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Skyscrapers are known to be super tall building either

residential, work place or of mix use. They are now tending to
coincide with major downturns in the economy. Today the
number of skyscrapers that are being built all around the
world are increasing where the land is highly expensive (as in
big / metropolitan cities) as they provide high ratio of floor
space to be used to per unit area of available land. They are
not built just for the economy of space; they are considered to
be symbol of citys economic power. They do not only define
the skyline but also defines the citys identity. In many places
exceptionally tall skyscrapers have been built not just because
of necessity of space but to define the citys identity and
presence of power as a city.

The first skyscrapers would have been typically an office

building of more than 10 storeys. The concept was
undoubtedly originated in the USA, in Chicago and in New
York, where space was limited and where the best option was
to increase the height of the buildings. The crucial
developments for skyscrapers were steel, reinforced concrete,
water pumps, and elevators. Until the 19th century, buildings
of over six stories were rare. So many flights of stairs were
impractical for inhabitants, and water pressure was usually
insufficient to supply running water above about 15 metres
(50 feet). The weight-bearing components of skyscrapers
differ substantially from those of other buildings. Buildings up
to about four stories can be supported by their walls, while
skyscrapers are larger buildings that must be supported by a
skeletal frame.

In the late 19th century, the first skyscrapers would have been
typically an office building of more than 10 storeys. The
concept was undoubtedly originated in the USA, in Chicago
and in New York, where space was limited and where the best
option was to increase the height of the buildings. The Home
Insurance Building in Chicago was perhaps the first skyscraper
in the world. Built in 1884-1885 its height was 42 m/10
storeys. Designed by Major William Le Baron Jenney, a
graduate of lEcoleCentrale des Arts et Manufactures de Paris,
the structural skeleton was a bolted steel frame without
bracing supporting the loads coming from the walls and the
slabs, founded on a raft. This led to what is known as the
Chicago Skeleton.

Skyscraper foundations are considerably more complex than

those for normal buildings. The complexity brought is just
because of their height and weight and can be further depend
on the certain specific factors such as nature of soil, exposure
to wind, earthquake and their location in relation to
surrounding property. Depending on the nature of the
structure, the type of foundation and the characteristics of the
ground, the value of the foundation / excavation can be as
much as the 7.5% of the total project value.

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 utilities and a
comfortable climate for the occupants. The problems posed in
skyscraper design are considered among the most complex
encountered given the balances required
between economics, engineering,
and construction management.
One common feature of skyscrapers is a steel framework from
which curtain walls are suspended, rather than load-bearing
walls of conventional construction. Most skyscrapers have a
steel frame that enables them to be built taller than typical
load-bearing walls of reinforced concrete. Skyscrapers usually
have a particularly small surface area of what are
conventionally thought of as walls. Because the walls are not
load-bearing most skyscrapers are characterized by surface
areas of windows made possible by the concept of steel frame
and curtain wall. However, skyscrapers can also have curtain
walls that mimic conventional walls and have a small surface
area of windows.
The concept of a skyscraper is a product of the industrialized
age, made possible by cheap fossil fuel derived energy and
industrially refined raw materials such as steel and concrete.
The construction of skyscrapers was enabled by steel
frame construction that surpassed brick and
mortar construction starting at the end of the 19th century and
finally surpassing it in the 20th century together with reinforced
concrete construction as the price of steel decreased and
labour costs increased.
The steel frames become inefficient and uneconomic for
supertall buildings as usable floor space is reduced for
progressively larger supporting columns. [52] Since about 1960,
tubular designs have been used for high rises. This reduces the
usage of material (more efficient in economic terms - Willis
Tower uses a third less steel than the Empire State Building) yet
allows greater height. It allows fewer interior columns, and so
creates more usable floor space. It further enables buildings to
take on various shapes.
Advances in construction techniques have allowed skyscrapers
to narrow in width, while increasing in height. Some of these
new techniques include mass dampers to reduce vibrations and
swaying, and gaps to allow air to pass through, reducing wind
Basic design considerations

Good structural design is important in most building design, but

particularly for skyscrapers since even a small chance of
catastrophic failure is unacceptable given the high price. This
presents a paradox to civil engineers: the only way to assure a
lack of failure is to test for all modes of failure, in both the
laboratory and the real world. But the only way to know of all
modes of failure is to learn from previous failures. Thus, no
engineer can be absolutely sure that a given structure will
resist all loadings that could cause failure, but can only have
large enough margins of safety such that a failure is acceptably
unlikely. When buildings do fail, engineers question whether the
failure was due to some lack of foresight or due to some
unknowable factor.

Loading and vibration

The load a skyscraper experiences is largely from the force of

the building material itself. In most building designs, the weight
of the structure is much larger than the weight of the material
that it will support beyond its own weight. In technical terms,
the dead load, the load of the structure, is larger than the live
load, the weight of things in the structure (people, furniture,
vehicles, etc.). As such, the amount of structural material
required within the lower levels of a skyscraper will be much
larger than the material required within higher levels. This is
not always visually apparent. The Empire State
Building's setbacks are actually a result of the building code at
the time (1916 Zoning Resolution), and were not structurally
required. On the other hand, Centres shape is uniquely the
result of how it supports loads. Vertical supports can come in
several types, among which the most common for skyscrapers
can be categorized as steel frames, concrete cores, tube within
tube design, and shear walls.
The wind loading on a skyscraper is also considerable. In fact,
the lateral wind load imposed on super-tall structures is
generally the governing factor in the structural design. Wind
pressure increases with height, so for very tall buildings, the
loads associated with wind are larger than dead or live loads.

Other vertical and horizontal loading factors come from varied,

unpredictable sources, such as earthquakes.

Economic rationale

Skyscrapers are usually situated in city centres where the price

of land is high. Constructing a skyscraper becomes justified if
the price of land is so high that it makes economic sense to
build upwards as to minimize the cost of the land per the total
floor area of a building. Thus the construction of skyscrapers is
dictated by economics and results in skyscrapers in a certain
part of a large city unless a building code restricts the height of
buildings. Skyscrapers are rarely seen in small cities and they
are characteristic of large cities, because of the critical
importance of high land prices for the construction of
skyscrapers. Usually only office, commercial and hotel users
can afford the rents in the city centre and thus most tenants of
skyscrapers are of these classes. Some skyscrapers have been
built in areas where the bedrock is near surface, because this
makes constructing the foundation cheaper, for example this is
the case in Midtown Manhattan and Lower Manhattan, in New
York City, but not in-between these two parts of the city.

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

One problem with skyscrapers is car parking. In the largest

cities most people commute via public transport, but for
smaller cities a lot of parking spaces are needed. Multi-storey
car parks are impractical to build very tall, so a lot of land area
is needed.
There may be a correlation between skyscraper construction
and great income inequality but this has not been conclusively

History of the tallest skyscrapers

At the beginning of the 20th century, New York City was a

centre for the Beaux-Arts architectural movement, attracting
the talents of such great architects as Stanford
White and Carrere and Hastings. As better construction and
engineering technology became available as the century
progressed, New York City 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

The Flatiron Building, designed by Daniel Hudson

Burnham and standing 285 ft. (87 m) high, was one of the
tallest buildings in New York 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 Tower Building,
designed by Bradford Gilbert and built in 1889, is considered
by some to be New York City's first skyscraper, and may
have been the first building in New York City to use a skeletal
steel frame,[63] while the Home Insurance Building in
Chicago, which was built in 1884, is considered the world's
first skyscraper due to its steel skeleton). [64] Subsequent
buildings such as the Singer Building and the Metropolitan
Life Tower were higher still.

The Woolworth Building, a neo-Gothic "Cathedral of

Commerce" overlooking City Hall, was designed by Cass
Gilbert. At 792 feet (241 m), it became the world's tallest
building upon its completion in 1913, an honour it retained
until 1930, when it was overtaken by 40 Wall Street.
That same year, the Chrysler Building took the lead as the
tallest building in the world, scraping the sky at 1,046 feet
(319 m). Designed by William Van Allen, an Art Deco style
masterpiece with an exterior crafted of brick, the Chrysler
Building continues to be a favourite of New Yorkers to this

Future developments

At the time Taipei 101 broke the half-km mark in height, it was
already technically possible to build structures towering over a
km above the ground. Proposals for such structures have been
put forward, including the Burj Mubarak Al
Kabir in Kuwait and Azerbaijan Tower in Baku. Kilometer-plus
structures present architectural challenges that may eventually
place them in a new architectural category. The first building
under construction and planned to be over one kilometre tall is
the Jeddah Tower.

Height: 449 m, 508 m to tip

Floors: 101

Opened: 31 December 2004

Architectural style: Postmodern Architecture

R.HARI (1301014)