Skyscrapers are large multi-storey buildings typically higher than 100m and normally located in dense urban areas. They symbolize prosperity, power and modernity in a city. Their architecture is reflective of the time period constructed, the culture and design aesthetic that is symbolic of their respective nation. They are generally constructed out of steel, concrete, glass and granite.
"In spite of the destruction of the World Trade Centre in New York City on 11 September 2001, high-rise planning is experiencing a boom. Record heights are being attained, especially in Asia; but even in European cities, new tower blocks are soaring into the sky.”– www.detail.de
In the 1800s many business desired to be closer to the city and the demand for high rises increased. The improvement of Steel and Iron development allowed for surge of taller structures. Steel beams developed from the Bessemer process proved to be more effective, stronger and lighter than iron beams. Architects would use steel beams to construct taller buildings than ever before. Skyscrapers utilizing steel core systems allow the outer facade to be made of a much lighter material known as the curtain wall. This allowed the façade to not be the main support structure of the building which is evident in smaller buildings. After the 1950s skyscraper facades showcased more glass from using the curtain wall system.
Skyscrapers are engineered heavier at the bottom and lighter the higher up the structure. This ensures stability.
To battle earthquakes skyscrapers are designed with strong cores made of concrete. The strength of the foundation is paramount in order to avoid seismic activity.
Strong cores made of Steel trusses help prevent sway or horizontal pressure from wind. Tuned Mass Damper are structural systems that help compensate a building’s sway from winds by offsetting with the use of hydraulics and a free floating heavy weighted object sort of like a pendulum.
Steel is a good material to combat tension. Concrete is used to combat compression. When mixed with rebar it allows for more dynamic forms of architecture as opposed to the older style steel girdle system of structure that limits the design of the building.
As structural engineering improved by the 1920s, skyscrapers design style took flight with the elaborate aesthetic of Art Deco. The most notable of this style are the Empire State Building and the Chrysler Building in New York City. In the 1950s the International Style showed buildings with less ornamental appearance but a more sophisticated modular and geometric form. The skyscrapers developed after 1960s are of many diverse architectural styles ranging from post modern to aesthetics that draw from cultural references.