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‘Steel frame construction’ hailed as key skyscraper enabler

16 December 2013 No Comment

A report celebrating more than 100 years of skyscrapers has pinpointed two innovations that made the construction of cloud-skimming buildings possible, bdonline.co.uk reports.

Building information company Emporis has taken a look back at the history of tall towers in order to create a skyscraper timeline – from the 1900s to the present day.

Making the first skyscraper possible

While hailing the various achievements of ambitious architects and dynamic designers, however, there were two specific elements that were emphasised as enablers of the skyscraper. The first was the steel frame construction, which allowed buildings to reach hitherto unscaled heights. The second, the elevator which allowed people to access the upper storeys with ease.

Construction Steel Framework

The Emporis research documented how use of these two important inventions together ‘made the first skyscraper possible’; that was the Singer Building, built in New York in 1908. This tower stood at what was then a whopping 187-metres tall, according to newstrackindia.com.

Many of the first skyscrapers were constructed in New York; the Singer Building was followed by the 241-metre Woolworth Building only five years later, built using reinforced steel foundations to prevent such tall and heavy structures from wobbling or falling.

Competition to be known as ‘the tallest’


Image source

Subsequent projects have competed with one another to be known as ‘the tallest’. The Empire State Building held that title for an undefeated 41 years but reigning champion, Dubai’s Burj Khalifa, is more than double the height, measuring an impressive 828 metres.


Image source

Without the steel framework and elevator, though, none of these skyline-altering buildings could ever have been.

Author: Elizabeth Smythe    Date Written: 16 December 2013

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