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SKYSCRAPERS Student page. Create Account. Vocabulary. BUILDING BIG: Home Page. Explore large structures and what it takes to build them with BUILDING BIG™, a five-part PBS television series and Web site from WGBH Boston.


Here are the main features of the site: Bridges, Domes, Skyscrapers, Dams, and Tunnels. The Labs Try your hand at our interactive engineering labs. The Challenges Take on the challenges of building big. Wonders of the World Databank Explore our databank of big structures. Local Wonders Investigate big structures near you. Who Builds Big? About the Series Learn more about the shows, and see a chat with David Macaulay. Educators' Guide How to use the Web site, with hands-on activities.

Shop Building Big DVDs and books from David Macaulay available at Site Tour Learn more about the features in this site. Site Map The whole site at a glance. Web Credits Feedback Help. The First Skyscrapers (And How They Became Possible) The first skyscrapers -- tall commercial buildings with iron or steel frameworks -- came about in the late-19th and early-20th centuries, and the Chicago Home Insurance Building is generally considered the first modern skyscraper despite being just 10 stories high.

The First Skyscrapers (And How They Became Possible)

Skyscrapers were made possible through a series of architectural and engineering innovations. Henry Bessemer Henry Bessemer (1813-1898) of England, is well-known for inventing the first process to mass-produce steel inexpensively. An American, William Kelly, had held a patent for "a system of air blowing the carbon out of pig iron," but bankruptcy forced Kelly to sell his patent to Bessemer, who had been working on a similar process for making steel. In 1855, Bessemer patented his own "decarbonization process, utilizing a blast of air. " continue reading below our video Loaded: 0% Progress: 0% Modern steel today is still made using technology based on Bessemer's process. George Fuller. Skyscrapers - Great Buildings - Architecture Online. Places to Visit in New York - Observation Deck. Empire State Building. The Empire State Building Tallest building in the world when it was completed in April 1931, the EMPIRE STATE broke every record in the book.

Empire State Building

At 1250 feet, it topped the Chrysler Building by 200 feet and the third tallest, the Manhattan Company Building at 40 Wall Street, by more than 300 feet. Gargantuan in SCALE, its five-story base covered two acres and its eighty-five floors of offices boasted more rentable space -- 2.1 million square feet -- than the Chrysler Building and 40 Wall Street combined. Chrysler Building. The Chrysler Building, 405 Lexington Ave.

Chrysler Building

Height: 319 m /1,046 ft Floors: 77 Developer: Walter P. Chrysler Architect: William van Alen Structural Engineers: Ralph Squire and Sons Current Owners: GVP AG / 405 Lexington, LLC Current Tenants: Jenkens & Gilhirst PC, Bussel/Reynolds/Assoc. Sears Tower. Sears Tower (4.5 million ft2) Chicago, Illinois (1974) 1,454 feet, 443.0 meters, 110 stories Original owners: Sears Roebuck and Company.

Sears Tower

Architect: Bruce Graham, design partner, Skidmore, Owings and Merrill. Engineer: Fazlur Khan of Skidmore, Owings and Merrill. Constructed 1970-1974 Photo courtesy Skidmore, Owings & Merrill. In the late 1960s, Sears Roebuck and Company, then the world's largest retailer with $8.9 billion in sales, decided to consolidate its administrative operations in downtown Chicago. The first designs were for a boxy structure exclusively for Sears, but the architects and real estate advisors pressed for a taller tower with upper floors for tenants. As designed by architect Bruce Graham and engineer Fazlur Khan of the Chicago office of Skidmore Owings and Merrill (SOM), the structure was a "bundled tube" system of nine squares with sides of 75 feet (for an overall 225 x 225 ft), sheathed in a curtain wall of dark tinted glass. Petronas Towers.

The Petronas Towers Height: 1,483 ft (452 meters) Owners: Kuala Lumpur City Centre Holdings Sendirian Berhad Architects: Cesar Pelli & Associates Engineers: Thornton-Tomasetti Engineers Contractors: Mayjus and SKJ Joint Ventures Topping Out: 1998 Official Opening: August 28, 1999 On April 15, 1996, the Council on Tall Buildings named the Petronas Towers the tallest in the world, passing the torch to a new continent.

Petronas Towers

Although the project's developers, a consortium of private investors in association with the Malaysian government and Petronas, the national oil company, had not originally set out to surpass Chicago's Sears Tower, they did aspire to construct a monument announcing Kuala Lumpur's prominence as a commercial and cultural capital. In the design of American architect Cesar Pelli they found a winning scheme--twin towers of elegant proportions with a slenderness ratio (height to width) of 9.4--that would capture not only the title but the public imagination. Chrysler Building. The Skyscraper Museum. BUILDING BIG: The Skyscraper Challenge. Build a Bridge. Websites American Society of Civil Engineers A site for engineering professionals with information on publications, job openings, educational programs, conferences, and other industry resources.

Build a Bridge

Association for Bridge Construction and Design Learn about the activities of this organization devoted to improving the science of bridge design, construction, and maintenance. Precast/Prestressed Concrete Institute This organization is dedicated to fostering greater understanding and use of precast/prestressed concrete.