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Monday, December 11, 2023

What Is a Skyscraper: How to Identify the Towers You See?

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A Cook, Software analyst & Blogger.

What Is a Skyscraper:- Traveling around the world, especially East Asia, the Middle East and North America, exposes you to buildings of various sizes and dimensions. These engineering feats boggle the mind since they look different yet are practically cut from the same cloth.

What Is a Skyscraper
What Is a Skyscraper

To distinguish tall buildings from one another, learn about the eight loose classifications widely used to identify them.

1.   Low-Rises

Low-rises are the shortest among tall buildings, with about four stories or fewer. However, this measurement isn’t universal.

They may not touch the sky, but they can be the tallest structures in rural and suburban areas where they generally appear.

They’re typically wider than they are tall, but their limited height can make maintenance easier.

2.   Mid-Rises

Mid-rises are tall buildings with around five to 12 stories. These properties are usually the tallest buildings in the suburbs, but developers might also construct them in city centers and downtown areas, especially if the zoning codes have height limits.

Mid-rises can still be maintained from the ground as high as ten stories, but extending beyond that requires different strategies. 

Features like shared courtyards, balconies and personal outdoor space are popular in these types of buildings. Although they seem low-rise in urban settings, they’re often high enough to merit an elevator.

3.   High-Rises

High-rise buildings have more than a dozen stories. Structurally, they are taller than they are wide. You can find them downtown in major city centers and in some suburban areas.

High-rise buildings can accommodate lots of occupants and visitors, so they are more common in densely populated areas.

While outdoor space is often scarce in these buildings, high-rises tend to offer the best urban views. The windows of the upper stories may be completely unobstructed, giving striking views of the cityscape.

4.   Groundscrapers

The amount of space they cover separates these tall buildings from the rest. Although they can be high-rises, they horizontally extend over a piece of vast land to be a class of their own.

Chicago’s Merchandise Mart was one of the first buildings to earn this distinction.

This mixed-use 24-story property has 4.2 million gross square feet, which is about 56% more than its tallest contemporary — the Empire State Building.

Another prominent groundscraper example is the Pentagon. It covers over 6.5 million square feet and is barely mid-rise with five above-ground stories.

If you go to Arlington Ridge to explore Civil War-era forts, you may have to drive closer to glimpse the United States Department of Defense’s HQ.

5.   Skyscrapers

Also called sky-rise buildings, these towering structures have 40 stories or more.

Building one is a feat of engineering and architecture — skyscrapers have underground piers to support the steel columns and girders that hold the non-load-bearing glass or lightweight aluminum curtain walls.

In high winds, these buildings are designed to sway slightly to alleviate pressure and avoid damage to the structural components.

6.   Super-Slenders

A breed of skinny skyscrapers known as super-slenders is piercing the Manhattan sky.

Architects and engineers purposely design these pencil-thin buildings to maximize the square feet of floor area the city permits while building on tiny lots.

Structural engineers consider super-slenders to be buildings with a 1:10 or 1:12 ratio. With a height-to-width ratio of 24:1, Steinway Tower at 111 West 57th Street is the slimmest of them all.

7.   Supertall Buildings

Supertall buildings account for 97 of the 100 tallest buildings in the world as of 2023. The first 73 tallest buildings outside of the top 100 also fall into the “supertall” category.

These buildings are over 300 meters tall and are an increasingly popular 21st-century architectural feat.

8.   Megatall Buildings

The tallest buildings in the world for a part of the “megatall” club. The Burj Khalifa has earned the top spot, just one of many reasons to visit Dubai. In spots two and three are Shanghai Tower and Mecca’s Makkah Royal Clock Tower.

Astonishing Concepts Waiting in the Wings (What Is a Skyscraper)

Megatall structures are mind-blowing, but looking to the future, we may see even taller buildings gracing the skylines of cities around the world.

Sooner or later, developers will determine how to overcome regulatory, structural, financial and logistical barriers to turn these conceptual projects into tangible structures.

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