Brief history of skyscrapers

Posted on 5 December, 2018 by Bailey Clarke

Early skyscrapers date back to the 19th century when large building developments started to evolve with modern times.

Toronto skyscrapers skyline

The results of creativeness throughout the 19th century and the introduction of the safety elevator saw skyscrapers appearing in big cities such as Chicago and New York. With building developers adapting their skills and the introduction of steel frames provided an immense development in construction.

A building could be considered a skyscraper if it sticks out above surrounding buildings and has more than five floors. For example, a commercial office building in the UK might not look like a skyscraper compared to the New York skyline but it could be one if it has multiple floors and is taller than surrounding buildings.

Did you know?

The Home Insurance Building in Chicago was considered the world’s first skyscraper but sadly it was demolished in 1931.

Home_Insurance_Building Chicago

The Chrysler Building was the world’s tallest skyscraper but only owned this title for 11 months.

Chrysler_building skyscraper

The art deco inspired Empire State Building took the title away from The Chrysler Building in 1931. For an impressive 41 years, it held the world record for the tallest skyscraper.


The Flatiron Building in New York City is one of the most iconic skyscrapers with its unusual wedge shape.

Flatiron_Building_skyscraper facts

Hong Kong is home to over 300 skyscrapers more than any other country.

Hong Kong skyscrapers

Burj Khalifa is currently the worlds tallest building standing at an impressive 828m.

Burj Khalifa skyscraper

Supertall skyscrapers exceeding 300m currently only exist in New York City, Dubai, Hong Kong and Chicago.

There is no standard definition for the height and number of floors required to confirm if a building meets a skyscraper requirements.

Another term used to describe a skyscraper is a high-rise building.

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