The story of the skyscraper


Tall buildings, their tips sometimes hidden in the clouds, skyscapers have become the symbol of modern urban civilisation, and today they are found worldwide. But until the mid 20th century, they were very much a distinctive feature of the American city.


 If you ask a person to describe an American city, the chances are that he will mention the word skyscraper. Tall buildings, their tips sometimes hidden in the clouds, have become the symbol of the American metropolis, a symbol of twenty-first century urban civilisation. American cities have not always had skyscrapers, but it is now almost a century and a half since the first skyscrapers began to distinguish their skylines.


 For millions of people coming to America from Europe, the first proof that they had reached a new world was the moment when they first caught sight of the skyline of Manhattan. Surrealistic, superhuman, the skyline was like nothing they had ever seen in the old world a concentration of tall buildings, their tops scraping the sky, hundreds of feet above the ground. These were New York's famous skyscrapers! This was America!


 The first skyscrapers, however, did not develop in New York, but in Chicago, in the late nineteenth century. Chicago at that time was the boom town of the United States New York was just the front door. Chicago was at the centre of the new American adventure, and the new adventure was the West. Chicago was the point at which the West began.


 In the year 1871, a large part of booming Chicago was destroyed as a major fire engulfed much of the downtown area. The fire, however, was a great stimulus to architects: not only did it show them the need to design modern buildings that would not be liable to burn very rapidly, but it also gave them plenty of opportunities to put their new theories into practice


 By the late 1800's architects and engineers had made great steps forwards. Until the nineteenth century, the height of buildings had been limited to a maximum of about ten stories as a result of the building materials used wood, brick or stone. With the exception of churches and cathedrals, few earlier buildings went higher than this, because they could not do so. And even the great churches of mediaeval Europe had to respect basic mechanical constraints. The walls needed to be terribly thick at the bottom, and often supported by complicated systems of buttresses and flying buttresses, to stop them falling down.


 In the nineteenth century, the Industrial Revolution resulted in the development of new techniques, notably the use of iron. This allowed the building of much bigger buildings, in particular railway stations, the "cathedrals of the Industrial Revolution", and exhibition buildings. Opened in 1889, the nineteenth century's most famous iron and steel structure reached unheard-of new heights. The Eiffel Tower, 1010 feet high, pointed the way to the future: upwards!


 Yet plain iron and steel structures had their limitations. They were not really suitable for the design of human habitations or offices and in the event of fire, they could collapse very rapidly.


 It was in fact the combination of the old and the new that allowed the development of the skyscraper: the combination of metal frames and masonry cladding. The metal frame allowed much greater strength and height, without the enormous mass and weight of stone-built structures; the masonry cladding allowed traditional features, such as rooms and partitions, to be included in the design with relatively few problems. The man generally considered as the father of this new technique was the Chicago architect William Jenney.


The reasons for building skyscrapers were clear, particularly in a city like New York, whose downtown district, Manhattan, could not expand very easily on a horizontal plane, limited as it was by the Hudson and East rivers. Apart from upwards, there were not many directions in which Manhattan could grow. And once the building techniques had been mastered, vertical expansion became the most desirable solution for the city's businessmen.


Since those early days, and in particular since the Second World War, skyscrapers have mushroomed in all the world's big cities; and they keep getting higher and higher. Before the First World War, New York's "Woolworth Building" had reached 792 feet (241 metres) ; and by the Second World War, the Empire State Building for many years the world's tallest had actually passed the Eiffel Tower. In the 1970s, the enormous twin towers of the World Trade Center, 107 stories high, went even further. But did they go too far? As bold icons of modern America, they became the target of terrorism when radical Islamic terrorists used passenger jets to destroy them, in the terrible events of 9/11 - the 11th of September 2001.


 Architectural dreamers of a hundred years ago or more imagined cities in the sky, giant buildings where people lived thousands of feet above the ground, above the clouds, above the pollution. Today, although some people believe that modern skyscrapers are too high, they now characterise cities all over the world; and they keep getting higher. Fires in a few tall buildings, for instance in Dubai, have led to further questions being asked; but in spite of the occasional disaster, skyscrapers are here to stay at least for offices and city hotels. Symbols of our civilisation, they are not likely to be replaced.




Previously Shared Stories, 

Enjoy Reading;


| Bond of Love and the Truth

| The Circle of Good Deed

| The Seven Wonders

| The Frog in Hot Water

| Your Chance of a Greater Good

| The Bridge

| Your Chance of a Greater Good

| Act of Kindness and Goodwill

| Happiness and Sorrow

| Developing a Relationship

| Dont let anyone steal your dreams.

| The Needs and Desires

| The Ant and The Dove

| The Lion and a Clever Fox

| Sometimes Just let it be

| Choose Your Words Wisely

| Hundred Gold Coins & Birbal

| Farmers Well & Witty Birbal

| Tenali Rama and the Brinjal Curry

| How long can you keep hatred in your heart?

| Appreciation of Hard Work

| Little Boys Meeting with God

| 100 Percent Love

| An Old Man Lived in the Village

| A Kings Painting

| This was bound to happen

| Wealth without a Value

| Learn to Appreciate

| Fox and The Goat

| The Golden Egg

| Who is Happy? The Peacock and The Crow

| The Three Questions

| The Old Man and the Three Young Men

| The Bear and The Two Friends

| Think Before You Judge

| Georgie Porgie

| A Wise Old Owl

| Baa Baa Black Sheep

| Beg Your Pardon Mrs Hardin

| A limit of your Kindness

| The Man and The Little Cat

| The False Human Belief

| Making Relations Special

| The Monkey and The Crocodile

| The Wicked Barbers Plight

| The Wooden Bowl

| Smartest Man in the World

| The Little Mouse

| Helping Others

| Fear vs Respect

| Little Boys Love for his Family

| Unity is Strength

| The Pig and The Sheep

| Father Son Conversation

| Whats for Dinner

| The Poor Mans Wealth
| Grandpas Table

| The Lazy Farmer

| Who or What do we love more?

| The Three Types of People

| The Cat, the Partridge and the Hare

| Birbals Wisdom

| The Travelers and The Plane Tree

| Boys Job Appraisal

| Birbal caught the Thief

| Five More Minutes

| The Kite without a thread

| Lesson Learned

| The Wet Pants

| Cycle of Evil

| The Farmer and the Snake

| A Man with a Lamp

| The King and Macaw Parrots

| A friend in need is a friend indeed.

| A Town Mouse and A Country Mouse

| Rose for Mother

| The Praying Hands

| One who read the future

| Always let your boss have the first say

| Crows in the Kingdom

| The Dreaming Priest

| Information Please

| Why Should I feel Bad?

| Two Frogs

| Baby Camel and Mother

| The Eternal Bond of Brother and Sister

| Dont let anyone steal your dreams.

| Always let your boss have the first say

| The Man and the Lion

| The Needy King and a Sage

| The Pot of the Wit

| Wealth without a Value

| The Eagle and the Woodcutter

| The Wild Doves

| The Swan and the Owl

| Zeus and the Potsherds

| The Wise Old Man

| Having a Best Friend

| A Soldiers Story

| Never to Give Up

| Looking at Mirror

| Lazy Donkey

| Controlling Temper

| Gift from Daughter

| Father and the Donkey

| The Seven Ravens

| Rodney Rhino's weekend Plans

| Sunny Days Favourite Sounds

| The Easter Story

| Simple Life Rules

| Ramu and the Mangoes

| Greedy Motu Mal

| The Snowdrop

| The Last Pearl

| The Fountain of Youth

| The Naughty Clock Winder

| The Magic Turtle

| The First Messenger

| The Cold Planet

| The Loss of Treasure

| The Turtle and the Monkey

| The Friend's Pot

| The Loss of Treasure

| Stubborn Goats

| Birbals Khichri (Rice)

| The Fox and the Grapes

| Boys Weakness

| The Rabbit and the Turtle

| The Rabbit and the Turtle

| Pundit and Rich Man

| The Best Practice Ever

| Love is in the Air

| Lost and Found

| The Pet Shop

| The Story of Eklavya

| Greedy Motu Mal

| Kimberly's Acting

| Language Confusion

| Nicole's Drums

| Sean and the Birthday Cake

| What are You Talking About?

| Emily's Secret

|  April's Month

| A Surprise from Australia

| The Clever Student

| Kalpana Sarojs life

|  PUBS AND THEIR SIGNS

| A Silly Science Experiment








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| The story of the skyscraper

The story of the skyscraper


Tall buildings, their tips sometimes hidden in the clouds, skyscapers have become the symbol of modern urban civilisation, and today they are found worldwide. But until the mid 20th century, they were very much a distinctive feature of the American city.


 If you ask a person to describe an American city, the chances are that he will mention the word skyscraper. Tall buildings, their tips sometimes hidden in the clouds, have become the symbol of the American metropolis, a symbol of twenty-first century urban civilisation. American cities have not always had skyscrapers, but it is now almost a century and a half since the first skyscrapers began to distinguish their skylines.


 For millions of people coming to America from Europe, the first proof that they had reached a new world was the moment when they first caught sight of the skyline of Manhattan. Surrealistic, superhuman, the skyline was like nothing they had ever seen in the old world a concentration of tall buildings, their tops scraping the sky, hundreds of feet above the ground. These were New York's famous skyscrapers! This was America!


 The first skyscrapers, however, did not develop in New York, but in Chicago, in the late nineteenth century. Chicago at that time was the boom town of the United States New York was just the front door. Chicago was at the centre of the new American adventure, and the new adventure was the West. Chicago was the point at which the West began.


 In the year 1871, a large part of booming Chicago was destroyed as a major fire engulfed much of the downtown area. The fire, however, was a great stimulus to architects: not only did it show them the need to design modern buildings that would not be liable to burn very rapidly, but it also gave them plenty of opportunities to put their new theories into practice


 By the late 1800's architects and engineers had made great steps forwards. Until the nineteenth century, the height of buildings had been limited to a maximum of about ten stories as a result of the building materials used wood, brick or stone. With the exception of churches and cathedrals, few earlier buildings went higher than this, because they could not do so. And even the great churches of mediaeval Europe had to respect basic mechanical constraints. The walls needed to be terribly thick at the bottom, and often supported by complicated systems of buttresses and flying buttresses, to stop them falling down.


 In the nineteenth century, the Industrial Revolution resulted in the development of new techniques, notably the use of iron. This allowed the building of much bigger buildings, in particular railway stations, the "cathedrals of the Industrial Revolution", and exhibition buildings. Opened in 1889, the nineteenth century's most famous iron and steel structure reached unheard-of new heights. The Eiffel Tower, 1010 feet high, pointed the way to the future: upwards!


 Yet plain iron and steel structures had their limitations. They were not really suitable for the design of human habitations or offices and in the event of fire, they could collapse very rapidly.


 It was in fact the combination of the old and the new that allowed the development of the skyscraper: the combination of metal frames and masonry cladding. The metal frame allowed much greater strength and height, without the enormous mass and weight of stone-built structures; the masonry cladding allowed traditional features, such as rooms and partitions, to be included in the design with relatively few problems. The man generally considered as the father of this new technique was the Chicago architect William Jenney.


The reasons for building skyscrapers were clear, particularly in a city like New York, whose downtown district, Manhattan, could not expand very easily on a horizontal plane, limited as it was by the Hudson and East rivers. Apart from upwards, there were not many directions in which Manhattan could grow. And once the building techniques had been mastered, vertical expansion became the most desirable solution for the city's businessmen.


Since those early days, and in particular since the Second World War, skyscrapers have mushroomed in all the world's big cities; and they keep getting higher and higher. Before the First World War, New York's "Woolworth Building" had reached 792 feet (241 metres) ; and by the Second World War, the Empire State Building for many years the world's tallest had actually passed the Eiffel Tower. In the 1970s, the enormous twin towers of the World Trade Center, 107 stories high, went even further. But did they go too far? As bold icons of modern America, they became the target of terrorism when radical Islamic terrorists used passenger jets to destroy them, in the terrible events of 9/11 - the 11th of September 2001.


 Architectural dreamers of a hundred years ago or more imagined cities in the sky, giant buildings where people lived thousands of feet above the ground, above the clouds, above the pollution. Today, although some people believe that modern skyscrapers are too high, they now characterise cities all over the world; and they keep getting higher. Fires in a few tall buildings, for instance in Dubai, have led to further questions being asked; but in spite of the occasional disaster, skyscrapers are here to stay at least for offices and city hotels. Symbols of our civilisation, they are not likely to be replaced.




Previously Shared Stories, 

Enjoy Reading;


| Bond of Love and the Truth

| The Circle of Good Deed

| The Seven Wonders

| The Frog in Hot Water

| Your Chance of a Greater Good

| The Bridge

| Your Chance of a Greater Good

| Act of Kindness and Goodwill

| Happiness and Sorrow

| Developing a Relationship

| Dont let anyone steal your dreams.

| The Needs and Desires

| The Ant and The Dove

| The Lion and a Clever Fox

| Sometimes Just let it be

| Choose Your Words Wisely

| Hundred Gold Coins & Birbal

| Farmers Well & Witty Birbal

| Tenali Rama and the Brinjal Curry

| How long can you keep hatred in your heart?

| Appreciation of Hard Work

| Little Boys Meeting with God

| 100 Percent Love

| An Old Man Lived in the Village

| A Kings Painting

| This was bound to happen

| Wealth without a Value

| Learn to Appreciate

| Fox and The Goat

| The Golden Egg

| Who is Happy? The Peacock and The Crow

| The Three Questions

| The Old Man and the Three Young Men

| The Bear and The Two Friends

| Think Before You Judge

| Georgie Porgie

| A Wise Old Owl

| Baa Baa Black Sheep

| Beg Your Pardon Mrs Hardin

| A limit of your Kindness

| The Man and The Little Cat

| The False Human Belief

| Making Relations Special

| The Monkey and The Crocodile

| The Wicked Barbers Plight

| The Wooden Bowl

| Smartest Man in the World

| The Little Mouse

| Helping Others

| Fear vs Respect

| Little Boys Love for his Family

| Unity is Strength

| The Pig and The Sheep

| Father Son Conversation

| Whats for Dinner

| The Poor Mans Wealth
| Grandpas Table

| The Lazy Farmer

| Who or What do we love more?

| The Three Types of People

| The Cat, the Partridge and the Hare

| Birbals Wisdom

| The Travelers and The Plane Tree

| Boys Job Appraisal

| Birbal caught the Thief

| Five More Minutes

| The Kite without a thread

| Lesson Learned

| The Wet Pants

| Cycle of Evil

| The Farmer and the Snake

| A Man with a Lamp

| The King and Macaw Parrots

| A friend in need is a friend indeed.

| A Town Mouse and A Country Mouse

| Rose for Mother

| The Praying Hands

| One who read the future

| Always let your boss have the first say

| Crows in the Kingdom

| The Dreaming Priest

| Information Please

| Why Should I feel Bad?

| Two Frogs

| Baby Camel and Mother

| The Eternal Bond of Brother and Sister

| Dont let anyone steal your dreams.

| Always let your boss have the first say

| The Man and the Lion

| The Needy King and a Sage

| The Pot of the Wit

| Wealth without a Value

| The Eagle and the Woodcutter

| The Wild Doves

| The Swan and the Owl

| Zeus and the Potsherds

| The Wise Old Man

| Having a Best Friend

| A Soldiers Story

| Never to Give Up

| Looking at Mirror

| Lazy Donkey

| Controlling Temper

| Gift from Daughter

| Father and the Donkey

| The Seven Ravens

| Rodney Rhino's weekend Plans

| Sunny Days Favourite Sounds

| The Easter Story

| Simple Life Rules

| Ramu and the Mangoes

| Greedy Motu Mal

| The Snowdrop

| The Last Pearl

| The Fountain of Youth

| The Naughty Clock Winder

| The Magic Turtle

| The First Messenger

| The Cold Planet

| The Loss of Treasure

| The Turtle and the Monkey

| The Friend's Pot

| The Loss of Treasure

| Stubborn Goats

| Birbals Khichri (Rice)

| The Fox and the Grapes

| Boys Weakness

| The Rabbit and the Turtle

| The Rabbit and the Turtle

| Pundit and Rich Man

| The Best Practice Ever

| Love is in the Air

| Lost and Found

| The Pet Shop

| The Story of Eklavya

| Greedy Motu Mal

| Kimberly's Acting

| Language Confusion

| Nicole's Drums

| Sean and the Birthday Cake

| What are You Talking About?

| Emily's Secret

|  April's Month

| A Surprise from Australia

| The Clever Student

| Kalpana Sarojs life

|  PUBS AND THEIR SIGNS

| A Silly Science Experiment








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