Evolution of skyscrapers in architecture

Skyscrapers Architecture – Evolution of skyscrapers in architecture

Skyscrapers Architecture“: The sky’s the limit they say, and architecture copied that! Walking down the memory lane when American architecture reached heights literally, the world witnessed the definition of skyscrapers. 

There was a time when building over a few stories was a rare effort, but with the development in construction strategies and materials, architects gathered some courage to stand taller and taller buildings. The advancement in construction techniques, along with the development of steel and reinforced concrete, made it possible for architects to experiment with elevations.

The initial skyscrapers roared in the bustling cities in the 20s of the century that epitomized the spirit of neo-gothic and neoclassical style. The next decade saw skyscrapers making the appearance across the globe.

Despite the development in the west, it is Asia that has the cities with the maximum number of skyscrapers. Hong Kong accounts for the most number of skyscrapers in the world, with 303 individual skyscrapers and 7687 high-rise buildings. She was followed by New York, which has 237 skyscrapers highlighting its exemplary skyline. The famous city of Manhattan is known for the 104 stories, 416 high One World Trade Centre, that was built to memorialize the 9-11 attacks. Another abode to marvelous skyscrapers in Dubai, which is the land of the tallest structure in the world – Burj Khalifa, along with 148 breathtaking skyscrapers and 917 high-rise buildings. Next in the line in Shanghai, followed by Chicago with an ornamented skyline of magnificent architecture.

And there is more to the list of the cities that are maintaining their skylines with the startling skyscrapers. The impressive and modern tall structures, however, bear a prominent story of evolution. Let’s unravel the history and learn more about it.

1852 – Rise of the elevators

The invention of the world’s first “safety elevator” in 1852 empowered the concept of reaching higher floors with safety. The E.V. Haughwout Building in New York was the first building to allow public access to the first passenger elevator in 1857. The origination of elevators changed the perspective of buyers as the buildings became free to grow tall and attractive. 

skyscraper buildings

Equitable Life Building was termed as the first skyscraper. The seven-storeyed building was constructed in 1870 as the first office building with an elevator in the French Baroque style. 

1916 – Zoning Resolution the architecture of a skyscraper

The next step in the evolution of high rise came in 1916 when the Zoning Resolution came in downtown New York. The pattern soon followed to other big cities, and that changed the composition of urbanism. The Architects acknowledged the rules of the Resolution that were made to prevent buildings from blocking the sunlight at street level. That’s when the concept of setbacks came into place as the architects designed narrower towers.

The buildings evolved into stunning skyscrapers that are now strongly standing in the Art Deco of the twenties and thirties. This was the first stance when architects went ahead of the classic European models.

Evolution of skyscrapers in architecture
Chrysler Building; 77-storeyed Source:  Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians

The 1950s – Rise of the curtain walls of skyscrapers architecture

The first instance of the curtain wall technique was witnessed in the Lever House in 1952. The building inspired many architects in New York and around the globe. The execution of the floor-to-ceiling glass was aimed to design rooms that incorporate better ventilation and lighting. The symmetry in the tall glass towers gave rise to International Style Skyscrapers. The curtain walls allowed buildings to attain maximum space with improved light penetration.

skyscraper buildings

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1973- Sustainability Movement

The sustainability movement was the result of the oil crisis in 1973. This brought the change in buildings visuals. The identity of skyscrapers evolved from the plain symmetrical black boxes to the experimentation in the interconnection of towers. The Tour Areva building and Tour Total building are the perfect instances of the sustainable design ethos. Both the towers were meant to be presented as twin towers , but after the oil crisis, the Tour Total was designed with a more sustainable design ethos.

Evolution of skyscrapers in architecture
Black monolith, Tour Areva, and its shiny cousin Tour Total

2001 – The turning point of skyscrapers architecture

9/11 was a major turning point witnessed in the evolution of skyscrapers. The services of the buildings such as fire safety and escape routes were reconsidered and there was a dynamic transition in the typology of the skyscrapers. The steel-structured buildings in the American City were then adapted in the Middle East and Asia for mixed-use.

Evolution of skyscrapers in architecture

America was soon enough to rise and build the One World Trade Center that was the tallest building of that time.

skyscraper buildings
The tallest building in the world – Burj Khalifa

Now – The Foreseeable future of skyscrapers architecture

The buildings have reached a lot of heights and architects are now brave enough to experiment with the form and function of skyscrapers. They are no longer stand-alone structures. The high rise of now and the future will incorporate more redundancy in terms of energy consciousness and sustainability. 

Evolution of skyscrapers in architecture
Kingdom Tower in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia

I hope this article Evolution of skyscrapers in architecture is helpful to list for you, If yes please share your feedback with us in the comment section below.

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