Skyscrapers
The architectural design of the 20th century skyscrapers
has been redefined due to the advancement of our modern technology. Benny Louie

Humanity 450 Dr. Maureen Schmid 17 May 1999 The architectural design of the 20th
century skyscrapers has been redefined due to the advancement of our modern
technology. In our modern society, the architectural design of skyscrapers is
changing the downtown landscape of metropolitan areas. Due to the change of
technologies, it has changed the architectural design of skyscraper dramatically
in terms of the its function, design structures, heating and cooling systems and
it social status in society. The basic function of the architecture is to
provide a roof over peoplesí head. The main purpose of architecture is to act
as a shelter for people to protect themselves against Mother Nature. As
civilization development advances, we increased our knowledge and became more
creative. People start to design buildings for means of displaying wealth and
social status. The skyscraper fits the criteria to show the social status of
such building with great height and elegance to the society. According to

OíGorman, "architecture is a form language, of communication." (P.89) This
communication is represented in the forms of texture, shape and style that
reflects certain period of time. In the early period, architectures were
associated with style and culture. "The Greeks built marble temples with

Doric, Ionic or Corinthian columns. Egyptian architecture used heavy lotus
columns, massive battered walls and pyramidal forms. The Gothic style used point
arch, vast areas of stained glasses, pointed rib-vault construction." (P. 92)

Each had its unique characteristic feature to express its message. In the 20th
century architectural design, architecture is no longer viewed as simple shelter
to provide a roof over peoplesí head. Architectures are designed with a more
environmental conscious issue like cost, energy conservation and practicality of
the structure. The interior environment is designed according to the space
function of the structures. For example, "a dance hall, needs a large
open-space with sufficient room for the band and a bar and maybe for tables and
chairs around the edge so that people can sit and chat." (Conway & Rowan)

This concept always applies to real life situations. People donít rent more
space than what they needed for. For example, a three person family will not
rent a 3 bedroom apartment, unless they are financially well off. In a Victorian
house, there are different corridors for different users. The servants donít
use the same passage as the ownersí family. (Conway & Rowan, P.4) This is
similar to large hotels, employees have to use the employees entrance to access
the building. These passages are not well maintained as the front of the house.

"The interior environment should be safe for working, living or housing
objects." (Conway & Rowan, P.17) This means that building should be at a
comfortable temperature, with sufficient lighting, ability to control the
transmission of noise, provide enough space for pipes, wires and ventilation
ducts. Overall the architects has to take in consideration of the climates
differences and regional variations of the building in designing a suitable
interior environment for todayís standard. The skyscraper is defined as a"building with exceptional height completely support by a frame-work, as of
girders, from which the walls are suspended, as opposed to a building supported
by load-bearing walls." (www.infoplease.com) The function of the skyscraper is
serve as a commercial purpose. The Sears Tower is fine example of it, not only
the being headquarter for Sears and Roebuck company but it also has an
observation deck for the public. The skyscraper has always associated with
wealth and power. To the general public, big is good; in terms of building, the
taller the better. People had been fascinated with skyscraper ever since the
birth of the first skyscraper in 1895. It was a 10-stories high steel frame
structure designed by William Le Baron Jenney in 1885, named "Home Insurance

Building." (Bennett, P.40) Over the year as steel and concrete production
technologies reach a higher level, architects use these new materials to reach
greater height in the design of skyscrapers. The improvement of the skyscraper
structures starts from 10 floor stories to high as 150 floor stories high. The

Reliance Building Chicago, USA, in 1895, 15 stories high used the semi-rigid
steel frame. The semi-rigid steel frame was held together with steel beams and
connected by rivets. (Bennett, P.42) The 60 stories high First Wisconsin Center,

Milwaukee, USA in 1974 employed the steel belt truss with framed shear truss.

This structure used the horizontal trusses at the upper and lower stories to
enhance the framed shear truss. (Bennett, P.44) The Sears Tower, Chicago, USA,
in 1974,