ETYM Rare. A very tall building with many storeys.
Triangular sail on a ship above the royal.
Building so tall that it appears to “scrape the sky”, developed 1868 in New York, US, where land prices were high and the geology allowed such methods of construction. Skyscrapers are now found in cities throughout the world. The world’s tallest free-standing structure is the CN (Canadian National) Tower, Toronto, at 555 m/1,821 ft.
In Manhattan, New York, are the Empire State Building 1931 (102 stories and 381 m/1,250 ft high) and the twin towers of the World Trade Center 1970–74 (415 m/1,361 ft), but these are surpassed by the Sears Tower in Chicago 1973 (443 m/1,454 ft). Chicago has many of earliest skyscrapers, such as the Home Insurance Building 1883–85, which was built ten stories high with an iron and steel frame. A rigid steel frame is the key to skyscraper construction, taking all the building loads.
The walls simply “hang” from the frame (see curtain wall), and they can thus be made from relatively flimsy materials such as glass and aluminum.
Skyscrapers were made possible by the invention of elevators in the 1950s; the introduction of metal-frame construction in Chicago in the 1880s allowed for advances, and skyscrapers are now found in cities throughout the world. sky scraper, sky-scraper.