CLOSER TO THE SKY

Lunch atop

In a movie, a simple shot of the Eiffel Tower is enough to let the audience know that the story takes place in Paris. However, when talking about New York we usually don’t see a specific building but rather, an aerial shot of the city’s skyline. We can find this emblematic skyline in t-shirts, mugs and key-chains, among other things. Any American can certainly be proud of this view, because although they are no longer the first in height or design, it represents one of their most important accomplishments in art: the invention of the skyscraper.

These impossibly high buildings are a symbol of the modern world:

-They represent the technological advances of the XIXth and XXth centuries such as the telephone and the many benefits that came with electricity, such as lifts.

– Also, skyscrapers provided a ground for experimenting with new building techniques and materials. They use glass in a whole different way, freeing it from being merely windows to covering almost the whole structure. This creates a unique sensation, as if there were no walls- one can feel a part of the city. Besides, glass allows one to play with the reflections of other elements, such as trees, clouds or other buildings.

– They also represent a new way of understanding life and professional work- a whole company working in the same building in a great location. Skyscrapers became a propaganda method, as every major firm wanted to have a great and impressive building that provided prestige and showed luxury and elegance. For instance, the Chrysler Building.

Skyscrapers were developed by the Chicago School during the late XIXth century. The first one was work of architect William Le Baron Jenney and built in 1885: The Home Insurance Building. Although nowadays we wouldn’t consider it very tall, it is important, as it was the first to use a steel structure that allowed significant height.

The current tallest skyscraper is the Burj Khalifa, or Khalifa Tower, located in Dubai. It was finished in 2009 and is 829.8 metres tall, a very big distance from the 55 metres of the Home Insurance Building.

Everyday, we’re closer to the sky.

-ana-

Everyday, we’re closer to the sky.

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