Skyscrapers on essay


skyscraper architecture The architectural design of 20th-century skyscrapers has been redefined due to the advancement of modern technology. Benny Louie Humanity 450 Dr. Maureen Schmid 17 May 1999 The architectural design of the 20th-century skyscrapers has been redefined due to the advancement of modern technology. In our modern society, the architectural design of skyscrapers is changing the downtown landscape of metropolitan areas.

Due to the change in technologies, has changed the architectural design of skyscrapers dramatically in terms of their function, design structures, heating and cooling systems, and it social status in society. The basic function of architecture is to provide a roof over peoples’ heads. The main purpose of architecture is to act as a shelter for people to protect themselves against Mother Nature.

As civilization’s development advances, we increased our knowledge and became more creative. People start to design buildings as means of displaying wealth and social status. The skyscraper fits the criteria to show the social status of such buildings with great height and elegance to society. According to O’Gorman, “architecture is a form language, of communication.” (P.89) This communication is represented in the forms of texture, shape, and style that reflects a certain period of time. In the early period, architecture was associated with style and culture.

“The Greeks built marble temples with Doric, Ionic, or Corinthian columns. Egyptian architecture used heavy lotus columns, massive battered walls, and pyramidal forms. The Gothic style used point arch, vast areas of stained glasses, and pointed rib-vault construction.” (P. 92) Each had its unique characteristic feature to express its message. In the 20th century architectural design, architecture is no longer viewed as a simple shelter to provide a roof over peoples’ heads.

Architectures are designed with more environmentally conscious issues like cost, energy conservation, and the practicality of the structure. The interior environment is designed according to the space function of the structures. For example, “a dance hall, needs a large open space with sufficient room for the band and a bar and maybe for tables and chairs around the edge so that people can sit and chat.” (Conway & Rowan) This concept always applies to real-life situations. People don’t rent more space than what they needed for.

For example, a three-person family will not rent a 3 bedroom apartment, unless they are financially well off. In a Victorian house, there are different corridors for different users. The servants don’t use the same passage as the owners’ families. (Conway & Rowan, P.4) This is similar to large hotels, employees have to use the employee’s entrance to access the building. These passages are not well maintained as the front of the house.

“The interior environment should be safe for working, living or housing objects.” (Conway & Rowan, P.17) This means that the building should be at a comfortable temperature, with sufficient lighting, the ability to control the transmission of noise, provide enough space for pipes, wires and ventilation ducts. Overall the architects have to take into consideration of the climates differences and regional variations of the building in designing a suitable interior environment for today’s standard.

The skyscraper is defined as a “building with exceptional height completely support by a framework, as of girders, from which the walls are suspended, as opposed to a building supported by load-bearing walls.” ( The function of the skyscraper is to serve a commercial purpose. The Sears Tower is a fine example of it, not only the being headquarter of Sears and Roebuck company but it also has an observation deck for the public.

The skyscraper has always been associated with wealth and power. To the general public, big is good; in terms of building, the taller the better. People had been fascinated with skyscrapers ever since the birth of the first skyscraper in 1895. It was a 10-stories high steel frame structure designed by William Le Baron Jenney in 1885, named the “Home Insurance Building.”

(Bennett, P.40) Over the year as steel and concrete production technologies reach a higher level, architects use these new materials to reach greater heights in the design of skyscrapers. The improvement of the skyscraper structures starts from 10-floor stories to high as 150 floor stories high. The Reliance Building in Chicago, USA, in 1895, 15 stories high used a semi-rigid steel frame.

The semi-rigid steel frame was held together with steel beams and connected by rivets. (Bennett, P.42) The 60 stories high First Wisconsin Center, Milwaukee, USA in 1974 employed the steel belt truss with framed shear truss. This structure used horizontal trusses at the upper and lower stories to enhance the framed shear truss. (Bennett, P.44) The Sears Tower, Chicago, USA, in 1974, 110 stories high used the Bundled tube.

The bundled tubes were made up of a cluster of connected frame tubes, reinforced by steel beams at each story to increase the strength of the structure. Various tubes terminated at a different levels to further strengthen the bundled tubes at the center. (Bennett, P.44) The future structure was the Superframe, which can reach at least 150 stories high. It used the concept of the Eiffel Tower with framed tubes connected by horizontal trusses.

(Bennett, P.45) It was the innovation of the structural design that enables skyscrapers to reach new heights. These methods include the use of steel belted trusses, and cross members to reinforce the structure. Heating and air conditioning played an important role in the structure of skyscrapers.

They are the key units that control the inside atmosphere of all skyscrapers. In the early days, the heat sources in the building came from fireplaces and stoves. Later on, heat in the building is supplied by the hot water boiler. The boiler heats up the water and sends it out to the radiators through a system of pipes. This was later replaced by a central heating furnace with ventilation ducts that channel heat to various areas of the building.

Air conditioning is defined as a mechanical process for controlling the humidity, and temperature of the air in the room. ( Air condition is originated from refrigeration. The process of refrigeration is to draw heat away from substances to lower their temperature.

In the operation of an air conditioning unit, the air is blown across a cooling pipe and the waste heat is carried away by the flow of cold water in the pipes. The cooled air is carried out through the ventilation ducts to various parts of the building. Today, skyscrapers use the central heating system with ventilation ducts that can be shared with the heating and air conditioning system.

Engineers are working on new ways to make heating and air conditioning more efficient and environmentally friendly. This would reduce the cost of the energy bill on these skyscrapers. The cost of building a skyscraper is in hundred million dollars in the current market. The skyscraper is well known for its great height and the social status that comes with it. In general, large companies or firm would host their head office in these skyscrapers.

For example, Chrysler had its head office in the Chrysler Building, owned by Chrysler which is one of the big three automakers. (Bennett, P.71) The Sears Tower, the head office for Sears and owned by Sears. It was known for being the world’s tallest skyscraper in Chicago. (Bennett, P.24) Tenants expect clients to know where they are located when they tell them the Sears Tower is their location.

These skyscrapers are owned by wealthy individuals who are in the upper level of financial social status. There is a sense of prestige in having offices or shops in these skyscrapers. Modern skyscrapers are being redefined by the use of advanced technologies. Due to the advancement in technology, skyscrapers are able to reach new heights easily. It changes the way architects design the structure of these buildings.

The new function of the skyscraper is to provide great views, and house antennas for communications, telebroadcasting, and for entertainment purposes. The use of a computer climate control system made the building a more comfortable environment for everyone. The great height of a skyscraper like the Sears Tower associates itself with the prestige of being the tallest of all.

With the rapid advancement of technology and the influence of fame and wealth, the sky is the limit for the next generation of skyscrapers. Work cited Bennett, David. Skyscrapers Form & Function New York 1995 Conway, Hazel and Rowan, Roenisch. Understanding Architecture: An introduction to Architecture and Architectural History.