National Skyscraper Day 2022: History, Significance, Facts, and more


National Skyscraper Day is observed annually on September 3. The day happens to be the birthday of the “father of skyscrapers” and one of the greatest architects Louis H. Sullivan. He was the chief architect of famous high-rise buildings such as the Wainwright Building, the Bayard-Condict Building, the Krause Music Store, the Union Trust Building, and the Prudential (Guaranty) Building, among many others.

What is a Skyscraper?

  • There is no universally agreed definition of what is a skyscraper.
  • Simply put, they are high-rise habitable structures – a building where people can live and work – with heights of more than 150 meters, 492 feet, at least.
  • And with new and taller skyscrapers being built around the world even as I write, the defined qualifying height to be a skyscraper keeps on increasing.

Why Skyscrapers were Needed?

Skyscrapers began to be constructed in the 1880s to serve two main purposes:

  • To keep up with the space crunch of developing megacities, and…
  • The need to accommodate a large number of people in a relatively small space without compromising on modern amenities

Skyscrapers are engineering and architectural marvels that we see all around us in the form of hotels, offices, retail and residential spaces.

Top 5 Tallest Buildings in the World

  • The Burj Khalifa in Dubai (828 metres)
  • Shanghai Tower in Shanghai, China (632 metres)
  • Lotte World Tower in Seoul, South Korea (498 metres)
  • The Empire State Building in New York (443 metres)
  • Dongguan International Trade Center in Dongguan, China (427 metres)

National Skyscraper Day History:

Historically there have been many tall structures like pyramids, towers and lighthouses. But they don’t qualify the definition of a modern skyscraper as they weren’t built as places to live and work. Skyscrapers only began to be built in recent history to keep up with the modern needs of megacities.

The world’s first skyscraper

  • It was Chicago’s Home Insurance Building constructed in 1884 in Chicago.
  • Being only 138 feet tall, it may not appear like a skyscraper by modern standards.
  • But at that time it was called the world’s first skyscraper.
  • It kind of opened the floodgates, as many skyscrapers began to emerge in the US Mega-cities of New York, Chicago and San Francisco.
  • However, Chicago’s Home Insurance Building – the world’s first skyscraper – did not last long and it was demolished in 1931.
  • It was the same year when the Empire State Building in New York came up.
  • The Empire State Building of New York has the distinction of staying the tallest building in the world for the longest time almost 40 years.
  • Today, It is the Burj Khalifa is known as the tallest building in the world with a height of 828 metres.

National Skyscraper Day Significance:

  • Since the advent of skyscrapers, the US has been the country with the most number of skyscrapers in the world.
  • But developing Asian countries like China, Taiwan, Gulf countries and others are catching up fast.
  • Nature lovers don’t like skyscrapers and for good reasons; but even they can’t deny the importance of skyscrapers for big cities as it protects our land by accommodating a large number of people in a lesser space.

National Skyscraper Day Facts:

  • Chicago’s life insurance building constructed in 1884 is regarded as the world’s first skyscraper.
  • A 57-storey skyscraper in China was constructed in just 19 days and still holds the record for its speedy construction.
  • Hong Kong has the most skyscrapers in the world than any other city at 308 currently.
  • Buildings above 300 metres are called Supertall and above 600 metres are called Megatall.


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