Skyscraper Facts



  • The tallest building in America is the 442 m-high Sears Tower in Chicago, built in 1974.
  • The first skyscrapers were built in Chicago and New York in the 1880s.
  • A crucial step in the development of skyscrapers was the invention of the first safety lift by US engineer Elisha Otis (1811-61) in 1857.
  • The Home Insurance Building in Chicago, built in 1885, was one of the first skyscrapers.
  • In buildings over 40 storeys high, the weight of the building is less important in terms of strength than the wind load (the force of the wind against the building).
  • The Empire State Building built in New York in 1931, was for decades the world’s tallest building at 381 m.
  • The world’s tallest building is the 542 in Petronas twin towers in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
  • A tower now being built in Sao Paolo in Brazil may be the world’s tallest single tower at 495 m.
  • If the Grollo Tower is built in Melbourne, Australia, it will be 560 m high.
  • Chicago’s skyline is dominated by spectacular skyscrapers, including America’s tallest building, the Sears Tower.