Skyscraper  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

A skyscraper is a tall, continuously habitable building of many storeys, usually designed for office and commercial use. There is no official definition or height above which a building may be classified as a skyscraper. One common feature of skyscrapers is having a steel framework that supports curtain walls. These curtain walls either bear on the framework below or are possibly suspended from the framework above, rather than load-bearing walls of conventional construction. Some early skyscrapers have a steel frame that enables the construction of load-bearing walls taller than of those made of reinforced concrete. Modern skyscrapers' walls are not load-bearing, and most skyscrapers are characterized by large surface areas of windows made possible by the concept of steel frame and curtain walls. However, skyscrapers can have curtain walls that mimic conventional walls and a small surface area of windows.

Skyscrapers since the 1960s use the tubular designs, innovated by Bangladeshi-American structural engineer Fazlur Rahman Khan. This engineering principle makes the buildings structurally more efficient and stronger. It reduces the usage of material (economically much more efficient), while simultaneously allows the buildings to reach greater heights. It allows fewer interior columns, and so creates more usable floor space. It further enables buildings to take on various shapes. There are several variations of the tubular design; these structural systems are fundamental to tall building design today. Other pioneers include Hal Iyengar, William LeMessurier, etc. Cities have experienced a huge surge in skyscraper construction.

Today, skyscrapers are an increasingly common sight where land is expensive, as in the centres of big cities, because they provide such a high ratio of rentable floor space per unit area of land. They are built not just for economy of space; like temples and palaces of the past, skyscrapers are considered symbols of a city's economic power. Not only do they define the skyline, they help to define the city's identity. In some cases, exceptionally tall skyscrapers have been built not out of necessity, but to help define the city's identity and presence or power as a city.

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Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Skyscraper" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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