A Quick Guide to Skyscraper Construction
Skyscrapers define the skyline of most modern cities. While most commonly found in America, you can find a skyscraper in almost any of the world's great cities. Able to contain hundreds if not thousands of people within their offices and hotel rooms, skyscrapers are a truly inspiring sight to see, climbing high into the air. In today's article, we are going to have a quick look at how skyscrapers are built, and hopefully you will learn a thing or two about these marvels of modern architecture.
The first ever skyscraper was the Home Insurance Building in Chicago, built in 1885. It was only 11 stories high. By modern standards, this is very short - and by ancient standards too. The Ancient Romans were known to have built apartments out of wood and tiles which climbed to 12 stories. Yet as time went on, skyscrapers climbed higher and higher, taking on more grandiose facades and outlandish structures. The main issue with constructing a skyscraper is the fight against gravity - the taller the building, the more structural support is required to prevent a disastrous collapse. The main way in which skyscraper architects deal with this is through steel beams and metal frames, which provide a sturdy base to prop up the concrete floors and keep the skyscraper in the sky. Advances in iron and steel made over time have allowed for much stronger metal grids to be created through joining beams together so as to create a vertical frame. The longer the beam, the more solid the structure, therefore allowing for more height to be safely added to the building.
Naturally, skyscraper architects must plan for the weather. European nations usually have more stable weather conditions which allow for taller skyscrapers to be erected without fear of being blown over. However, storms and gales still pose a problem for architects as a skyscraper's tall and thin shape makes it highly susceptible to environmental pressure. As most skyscrapers are very blocky (there are exceptions, particularly in Asia), they aren't very aerodynamic, which means that the wind will simply blow into the sides rather than curving around the building's solid edges. Solutions to this issue often come in the form of clusters of steel beams right in the centre of the building, which keeps the skyscraper solid and protects it from strong winds. An advantage of this manner of building is that it provides a neat little space for a lift system.
As you might imagine, climbing potentially a hundred flights of stairs to reach the top of a skyscraper doesn't sound particularly enjoyable. Therefore, skyscraper architects must plan to fit a series of lifts into their constructs. There has to be more than one lift entry per floor, or else there wouldn't be enough for all the workers, so architects must provide enough space per floor to fit a few in. Naturally this depends on how tall the building is and how many people will use it, however it is still a vitally important consideration. Flights of stairs are also necessary as should some damage come to the lift system, people would be stranded in their offices. It's incredibly important that skyscraper floors are spacious, as there is so much that needs to be fit into them.
With all the architectural plans drawn up, it's time to build the skyscraper. This requires hundreds of tonnes of steel. concrete, and properly planned flat roof fall protection and will take hundreds of workers and months, if not years, to complete. It's possible that sections of the city may need to be closed down in order for construction to safely commence, depending on the size of the skyscraper in question and how many cranes and trucks will be needed to put the building together. Once complete, however, the city will have a brand new building to fill with offices and hotel rooms, and this will inevitably bring in lots of revenue for the city and its people.