Rising majestically above the hubbub of crowded cities or standing in stately solitude against a natural backdrop, skyscrapers captivate the eye, excite the imagination, and inspire awe and reverence. Wonders of artistic creativity and engineering ingenuity, of hard work and playful dreaming, they embody the best of our practical achievements and reflect our highest aspirations.
This magnificent tour presents a fascinating look at fifty of the greatest skyscrapers in the world. Breathtaking photographs capture details often missed by the naked eye; architectural drawings and pictures of works-in-progress take you behind the scenes and enrich your understanding of the efforts involved in erecting many of the buildings; facts-at-a-glance charts give you the vital statistics, including the location of the structure, its height, the primary architect, the date of completion, materials used, and information about its place in architectural history.
From a church built to the glory of God to monuments that symbolize national or civic pride, to buildings vaunting the material accomplishments of commercial enterprises, Skyscrapers reveals the full story behind the design and construction of each structure. You'll learn about the many social, political, and economic obstacles that delayed the construction of the serenely beautiful Washington Monument; travel to Paris for an intimate look at the Eiffel Tower, the graceful intricate web of prefabricated iron girders that was both touted as proof of French engineering superiority and protested as a threat to individual creative expression; and to Ulm, to behold the filigreed tower and incomparable interior of the great Gothic cathedral, an edifice made possible by the invention of the flying buttress, which freed walls from their load-bearing roles and allowed them to be pierced so that light could flood in.
You'll encounter such architectural pioneers as William Le Baron Jenney, who took advantage of new technologies like fireproofing, elevators, and electrical lights to create, in 1885, the Home Insurance Building in Chicago, generally acknowledged to be the first skyscraper; Daniel Burnham, who, inspired by the irregular building site, designed New York's Flatiron Building, a dramatic triangular structure that exuberantly mixes Gothic and Renaissance motifs; and Mies van der Rohe, whose elegant, monumental Segram Building epitomizes the ideals of the modernist movement.
From the ancient pyramids of Egypt to the extraordinary Chrysler Building in New York, an unparalleled melding of art and engineering, every civilization has expressed in buildings both sacred and secular the eternal quest to reach ever upward towards the sky. Skyscrapers invites you to enjoy the stunning works born of that quest.