of many important medieval
Middle Ages
The Middle Ages is a periodization of European history from the 5th century to the 15th century. The Middle Ages follows the fall of the Western Roman Empire in 476 and precedes the Early Modern Era. It is the middle period of a three-period division of Western history: Classic, Medieval and Modern...

 cities had large numbers of high-rise urban towers. Wealthy families built these towers for defensive purposes and as status symbols. The residential Towers of Bologna
Towers of Bologna
The Towers of Bologna are a group of medieval structures in Bologna, Italy. The two most prominent ones, also called the Two Towers, are the landmark of the city.-History:...

 in the 12th century, for example, numbered between 80 to 100 at a time, the largest of which (known as the "Two Towers") rise to 97.2 metres (318.9 ft). In Florence
Florence
Florence is the capital city of the Italian region of Tuscany and of the province of Florence. It is the most populous city in Tuscany, with approximately 370,000 inhabitants, expanding to over 1.5 million in the metropolitan area....

, a law of 1251 decreed that all urban buildings should be reduced to a height of less than 26 m, the regulation immediately put into effect. Even medium-sized towns at the time such as San Gimignano
San Gimignano
San Gimignano is a small walled medieval hill town in the province of Siena, Tuscany, north-central Italy. It is mainly famous for its medieval architecture, especially its towers, which may be seen from several kilometres outside the town....

 are known to have featured 72 towers up to 51 m height.

The medieval Egyptian city of Fustat housed many high-rise residential buildings, which Al-Muqaddasi
Al-Muqaddasi
Muhammad ibn Ahmad Shams al-Din Al-Muqaddasi , also transliterated as Al-Maqdisi and el-Mukaddasi, was a medieval Arab geographer, author of Ahsan at-Taqasim fi Ma`rifat il-Aqalim .-Biography:Al-Muqaddasi, "the Hierosolomite" was born in Jerusalem in 946 AD...

 in the 10th century described as resembling minaret
Minaret
A minaret مناره , sometimes مئذنه) is a distinctive architectural feature of Islamic mosques, generally a tall spire with an onion-shaped or conical crown, usually either free standing or taller than any associated support structure. The basic form of a minaret includes a base, shaft, and gallery....

s. Nasir Khusraw
Nasir Khusraw
Abu Mo’in Hamid ad-Din Nasir ibn Khusraw al-Qubadiani or Nāsir Khusraw Qubādiyānī [also spelled as Nasir Khusrow and Naser Khosrow] Abu Mo’in Hamid ad-Din Nasir ibn Khusraw al-Qubadiani or Nāsir Khusraw Qubādiyānī [also spelled as Nasir Khusrow and Naser Khosrow] Abu Mo’in Hamid ad-Din Nasir ibn...

 in the early 11th century described some of them rising up to 14 stories, with roof garden
Roof garden
A roof garden is any garden on the roof of a building. Besides the decorative benefit, roof plantings may provide food, temperature control, hydrological benefits, architectural enhancement, habitats or corridors for wildlife, and recreational opportunities....

s on the top floor complete with ox-drawn water wheel
Water wheel
A water wheel is a machine for converting the energy of free-flowing or falling water into useful forms of power. A water wheel consists of a large wooden or metal wheel, with a number of blades or buckets arranged on the outside rim forming the driving surface...

s for irrigating them. Cairo
Cairo
Cairo , is the capital of Egypt and the largest city in the Arab world and Africa, and the 16th largest metropolitan area in the world. Nicknamed "The City of a Thousand Minarets" for its preponderance of Islamic architecture, Cairo has long been a centre of the region's political and cultural life...

 in the 16th century had high-rise apartment buildings where the two lower floors were for commercial and storage purposes and the multiple stories above them were rented
Renting
Renting is an agreement where a payment is made for the temporary use of a good, service or property owned by another. A gross lease is when the tenant pays a flat rental amount and the landlord pays for all property charges regularly incurred by the ownership from landowners...

 out to tenants
Leasehold estate
A leasehold estate is an ownership of a temporary right to land or property in which a lessee or a tenant holds rights of real property by some form of title from a lessor or landlord....

. An early example of a city consisting entirely of high-rise housing is the 16th-century city of Shibam
Shibam
Shibam is a town in Yemen with about 7,000 inhabitants. The first known inscription about the city dates from the 3rd century AD...

 in Yemen
Yemen
The Republic of Yemen , commonly known as Yemen , is a country located in the Middle East, occupying the southwestern to southern end of the Arabian Peninsula. It is bordered by Saudi Arabia to the north, the Red Sea to the west, and Oman to the east....

. Shibam was made up of over 500 tower houses, each one rising 5 to 11 storey
Storey
A storey or story is any level part of a building that could be used by people...

s high, with each floor being an apartment
Apartment
An apartment or flat is a self-contained housing unit that occupies only part of a building...

 occupied by a single family. The city was built in this way in order to protect it from Bedouin
Bedouin
The Bedouin are a part of a predominantly desert-dwelling Arab ethnic group traditionally divided into tribes or clans, known in Arabic as ..-Etymology:...

 attacks. Shibam still has the tallest mudbrick
Mudbrick
A mudbrick is a firefree brick, made of a mixture of clay, mud, sand, and water mixed with a binding material such as rice husks or straw. They use a stiff mixture and let them dry in the sun for 25 days....

 buildings in the world, with many of them over 30 m (98.4 ft) high.

An early modern example of high-rise housing was in 17th-century Edinburgh
Edinburgh
Edinburgh is the capital city of Scotland, the second largest city in Scotland, and the eighth most populous in the United Kingdom. The City of Edinburgh Council governs one of Scotland's 32 local government council areas. The council area includes urban Edinburgh and a rural area...

, Scotland, where a defensive city wall defined the boundaries of the city. Due to the restricted land area available for development, the houses increased in height instead. Buildings of 11 stories were common, and there are records of buildings as high as 14 stories. Many of the stone-built structures can still be seen today in the old town of Edinburgh. The oldest iron framed building in the world, although only partially iron framed, is The Flaxmill
Ditherington Flax Mill
Ditherington Flax Mill , located in Ditherington, a suburb of Shrewsbury, England, is the oldest iron framed building in the world. As such, it is seen as the "grandfather of skyscrapers", despite being only as tall as a modern five-story building. Its importance was officially recognised in the...

 (also locally known as the "Maltings"), in Shrewsbury
Shrewsbury
Shrewsbury is the county town of Shropshire, in the West Midlands region of England. Lying on the River Severn, it is a civil parish home to some 70,000 inhabitants, and is the primary settlement and headquarters of Shropshire Council...

, England. Built in 1797, it is seen as the "grandfather of skyscrapers”, since its fireproof combination of cast iron columns and cast iron beams developed into the modern steel frame that made modern skyscrapers possible. Unfortunately, it lies derelict and needs much investment to keep it standing.

Early skyscrapers

An early development was Oriel Chambers
Oriel Chambers
Oriel Chambers is the world's first metal framed glass curtain walled building. Designed by architect Peter Ellis and built in 1864, it comprises set over five floors...

 in Liverpool. Designed by local architect Peter Ellis in 1864, the building was the world's first iron-framed, glass curtain-walled office building. It was only 5 floors high. Further developments led to the world's first skyscraper, the ten-storey Home Insurance Building
Home Insurance Building
The Home Insurance Building was built in 1884 in Chicago, Illinois, USA and destroyed in 1931 to make way for the Field Building . It was the first building to use structural steel in its frame, but the majority of its structure was composed of cast and wrought iron...

 in Chicago, built in 1884–1885. While its height is not considered very impressive today, it was at that time. The architect, Major William Le Baron Jenney
William Le Baron Jenney
William Le Baron Jenney was an American architect and engineer who became known as the Father of the American skyscraper.- Life and career :...

, created a load-bearing structural frame. In this building, a steel frame supported the entire weight of the walls, instead of load-bearing walls carrying the weight of the building. This development led to the "Chicago skeleton" form of construction.

Burnham and Root
Burnham and Root
Burnham and Root was the name of the company that John Wellborn Root and Daniel Hudson Burnham established as one of Chicago's most famous architectural companies of the nineteenth century....

's 1889 Rand McNally Building
Rand McNally Building
The Rand McNally Building , in Chicago, was designed by Burnham and Root and was the world's first all-steel framed skyscraper.The building was located at 160-174 Adams Street and also fronted #105-#119 on the backside . It was erected in 1889 at a cost of $1 million...

 in Chicago, 1889, was the first all-steel framed skyscraper, while Louis Sullivan
Louis Sullivan
Louis Henri Sullivan was an American architect, and has been called the "father of skyscrapers" and "father of modernism" He is considered by many as the creator of the modern skyscraper, was an influential architect and critic of the Chicago School, was a mentor to Frank Lloyd Wright, and an...

's Wainwright Building
Wainwright Building
The Wainwright Building is a 10-story red brick office building at 709 Chestnut Street in downtown St. Louis, Missouri. The Wainwright Building is among the first skyscrapers in the world. It was designed by Dankmar Adler and Louis Sullivan in the Palazzo style and built between 1890 and 1891...

 in St. Louis, Missouri, 1891, was the first steel-framed building with soaring vertical bands to emphasize the height of the building and is therefore considered by some to be the first true skyscraper.

Most early skyscrapers emerged in the land-strapped areas of Chicago, London, and New York toward the end of the 19th century. A land boom in Melbourne, Australia between 1888–1891 spurred the creation of a significant number of early skyscrapers, though none of these were steel reinforced and few remain today. Height limits and fire restrictions were later introduced. London builders soon found building heights limited due to a complaint from Queen Victoria, rules that continued to exist with few exceptions until the 1950s. Concerns about aesthetics and fire safety had likewise hampered the development of skyscrapers across continental Europe for the first half of the twentieth century (with the notable exceptions of the 1898 Witte Huis
Witte Huis
The Witte Huis or White House is a skyscraper and National Heritage Site in Rotterdam, Netherlands, inspired by American office buildings and built in 1898 in the Art Nouveau style. The building is tall, with 10 floors, and was the tallest in Europe at the time it was built. It was also the first...

 (White House) in Rotterdam; the Royal Liver Building
Royal Liver Building
The Royal Liver Building is a Grade I listed building located in Liverpool, England. It is sited at the Pier Head and along with the neighbouring Cunard Building and Port of Liverpool Building is one of Liverpool's Three Graces, which line the city's waterfront...

 in Liverpool, completed in 1911 and 90 m (295.3 ft) high; and the 17-storey Kungstornen
Kungstornen
Kungstornen is a pair of Art Deco high-rise buildings in Norrmalm, Stockholm...

 (Kings' Towers) in Stockholm, Sweden, which were built 1924–25, the 15-storey Edificio Telefónica in Madrid, Spain, built in 1929; the 26-storey Boerentoren
Boerentoren
The Boerentoren or KBC Tower is the tallest building and the second tallest structure in Antwerp, Belgium . The building was constructed between 1929 and 1932 and was originally high...

 in Antwerp, Belgium, built in 1932; and the 31-storey Torre Piacentini in Genoa, Italy, built in 1940). After an early competition between Chicago and New York City for the world's tallest building, New York took the lead by 1895 with the completion of the American Surety Building
American Surety Building
The American Surety Building is a historic skyscraper located at 100 Broadway, New York City, New York, opposite Trinity Church. It has been declared a landmark as one of Manhattan's most influential early skyscrapers....

, leaving New York with the title of tallest building for many years. New York City developers competed among themselves, with successively taller buildings claiming the title of "world's tallest" in the 1920s and early 1930s, culminating with the completion of the Chrysler Building
Chrysler Building
The Chrysler Building is an Art Deco style skyscraper in New York City, located on the east side of Manhattan in the Turtle Bay area at the intersection of 42nd Street and Lexington Avenue. Standing at , it was the world's tallest building for 11 months before it was surpassed by the Empire State...

 in 1930 and the Empire State Building
Empire State Building
The Empire State Building is a 102-story landmark skyscraper and American cultural icon in New York City at the intersection of Fifth Avenue and West 34th Street. It has a roof height of 1,250 feet , and with its antenna spire included, it stands a total of 1,454 ft high. Its name is derived...

 in 1931, the world's tallest building for forty years. The first completed World Trade Center tower became the world's tallest building in 1972. However, it was soon overtaken by the Sears Tower (now Willis Tower) in Chicago within two years. The Sears Tower stood as the world's tallest building for 24 years, from 1974 until 1998, until it was edged out by Petronas Twin Towers
Petronas Twin Towers
The Petronas Towers are skyscrapers and twin towers in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia...

 in Kuala Lumpur, which held the title for six years.

Modern skyscrapers

From the 1930s onwards, skyscrapers also began to appear in Latin America (São Paulo
São Paulo
São Paulo is the largest city in Brazil, the largest city in the southern hemisphere and South America, and the world's seventh largest city by population. The metropolis is anchor to the São Paulo metropolitan area, ranked as the second-most populous metropolitan area in the Americas and among...

, Santiago
Santiago, Chile
Santiago , also known as Santiago de Chile, is the capital and largest city of Chile, and the center of its largest conurbation . It is located in the country's central valley, at an elevation of above mean sea level...

, Caracas
Caracas
Caracas , officially Santiago de León de Caracas, is the capital and largest city of Venezuela; natives or residents are known as Caraquenians in English . It is located in the northern part of the country, following the contours of the narrow Caracas Valley on the Venezuelan coastal mountain range...

, Bogotá
Bogotá
Bogotá, Distrito Capital , from 1991 to 2000 called Santa Fé de Bogotá, is the capital, and largest city, of Colombia. It is also designated by the national constitution as the capital of the department of Cundinamarca, even though the city of Bogotá now comprises an independent Capital district...

, Mexico City
Mexico City
Mexico City is the Federal District , capital of Mexico and seat of the federal powers of the Mexican Union. It is a federal entity within Mexico which is not part of any one of the 31 Mexican states but belongs to the federation as a whole...

) and in Asia (Tokyo
Tokyo
, ; officially , is one of the 47 prefectures of Japan. Tokyo is the capital of Japan, the center of the Greater Tokyo Area, and the largest metropolitan area of Japan. It is the seat of the Japanese government and the Imperial Palace, and the home of the Japanese Imperial Family...

, Shanghai
Shanghai
Shanghai is the largest city by population in China and the largest city proper in the world. It is one of the four province-level municipalities in the People's Republic of China, with a total population of over 23 million as of 2010...

, Hong Kong
Hong Kong
Hong Kong is one of two Special Administrative Regions of the People's Republic of China , the other being Macau. A city-state situated on China's south coast and enclosed by the Pearl River Delta and South China Sea, it is renowned for its expansive skyline and deep natural harbour...

, Manila
Manila
Manila is the capital of the Philippines. It is one of the sixteen cities forming Metro Manila.Manila is located on the eastern shores of Manila Bay and is bordered by Navotas and Caloocan to the north, Quezon City to the northeast, San Juan and Mandaluyong to the east, Makati on the southeast,...

, Singapore
Singapore
Singapore , officially the Republic of Singapore, is a Southeast Asian city-state off the southern tip of the Malay Peninsula, north of the equator. An island country made up of 63 islands, it is separated from Malaysia by the Straits of Johor to its north and from Indonesia's Riau Islands by the...

, Mumbai
Mumbai
Mumbai , formerly known as Bombay in English, is the capital of the Indian state of Maharashtra. It is the most populous city in India, and the fourth most populous city in the world, with a total metropolitan area population of approximately 20.5 million...

, Seoul
Seoul
Seoul , officially the Seoul Special City, is the capital and largest metropolis of South Korea. A megacity with a population of over 10 million, it is the largest city proper in the OECD developed world...

, Kuala Lumpur
Kuala Lumpur
Kuala Lumpur is the capital and the second largest city in Malaysia by population. The city proper, making up an area of , has a population of 1.4 million as of 2010. Greater Kuala Lumpur, also known as the Klang Valley, is an urban agglomeration of 7.2 million...

, Taipei
Taipei
Taipei City is the capital of the Republic of China and the central city of the largest metropolitan area of Taiwan. Situated at the northern tip of the island, Taipei is located on the Tamsui River, and is about 25 km southwest of Keelung, its port on the Pacific Ocean...

, Bangkok
Bangkok
Bangkok is the capital and largest urban area city in Thailand. It is known in Thai as Krung Thep Maha Nakhon or simply Krung Thep , meaning "city of angels." The full name of Bangkok is Krung Thep Mahanakhon Amon Rattanakosin Mahintharayutthaya Mahadilok Phop Noppharat Ratchathani Burirom...

). Immediately after World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

, the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
The Soviet Union , officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , was a constitutionally socialist state that existed in Eurasia between 1922 and 1991....

 planned eight massive skyscrapers dubbed "Stalin Towers
Seven Sisters (Moscow)
The "Seven Sisters" is the English name given to a group of Moscow skyscrapers designed in the Stalinist style. Muscovites call them Vysotki or Stalinskie Vysotki , " high-rises"...

" for Moscow; seven of these were eventually built. The rest of Europe also slowly began to permit skyscrapers, starting with Madrid
Madrid
Madrid is the capital and largest city of Spain. The population of the city is roughly 3.3 million and the entire population of the Madrid metropolitan area is calculated to be 6.271 million. It is the third largest city in the European Union, after London and Berlin, and its metropolitan...

, during the 1950s. Finally, skyscrapers also began to be constructed in cities of Africa, the Middle East and Oceania (mainly Australia) from the late 1950s.

In the early 1960s structural engineer Fazlur Khan
Fazlur Khan
Fazlur Rahman Khan was a Bangladeshi born architect and structural engineer. He is a central figure behind the "Second Chicago School" of architecture, and is regarded as the "Father of tubular design for high-rises"...

 realized that the rigid steel frame
Steel frame
Steel frame usually refers to a building technique with a "skeleton frame" of vertical steel columns and horizontal -beams, constructed in a rectangular grid to support the floors, roof and walls of a building which are all attached to the frame...

 structure that had "dominated tall building design and construction so long was not the only system fitting for tall buildings", marking "the beginning of a new era of skyscraper revolution in terms of multiple structural system
Structural system
The term structural system or structural frame in structural engineering refers to load-resisting sub-system of a structure. The structural system transfers loads through interconnected structural components or members.-High-rise buildings:...

s." His central innovation in skyscraper design and construction
Skyscraper design and construction
The design and construction of skyscrapers involves creating safe, habitable spaces in very tall buildings. The buildings must support their weight, resist wind and earthquakes, and protect occupants from fire. Yet they must also be conveniently accessible, even on the upper floors, and provide...

 was the idea of the "tube" structural system
Tube (structure)
In structural engineering, the tube is the name given to the systems where in order to resist lateral loads a building is designed to act like a three-dimensional hollow tube, cantilevered perpendicular to the ground. The system was introduced by Fazlur Rahman Khan while at Skidmore, Owings and...

, including the "framed tube", "trussed tube", and "bundled tube". These systems allowed far greater economic efficiency, and also allowed efficient skyscrapers to take on various shapes, no longer needing to be box-shaped. Over the next fifteen years, many towers were built by Khan and the "Second Chicago School
Chicago school (architecture)
Chicago's architecture is famous throughout the world and one style is referred to as the Chicago School. The style is also known as Commercial style. In the history of architecture, the Chicago School was a school of architects active in Chicago at the turn of the 20th century...

", including the massive 442-meter (1,451-foot) Willis Tower. Since 2000, Cities like Chicago , Shanghai , Dubai, New York, and Toronto have experienced a huge surge in skyscraper construction. Chicago, Hong Kong, and New York City, otherwise known as "the big three," are recognized in architectural circles as having especially compelling skylines. A landmark skyscraper can inspire a boom of new high-rise projects in its city, as Taipei 101 has done in Taipei since its opening in 2004. In 2010, The Bank of America Tower at One Bryant Park became the world's first commercial LEED Platinum skyscraper.

History of tallest skyscrapers

At the beginning of the 20th century, New York City was a center for the Beaux-Arts architectural movement, attracting the talents of such great architects as Stanford White
Stanford White
Stanford White was an American architect and partner in the architectural firm of McKim, Mead & White, the frontrunner among Beaux-Arts firms. He designed a long series of houses for the rich and the very rich, and various public, institutional, and religious buildings, some of which can be found...

 and Carrere and Hastings
Carrère and Hastings
Carrère and Hastings, the firm of John Merven Carrère and Thomas Hastings , located in New York City, was one of the outstanding Beaux-Arts architecture firms in the United States. The partnership operated from 1885 until 1911, when Carrère was killed in an automobile accident...

. As better construction and engineering technology became available as the century progressed, New York and Chicago became the focal point of the competition for the tallest building in the world. Each city's striking skyline has been composed of numerous and varied skyscrapers, many of which are icons of 20th century architecture:
  • The Flatiron Building
    Flatiron Building
    The Flatiron Building, or Fuller Building, as it was originally called, is located at 175 Fifth Avenue in the borough of Manhattan, New York City and is considered to be a groundbreaking skyscraper. Upon completion in 1902 it was one of the tallest buildings in the city and the only skyscraper...

    , designed by Daniel Hudson Burnham and standing 285 ft (87 m) high, was one of the tallest buildings in the city upon its completion in 1902, made possible by its steel skeleton. It was one of the first buildings designed with a steel framework, and to achieve this height with other construction methods of that time would have been very difficult. (The 1889 Tower Building, designed by Bradford Gilbert
    Bradford Gilbert
    Bradford Lee Gilbert was a nationally-active architect based in New York City.Gilbert is best known for designing the first steel-framed curtain wall building, the Tower Building, which opened at 50 Broadway in 1889. The Tower Building is considered New York City's first skyscraper...

     and considered by some to be New York's first skyscraper, may have been the first building to use a skeletal steel frame.) Subsequent buildings such as the Singer Building
    Singer Building
    The Singer Building or Singer Tower at Liberty Street and Broadway in Manhattan, was a 47-story office building completed in 1908 as the headquarters of the Singer Manufacturing Company. It was demolished in 1968 and is now the site of 1 Liberty Plaza....

    , the Metropolitan Life Tower were higher still.
  • The Woolworth Building
    Woolworth Building
    The Woolworth Building is one of the oldest skyscrapers in New York City. More than a century after the start of its construction, it remains, at 57 stories, one of the fifty tallest buildings in the United States as well as one of the twenty tallest buildings in New York City...

    , a neo-Gothic "Cathedral of Commerce" overlooking City Hall, was designed by Cass Gilbert
    Cass Gilbert
    - Historical impact :Gilbert is considered a skyscraper pioneer; when designing the Woolworth Building he moved into unproven ground — though he certainly was aware of the ground-breaking work done by Chicago architects on skyscrapers and once discussed merging firms with the legendary Daniel...

    . At 792 feet (241 m), it became the world's tallest building upon its completion in 1913, an honor it retained until 1930, when it was overtaken by 40 Wall Street
    40 Wall Street
    40 Wall Street is a 70-story skyscraper in New York City. Originally known as the Bank of Manhattan Trust building, and also known as Manhattan Company Building, it was later known by its street address when its founding tenant merged to form the Chase Manhattan Bank and today is known as the...

    .
  • That same year, the Chrysler Building
    Chrysler Building
    The Chrysler Building is an Art Deco style skyscraper in New York City, located on the east side of Manhattan in the Turtle Bay area at the intersection of 42nd Street and Lexington Avenue. Standing at , it was the world's tallest building for 11 months before it was surpassed by the Empire State...

    took the lead as the tallest building in the world, scraping the sky at 1,046 feet (319 m). Designed by William Van Alen
    William Van Alen
    William Van Alen was an American architect, best known as the architect in charge of designing New York City's Chrysler Building .-Life:...

    , an Art Deco
    Art Deco
    Art deco , or deco, is an eclectic artistic and design style that began in Paris in the 1920s and flourished internationally throughout the 1930s, into the World War II era. The style influenced all areas of design, including architecture and interior design, industrial design, fashion and...

     style masterpiece with an exterior crafted of brick, the Chrysler Building continues to be a favorite of New Yorkers to this day.
  • The Empire State Building
    Empire State Building
    The Empire State Building is a 102-story landmark skyscraper and American cultural icon in New York City at the intersection of Fifth Avenue and West 34th Street. It has a roof height of 1,250 feet , and with its antenna spire included, it stands a total of 1,454 ft high. Its name is derived...

    , the first building to have more than 100 floors (it has 102), was completed the following year. It was designed by Shreve, Lamb and Harmon
    Shreve, Lamb and Harmon
    Shreve, Lamb, and Harmon was the architectural firm best known for the 1931 Empire State Building, the tallest building in New York, and the world, at that time....

     in the contemporary Art Deco style. The tower takes its name from the nickname of New York State. Upon its completion in 1931 at 1,250 feet (381 m), it took the top spot as tallest building, and towered above all other buildings until 1972. The antenna mast added in 1951 brought pinnacle height to 1,472 feet (449 m), lowered in 1984 to 1,454 feet (443 m).
  • The World Trade Center
    World Trade Center
    The original World Trade Center was a complex with seven buildings featuring landmark twin towers in Lower Manhattan, New York City, United States. The complex opened on April 4, 1973, and was destroyed in 2001 during the September 11 attacks. The site is currently being rebuilt with five new...

    officially reached full height in 1972, was completed in 1973, and consisted of two tall towers and several smaller buildings. For a short time, the first of the two towers was the world's tallest building. Upon completion, the towers stood for 28 years, until the September 11 attacks destroyed the buildings in 2001. Various governmental entities, financial firms, and law firms called the towers home.
  • The Willis Tower (formerly Sears Tower) was completed in 1974, one year after the World Trade Center, and surpassed it as the world's tallest building. It was the first building to employ the "bundled tube
    Tube (structure)
    In structural engineering, the tube is the name given to the systems where in order to resist lateral loads a building is designed to act like a three-dimensional hollow tube, cantilevered perpendicular to the ground. The system was introduced by Fazlur Rahman Khan while at Skidmore, Owings and...

    " structural system, designed by Fazlur Khan. The building was not surpassed in height until the Petronas Towers were constructed in 1998, but remained the tallest in some categories until Burj Khalifa surpassed it in all categories in 2010. It is currently the tallest building in the United States.


Momentum in setting records passed from the United States to other nations with the opening of the Petronas Twin Towers
Petronas Twin Towers
The Petronas Towers are skyscrapers and twin towers in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia...

in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, in 1998. The record for world's tallest building remained in Asia with the opening of Taipei 101
Taipei 101
Taipei 101 , formerly known as the Taipei World Financial Center, is a landmark skyscraper located in Xinyi District, Taipei, Taiwan. The building ranked officially as the world's tallest from 2004 until the opening of the Burj Khalifa in Dubai in 2010...

in Taipei, Taiwan, in 2004. A number of architectural records, including those of the world's tallest building and tallest free-standing structure, moved to the Middle East with the opening of the Burj Khalifa in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.

This geographical transition is accompanied by a change in approach to skyscraper design. For much of the twentieth century large buildings took the form of simple geometrical shapes. This reflected the "international style" or modernist
Modern architecture
Modern architecture is generally characterized by simplification of form and creation of ornament from the structure and theme of the building. It is a term applied to an overarching movement, with its exact definition and scope varying widely...

 philosophy shaped by Bauhaus
Bauhaus
', commonly known simply as Bauhaus, was a school in Germany that combined crafts and the fine arts, and was famous for the approach to design that it publicized and taught. It operated from 1919 to 1933. At that time the German term stood for "School of Building".The Bauhaus school was founded by...

 architects early in the century. The last of these, the Willis Tower and World Trade Center towers in New York, erected in the 1970s, reflect the philosophy. Tastes shifted in the decade which followed, and new skyscrapers began to exhibit postmodernist
Postmodernism
Postmodernism is a philosophical movement evolved in reaction to modernism, the tendency in contemporary culture to accept only objective truth and to be inherently suspicious towards a global cultural narrative or meta-narrative. Postmodernist thought is an intentional departure from the...

 influences. This approach to design avails itself of historical elements, often adapted and re-interpreted, in creating technologically modern structures. The Petronas Twin Towers recall Asian pagoda
Pagoda
A pagoda is the general term in the English language for a tiered tower with multiple eaves common in Nepal, India, China, Japan, Korea, Vietnam and other parts of Asia. Some pagodas are used as Taoist houses of worship. Most pagodas were built to have a religious function, most commonly Buddhist,...

 architecture and Islamic geometric principles. Taipei 101 likewise reflects the pagoda
Pagoda
A pagoda is the general term in the English language for a tiered tower with multiple eaves common in Nepal, India, China, Japan, Korea, Vietnam and other parts of Asia. Some pagodas are used as Taoist houses of worship. Most pagodas were built to have a religious function, most commonly Buddhist,...

 tradition as it incorporates ancient motifs such as the ruyi
Ruyi
Ruyi is a curved decorative object that is a ceremonial sceptre in Chinese Buddhism or a talisman symbolizing power and good fortune in Chinese folklore. A traditional ruyi has a long S-shaped handle and a head fashioned like a fist, cloud, or lingzhi mushroom. Ruyi are constructed from diverse...

 symbol. The Burj Khalifa draws inspiration from traditional Islamic art
Islamic art
Islamic art encompasses the visual arts produced from the 7th century onwards by people who lived within the territory that was inhabited by or ruled by culturally Islamic populations...

. Architects in recent years have sought to create structures that would not appear equally at home if set in any part of the world, but that reflect the culture thriving in the spot where they stand.

For current rankings of skyscrapers by height, see List of tallest buildings in the world.

The following list measures height of the roof. The more common gauge is the highest architectural detail; such ranking would have included Petronas Towers, built in 1998. See List of tallest buildings in the world for details.
Built Building City Country Roof Floors Pinnacle Current status
1870 Equitable Life Building  New York City
New York City
New York is the most populous city in the United States and the center of the New York Metropolitan Area, one of the most populous metropolitan areas in the world. New York exerts a significant impact upon global commerce, finance, media, art, fashion, research, technology, education, and...

 
United States 142 ft 43 m 8 Destroyed by fire in 1912
1889 Auditorium Building
Auditorium Building, Chicago
The Auditorium Building in Chicago is one of the best-known designs of Dankmar Adler and Louis Sullivan. Completed in 1889, the building is located on South Michigan Avenue, at the northwest corner of Michigan Avenue and Congress Parkway. It was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1975. It...

 
Chicago
Chicago
Chicago is the largest city in the US state of Illinois. With nearly 2.7 million residents, it is the most populous city in the Midwestern United States and the third most populous in the US, after New York City and Los Angeles...

 
United States 269 ft 82 m 17 349 ft 106 m Standing
1890 New York World Building
New York World Building
The New York World Building was a skyscraper in New York City designed by early skyscraper specialist George Browne Post and built in 1890 to house the now-defunct newspaper, The New York World. It was razed in 1955.-History:...

 
New York City United States 309 ft 94 m 20 349 ft 106 m Demolished in 1955
1894 Manhattan Life Insurance Building
Manhattan Life Insurance Building
The Manhattan Life Insurance Building was a tower at 64-66 Broadway in New York City completed in 1894 to the designs of the architects of Kimball & Thompson and slightly extended north in 1904 making its new address 64-70 Broadway...

 
New York City United States 348 ft 106 m 18 Demolished in 1930
1895 Milwaukee City Hall
Milwaukee City Hall
City Hall is the scene of the largest Socialist victory ever registered in an American city, when in 1910 Emil Seidel and a majority Socialist Common Council swept into office. Although the Socialist majority on the Common Council was short-lived, the city was led by Socialist mayors from 1916 to...

 
Milwaukee  United States 353 ft 108 m 15 Standing
1899 Park Row Building
Park Row Building
The Park Row Building is a building on Park Row in the Financial District of the New York City borough of Manhattan also known as 15 Park Row...

 
New York City United States 391 ft 119 m 30 Standing
1901 Philadelphia City Hall
Philadelphia City Hall
Philadelphia City Hall is the house of government for the city of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. At , including the statue, it is the world's second-tallest masonry building, only shorter than Mole Antonelliana in Turin...

 
Philadelphia  United States 511 ft 155.8 m 9 548 ft 167 m Standing
1908 Singer Building
Singer Building
The Singer Building or Singer Tower at Liberty Street and Broadway in Manhattan, was a 47-story office building completed in 1908 as the headquarters of the Singer Manufacturing Company. It was demolished in 1968 and is now the site of 1 Liberty Plaza....

 
New York City United States 612 ft 187 m 47 Demolished in 1968
1909 Met Life Tower
Metropolitan Life Insurance Company Tower
The Metropolitan Life Insurance Company Tower, also known as the Metropolitan Life Tower or Met Life Tower, is a landmark skyscraper located on East 23rd Street between Madison Avenue and Park Avenue South, off of Madison Square Park. in the borough of Manhattan in New York City...

New York City United States 700 ft 213 m 50 Standing
1913 Woolworth Building
Woolworth Building
The Woolworth Building is one of the oldest skyscrapers in New York City. More than a century after the start of its construction, it remains, at 57 stories, one of the fifty tallest buildings in the United States as well as one of the twenty tallest buildings in New York City...

 
New York City United States 792 ft 241 m 57 Standing
1930 40 Wall Street
40 Wall Street
40 Wall Street is a 70-story skyscraper in New York City. Originally known as the Bank of Manhattan Trust building, and also known as Manhattan Company Building, it was later known by its street address when its founding tenant merged to form the Chase Manhattan Bank and today is known as the...

 
New York City United States 70 927 ft 283 m Standing
1930 Chrysler Building
Chrysler Building
The Chrysler Building is an Art Deco style skyscraper in New York City, located on the east side of Manhattan in the Turtle Bay area at the intersection of 42nd Street and Lexington Avenue. Standing at , it was the world's tallest building for 11 months before it was surpassed by the Empire State...

New York City United States 927 ft 282.9 m 77 1,046 ft 319 m Standing
1931 Empire State Building
Empire State Building
The Empire State Building is a 102-story landmark skyscraper and American cultural icon in New York City at the intersection of Fifth Avenue and West 34th Street. It has a roof height of 1,250 feet , and with its antenna spire included, it stands a total of 1,454 ft high. Its name is derived...

New York City United States 1,250 ft 381 m 102 1,454 ft 443 m Standing
1972 World Trade Center
World Trade Center
The original World Trade Center was a complex with seven buildings featuring landmark twin towers in Lower Manhattan, New York City, United States. The complex opened on April 4, 1973, and was destroyed in 2001 during the September 11 attacks. The site is currently being rebuilt with five new...

 (North tower)
New York City United States 1,368 ft 417 m 110 1,727 ft 526.3 m Destroyed in 2001
1974 Willis Tower (formerly Sears Tower) Chicago United States 1,450 ft 442 m 108 1,729 ft 527 m Standing
2004 Taipei 101
Taipei 101
Taipei 101 , formerly known as the Taipei World Financial Center, is a landmark skyscraper located in Xinyi District, Taipei, Taiwan. The building ranked officially as the world's tallest from 2004 until the opening of the Burj Khalifa in Dubai in 2010...

 
Taipei
Taipei
Taipei City is the capital of the Republic of China and the central city of the largest metropolitan area of Taiwan. Situated at the northern tip of the island, Taipei is located on the Tamsui River, and is about 25 km southwest of Keelung, its port on the Pacific Ocean...

 
Taiwan 1,474 ft 449 m 101 1,671 ft 509 m Standing
2010 Burj Khalifa  Dubai
Dubai
Dubai is a city and emirate in the United Arab Emirates . The emirate is located south of the Persian Gulf on the Arabian Peninsula and has the largest population with the second-largest land territory by area of all the emirates, after Abu Dhabi...

 
United Arab Emirates 2,717 ft 828 m 160 2,717 ft 828 m Standing


Source: emporis.com

Today

Today, skyscrapers are an increasingly common sight where land is expensive, as in the centres of big cities, because they provide such a high ratio of rentable floor space per unit area of land. They are built not just for economy of space; like temples and palaces of the past, skyscrapers are considered symbols of a city's economic power. Not only do they define the skyline
Skyline
A skyline is the overall or partial view of a city's tall buildings and structures consisting of many skyscrapers in front of the sky in the background. It can also be described as the artificial horizon that a city's overall structure creates. Skylines serve as a kind of fingerprint of a city, as...

, they help to define the city's identity.

Supertall towers

At the time Taipei 101 broke the half-kilometer mark in height, it was already technically possible to build structures towering over a kilometer above the ground. Proposals for such structures have been put forward, including the Mile-High Tower
Mile-High Tower
Kingdom Tower , previously known as Mile-High Tower , is a supertall skyscraper approved for construction in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia at a preliminary cost of SR4.6 billion . It will be the centerpiece and first phase of a US$20 billion proposed development known as Kingdom City that will be located...

 to be built in Jeddah
Jeddah
Jeddah, Jiddah, Jidda, or Jedda is a city located on the coast of the Red Sea and is the major urban center of western Saudi Arabia. It is the largest city in Makkah Province, the largest sea port on the Red Sea, and the second largest city in Saudi Arabia after the capital city, Riyadh. The...

, Saudi Arabia and Burj Mubarak Al Kabir in Kuwait. Kilometer-plus structures present architectural challenges that may eventually place them in a new architectural category.

Future notable skyscrapers

The following skyscrapers, all contenders for being among the tallest in their city or region, are under construction and due to be completed in the next few years:
  • Construction of the 133-floor
    Floor
    A floor is the walking surface of a room or vehicle. Floors vary from simple dirt in a cave to many-layered surfaces using modern technology...

    , 640 m tall Digital Media City Landmark Building
    Digital Media City Landmark Building
    The Digital Media City Landmark Building or DMC Landmark Building, also known as Seoul Lite or Light Tower, is a 133-floor, supertall skyscraper proposed for construction in Digital Media City, Seoul, South Korea. It is slated to become the third-tallest building in the world when completed,...

    in Digital Media City
    Digital Media City
    Digital Media City is the first high-tech complex in the world for digital technologies, housing ubiquitous networked offices, apartments, exhibitions, conference halls and cultural centers in Seoul, South Korea. It was constructed in 2002 across and approximately 1.7 times the size of the Canary...

    , Seoul
    Seoul
    Seoul , officially the Seoul Special City, is the capital and largest metropolis of South Korea. A megacity with a population of over 10 million, it is the largest city proper in the OECD developed world...

    , South Korea, started in 2009, which will be the second-tallest building in the world when it is completed in 2015, housing the world's tallest observatory and hotels. Being constructed at the fastest speed among major skyscraper projects by South Korea's Samsung C&T (who also built Burj Khalifa), the supertall is the first skyscraper to contain an entire city inside a building, including the world's largest aquarium, a luxury department store, shopping malls, clinic center, high-tech offices, first-class apartments, six to eight-star hotels, a concert restaurant, a broadcasting studio and an art center.
  • Construction of the Shanghai Tower started on 29 November 2008. The tower will be 632 m (2,073 ft) high and have 127 floors. The building will feature a glass curtain wall and nine indoor gardens when it is completed in 2014.
  • Construction of the 151-floor
    Floor
    A floor is the walking surface of a room or vehicle. Floors vary from simple dirt in a cave to many-layered surfaces using modern technology...

    , 610 m tall 151 Incheon Tower
    151 Incheon Tower
    The 151 Incheon Tower is a supertall twin tower proposed for construction in Songdo International City, Incheon, South Korea. The design consists of two 151-floor, supertall skyscrapers connected by three skybridges. Construction started with groundbreaking on 20 June 2008...

    in Songdo International City, Incheon
    Incheon
    The Incheon Metropolitan City is located in northwestern South Korea. The city was home to just 4,700 people when Jemulpo port was built in 1883. Today 2.76 million people live in the city, making it Korea’s third most populous city after Seoul and Busan Metropolitan City...

    , South Korea, started in 2008, which will be the tallest twin towers in the world when it is completed in 2014.
  • The Abraj Al-Bait Towers, also known as the "Mecca Royal Clock Hotel Tower" is a complex under construction in Mecca
    Mecca
    Mecca is a city in the Hijaz and the capital of Makkah province in Saudi Arabia. The city is located inland from Jeddah in a narrow valley at a height of above sea level...

    , Saudi Arabia by the Saudi Binladin Group. The complex consists of seven towers, and the tallest tower (Hotel Tower) will have a height of 601 m (1,971.8 ft). Upon completion in 2011, the structure will have the largest floor area of any structure in the world, at 1,500,000 square metres (16,137,600 sq ft).
  • Construction of the 110-floor
    Floor
    A floor is the walking surface of a room or vehicle. Floors vary from simple dirt in a cave to many-layered surfaces using modern technology...

    , 510 m tall Busan Lotte World, Busan
    Busan
    Busan , formerly spelled Pusan is South Korea's second largest metropolis after Seoul, with a population of around 3.6 million. The Metropolitan area population is 4,399,515 as of 2010. It is the largest port city in South Korea and the fifth largest port in the world...

    , South Korea, started in 2009. It is due for completion in 2016.
  • One World Trade Center is currently under construction in New York City
    New York City
    New York is the most populous city in the United States and the center of the New York Metropolitan Area, one of the most populous metropolitan areas in the world. New York exerts a significant impact upon global commerce, finance, media, art, fashion, research, technology, education, and...

     and will be the tallest tower in the redevelopment of the site of the former World Trade Center
    World Trade Center
    The original World Trade Center was a complex with seven buildings featuring landmark twin towers in Lower Manhattan, New York City, United States. The complex opened on April 4, 1973, and was destroyed in 2001 during the September 11 attacks. The site is currently being rebuilt with five new...

    . Its pinnacle will reach a height of 541.4 m (1,776 ft), a height (in feet) representing the year of the United States Declaration of Independence
    United States Declaration of Independence
    The Declaration of Independence was a statement adopted by the Continental Congress on July 4, 1776, which announced that the thirteen American colonies then at war with Great Britain regarded themselves as independent states, and no longer a part of the British Empire. John Adams put forth a...

    .
  • The 308 m (1,010 ft) Tour Generali
    Tour Generali
    Tour Generali is a skyscraper planned for construction in the business quarter of La Défense in Courbevoie...

    in Paris La Défense
    La Défense
    La Défense is a major business district of the Paris aire urbaine. With a population of 20,000, it is centered in an orbital motorway straddling the Hauts-de-Seine département municipalities of Nanterre, Courbevoie and Puteaux...

    , scheduled to be completed in 2013, is an entirely green building
    Green building
    Green building refers to a structure and using process that is environmentally responsible and resource-efficient throughout a building's life-cycle: from siting to design, construction, operation, maintenance, renovation, and demolition...

     office skyscraper that is set to be the tallest building in Paris and the second tallest in the European Union
    European Union
    The European Union is an economic and political union of 27 independent member states which are located primarily in Europe. The EU traces its origins from the European Coal and Steel Community and the European Economic Community , formed by six countries in 1958...

     after The Shard
    Shard London Bridge
    Shard London Bridge is a skyscraper under construction in Southwark, London. When completed in May 2012, it will be the tallest building in the European Union and the 45th-tallest building in the world, standing tall...

     in London.
  • Construction of The Shard
    Shard London Bridge
    Shard London Bridge is a skyscraper under construction in Southwark, London. When completed in May 2012, it will be the tallest building in the European Union and the 45th-tallest building in the world, standing tall...

    in London started in March 2009, and is scheduled to be completed in May 2012, in time for the London Olympics
    2012 Summer Olympics
    The 2012 Summer Olympic Games, officially known as the "London 2012 Olympic Games", are scheduled to take place in London, England, United Kingdom from 27 July to 12 August 2012...

    . At 310 m (1,017 ft), it is set to be the tallest building in the European Union.

Sustainability


The skyscraper as a concept is a product of the industrialized age
Industrial society
In sociology, industrial society refers to a society driven by the use of technology to enable mass production, supporting a large population with a high capacity for division of labour. Such a structure developed in the west in the period of time following the Industrial Revolution, and replaced...

, made possible by cheap energy and raw materials. The amount of steel, concrete and glass needed to construct a skyscraper is vast, and these materials represent a great deal of embodied energy
Embodied energy
Embodied energy is defined as the sum of energy inputs that was used in the work to make any product, from the point of extraction and refining materials, bringing it to market, and disposal / re-purposing of it...

. Tall skyscrapers are very heavy, which means that they must be built on a sturdier foundation than would be required for shorter, lighter buildings. Building materials must also be lifted to the top of a skyscraper during construction, requiring more energy than would be necessary at lower heights. Furthermore, a skyscraper consumes a lot of electricity because potable and non-potable water must be pumped to the highest occupied floors, skyscrapers are usually designed to be mechanically ventilated
HVAC
HVAC refers to technology of indoor or automotive environmental comfort. HVAC system design is a major subdiscipline of mechanical engineering, based on the principles of thermodynamics, fluid mechanics, and heat transfer...

, elevators are generally used instead of stairs, and natural lighting cannot be utilized in rooms far from the windows and the windowless spaces such as elevators, bathrooms and stairwells.

In the lower levels of a skyscraper a larger percentage of the building cross section must be devoted to the building structure and services than is required for lower buildings:-
  • More structure – because it must be stronger to support more floors above
  • The elevator conundrum creates the need for more lift shafts – everyone comes in at the bottom and they all have to pass through the lower part of the building to get to the upper levels.
  • Building services – power and water enters the building from below and have to pass through the lower levels to get to upper levels.


In low-rise structures, the support rooms (chiller
Chiller
A chiller is a machine that removes heat from a liquid via a vapor-compression or absorption refrigeration cycle. This liquid can then be circulated through a heat exchanger to cool air or equipment as required.-Use in air conditioning:...

s, transformer
Transformer
A transformer is a device that transfers electrical energy from one circuit to another through inductively coupled conductors—the transformer's coils. A varying current in the first or primary winding creates a varying magnetic flux in the transformer's core and thus a varying magnetic field...

s, boiler
Boiler
A boiler is a closed vessel in which water or other fluid is heated. The heated or vaporized fluid exits the boiler for use in various processes or heating applications.-Materials:...

s, pump
Pump
A pump is a device used to move fluids, such as liquids, gases or slurries.A pump displaces a volume by physical or mechanical action. Pumps fall into three major groups: direct lift, displacement, and gravity pumps...

s and air handling units) can be put in basements or roof space – areas which have low rental value. There is, however, a limit to how far this plant can be located from the area it serves. The farther away it is the larger the risers for ducts and pipes from this plant to the floors they serve and the more floor area these risers take. In practice this means that in highrise buildings this plant is located on 'plant levels' at intervals up the building.

Quotations

Louis Sullivan
Louis Sullivan
Louis Henri Sullivan was an American architect, and has been called the "father of skyscrapers" and "father of modernism" He is considered by many as the creator of the modern skyscraper, was an influential architect and critic of the Chicago School, was a mentor to Frank Lloyd Wright, and an...

's The Tall Office Building Artistically Considered (1896)

See also

  • Skyscraper design and construction
    Skyscraper design and construction
    The design and construction of skyscrapers involves creating safe, habitable spaces in very tall buildings. The buildings must support their weight, resist wind and earthquakes, and protect occupants from fire. Yet they must also be conveniently accessible, even on the upper floors, and provide...

  • Skyscraper Index
    Skyscraper Index
    The Skyscraper Index is a concept put forward in January 1999 by Andrew Lawrence, research director at Dresdner Kleinwort Wasserstein, which showed that the world's tallest buildings have risen on the eve of economic downturns...

  • Emporis Skyscraper Award
    Emporis Skyscraper Award
    The Emporis Skyscraper Award is an award for architectural excellence regarding the design of buildings and their functionality.The award is presented annually by Emporis to the building representing the "Best new skyscraper for design and functionality". To qualify, nominated buildings must have...

  • Skyscraper Museum
    Skyscraper Museum
    The Skyscraper Museum, located in New York City in the United States, has been the only museum of its kind in the world since opening on May 1, 1997...

     in NYC
  • Skyline
    Skyline
    A skyline is the overall or partial view of a city's tall buildings and structures consisting of many skyscrapers in front of the sky in the background. It can also be described as the artificial horizon that a city's overall structure creates. Skylines serve as a kind of fingerprint of a city, as...

  • List of tallest buildings and structures in the world
  • List of tallest buildings in the world
  • Timeline of three tallest structures in the world
    Timeline of three tallest structures in the world
    This is the timeline of the 3 highest man-made structures in the world that have the strength to carry more than their own weight.- Overview :...

  • List of cities with most skyscrapers
  • Skyscrapers in film
    Skyscrapers in film
    Skyscrapers are frequently featured in films for their impressive appearance and potent symbolism. They convey an impression of power – an old movie and TV cliché starts with the outside view of a skyscraper with a voice-over conversation, continuing inside the luxurious office of a tycoon or...

  • Groundscraper
    Groundscraper
    Groundscraper is a late 20th-century neologism for a large building that is only around a dozen stories high but which greatly extends horizontally...

  • Vertical farming
    Vertical farming
    Vertical farming is a concept that argues that it is economically and environmentally viable to cultivate plant or animal life within skyscrapers, or on vertically inclined surfaces...

    , "farmscrapers"
  • Seascraper
    Seascraper
    A seascraper, also known as a waterscraper, is a proposed large building which will function as a floating city. It would generate its own energy through wave, wind, current, solar, etc. and produce its own food through farming, aquaculture, hydroponics, etc...

  • World's littlest skyscraper
    World's littlest skyscraper
    The Newby-McMahon Building, commonly referred to as the world’s littlest skyscraper, is located at 701 LaSalle Street in downtown Wichita Falls, Texas. This late Neoclassical style red brick and cast stone structure is tall, and its exterior dimensions are deep and wide...


Further reading

  • Skyscrapers: Form and Function, by David Bennett, Simon & Schuster, 1995.
  • Landau, Sarah Bradford; Condit, Carl W., Rise of the New York skyscraper, 1865–1913, New Haven : Yale University Press, 1996. ISBN 0-300-06444-6
  • Willis, Carol, Form Follows Finance: Skyscrapers and Skylines in New York and Chicago. Princeton Architectural Press, 1995. 224 P. ISBN 1568980442

External links

The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.
 
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