Image John Hancock Center, Copyright © Baron Reznik


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After the sad fire in 1871 in Chicago, the Windy City, —and because most buildings were built of wood—, at the end of XIX century architects and engineers of the first Chicago School like Louis Soullivan, William Le Baron Jenney and Burnham & Root, among others, motivated primarily by the high value of land, thought of a new form of urban planning to rebuild the city through a new type of buildings: the Skyscraper, in a perimeter of small size, many plants were repeated in height. With the arrival of the elevator and new materials such as iron in the first place and then to steel due to its ductility, it could start building high-rise buildings by the use of a curtain wall system (no load-bearing walls) on the rise today. This innovative construction system, consisting of a frame or structure based on columns and beams of steel-making that could not only gain more height, but also that it could open up large spaces on the front glass, natural light and a better view of the city, undoubtedly provided better comfort and quality of life for people, users of these tall buildings. The Home Insurance Building, built in 1885 and 10 storeys high, built by the architect "Father of the Skyscraper" William Le Baron Jenney (1832-1907), became the first tall building in the world or the first skyscraper in history.

Soon, in the early twentieth century and because of the shortage of land, this construction also move to the island of Manhattan in New York. The architect Daniel Burnham, who died in 1901 before he could see his work completed, was the designer of the famous Flatiron Building Beaux Arts (Fine Arts), and which, like Seagram Building, International Style and works Mies van der Rohe, simulates the shape of a Greek column divided into three parts. In the Second Chicago School skyscrapers were improved high achieving new records and providing great modern American cities like Chicago, New York, San Francisco, Dallas and Seattle, among others, very good examples of skyscrapers in the U.S. are the Sears Tower —the tallest in the world with its architectural height 442 meters, until it was concluded the famous Petronas Towers in Kuala Lumpur in 1998—, the John Hancock Center or the Lake Point Tower in Chicago or the Empire State Building and the Chrysler Building, Art Deco, both in New York, although not as interesting from the standpoint of structural or architectural, were built between 1928 and 1931 in an interesting race to build the tallest skyscraper in the world of two cities West has become the birthplace of the skyscraper par excellence, being without doubt the origin of the skyscrapers.

The famous Twin Towers (Old World Trade Center NY), marked a before and after in the history of skyscrapers. In our memories will always be present the tragic attacks of 11 September 2001 occurred in the city of New York. Total chaos became owner of the Manhattan skyline and the world, the famous Twin Towers collapsed without anyone doing anything about it. After several years of hard work of reconstruction, the New World Trade Center in New York will be completed in 2013. A Memorial dedicated to victims respecting the boundary of the two towers remind us of the sad accident happened in New York City, a cascading water falls a few feet to the bottom where they were the old towers, these two surfaces remain embedded in large parkland. There are six new buildings that comprise the Urban Planning and interesting new project of the New World Trade Center with the Freedom Tower or One World Trade Center, David Childs designed by SOM, with 541 meters high architectural-, three skyscrapers, one, that of Norman Foster, the second highest, plus two of Richard Rodgers and Fumihiko Maki, respectively, and a small building next to the new campus for a museum. Meanwhile, in the space between the Foster tower to be erected splendid Rodgers the last building that matches the new Metro Station (World Trade Center Transportation Hub) —Santiago Calatrava designed—, that is inspired by a white dove that lifts its wings to start flying in honor of the victims as a symbolic gesture.

Today, climate change has led to a green architecture, ecological and sustainable, to be revealing to more self-sufficient buildings. Very good examples of new ecological skyscraper built in the U.S. in this century are the Norman Foster's Hearst Tower or the Eight Spruce Street by Frank Gehry, both in New York, also the Aqua Tower Emporis Awards 2009, in Chicago. Because of the density of cities today and already established decades skyscrapers begin to live with a new generation of tall buildings, called Highrise, renewing the urban fabric of inner cities or become true icons scenographic the natural or artificial waterfronts also seeking the shock through a modern and edgy. The global crisis of the early twenty-first century has led to interesting projects like Chicago's Needle (The Chicago Spire), unfortunately has been paralyzed. The majestic work, —design renowned Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava—, will become when construction is complete at the highest skyscraper in the United States of America with its 610 meters high at its highest point, « It's very atmospheric. Not a building that is a strong statement on the horizon. We need the height, otherwise, the building almost disappears because it is very thin. Somehow I conclude, although we can not think it will be soon. », Santiago Calatrava.

Although it would have been very interesting order this directory skyscrapers in chronological order, —since it could very well have appreciated the evolution of skyscrapers in the United States of America from its origins until today—, I have preferred in this case arrange for its height, in allusion to the dream of man for wanting to reach as high as skyscrapers refers, also in the desire, ambition and progress towards the future, thanks to new materials and new construction techniques, in the way to the XXII century ...

The Chicago Spire
Chicago, Illinois, USA
Santiago Calatrava

One World Trade Center
Manhattan, New York City, USA
Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP

The New World Trade Center
Manhattan, New York City, USA
SOM, Foster, Rodgers, Fumihiko Maki
and Santiago Calatrava

Willis Tower (Sears Tower)
Chicago, Illinois, USA
Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, SOM

Trump Chicago Tower
Chicago, Illinois, USA
Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP, SOM

The World Trade Center
Manhattan, New York, USA
Minoru Yamasaki & Associates

Empire State Building
Manhattan, New York City
Shreve, Lamb & Harmon Associates

One Bryan Park -
Bank of America Tower

Manhattan, New York, USA
Cook+Fox Architecs LLP

John Hancock Center
Chicago, Illinois, USA
Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, SOM

Chrysler Building
Manhattan, New York, USA
William van Alen

The New York Times Building
Manhattan, New York City, USA
Renzo Piano Building Workshop

American International Building
Manhattan, New York City
Clinton and Russell; Holton & George

Citicorp Center
Manhattan, New York City, USA
Stubbins Associates;
Emery Roth & Sons

Eight Spruce Street
Manhattan, New York City, USA
Gehry Partners LLP

Aqua Tower
Chicago, Illinois, USA
Studio Gang Architects

Transamerica Pyramid
San Francisco, California, USA
William L. Pereira & Associates

Fountain Place
Dallas, Texas, USA
Pei Cobb Freed & Partners

Lake Point Tower
Chicago, Illinois, USA
Schipporeit & Heinrich

570 Lexington Avenue
Manhattan, New York
Cross & Cross

Miami Tower
Downtown Miami, Florida, USA
Pei Cobb Freed & Partners

Hearst Tower
Manhattan, New York, USA
Foster + Partners

Espirito Santo Plaza
Miami, Florida, USA
KPF Kohn Perdersen Fox

Marina City
Chicago, Illinois, USA
Bertrand Goldberg

Seagram Building
Manhattan, New York City, USA
Mies van der Rohe

Flatiron Building
Manhattan, New York, USA
Daniel Burnham

Home Insurance Building
Chicago, Illinois, USA
William Le Baron Jenney

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