Who Invented the Skyscraper?

Defined as a super tall building that is continuously habitable, a skyscraper is a fascinating invention. The Empire State Building in New York City, the Willis Tower in Chicago and the Taipei 101 in Taiwan are just some of the most impressive skyscrapers ever created. Today, these buildings serve as practical solutions to the increasing scarcity of land worldwide. Aside from these things, it is also good to know the history of these tall buildings including who invented the skyscraper.


The Invention of the Skyscraper

Who invented the skyscraper? After he created the first ever load-bearing structural frame for the Home Insurance Building within the City of Chicago in Illinois in 1885, it is but right to credit architect William Le Baron Jenney as the Father of American skyscrapers. The ten-storey building was the very first skyscraper in the world.

In 1891, American architects Louis Sullivan and Dankmar Adler designed the Wainwright Building in Saint Louis, Missouri. It was also a ten-storey building. However, many people considered it the first true skyscraper rather than the Home Insurance Building because it was constructed with steel frames. Furthermore, it featured vertical bands, which helped emphasized the building’s height even more.

Additional Facts and Other Interesting Information


After the early skyscrapers were created, fire restrictions and height limits were introduced. In 1895, the American Surety Building was completed in New York. It was the tallest building during that time. In 1930, the Chrysler Building was completed in New York City. In 1931, the Empire State Building, which was comprised of 102 floors, was completed. In 1932, the Boerentoren was constructed in Antwerp, Belgium. It was made up of 26 floors. In 1940, the Torre Piacentini was completed with 31 floors within the City of Genoa in Italy.

By the 1930s, modern skyscrapers started to emerge, particularly in Asian regions like Bangkok in Thailand, Jakarta in Indonesia as well as Manila in the Philippines. The same also happened in Latin American regions like Mexico City in Mexico, Caracas in Venezuela and Sao Paulo in Brazil.

There are numerous supertall skyscrapers scheduled for completion in the near future. The list includes the Shanghai Tower in China. Its construction started sometime in November 2008 and is scheduled to be completed by 2014. The plan includes 127 floors measuring a height of 2,073 feet or 632 meters. Aside from these, there are other buildings scheduled for completion in the next few years or so such as the 1 World Trade Center in New York City, the PAGCOR Tower in the Philippines and the Burj Dubai in the United Arab Emirates.