Chicago, USA: the original leader/innovator of "skyscraping"
The latest skyscraper just beat the one that until now held the record for the world's tallest. Countries in Asia and the Middle East are constantly in a race for the tallest. And we're not always sure about the motive.
Now cut to the original leaders/innovators of "skyscraping." Back in the 19th century, to build the first "skyscraper" required THREE things. The FIRST was the invention of a safe elevator in 1853 by American inventor Elisha Graves Otis. The SECOND was the invention of a new structural frame by American architect William Le Baron Jenney. The THIRD was the presence of a need to achieve new heights ... In the 1880s, Chicago experienced explosive growth, the available land could not keep up with the demand, and the only alternative was to build up.
I do know of the complexities and challenges of designing today's skyscrapers. And I do admire the ingenuity of the architects who design them ... American Adrian Smith, for example, who architected today's tallest Burj Khalifa in Dubai.
But there's something special about the original pioneers and innovators. Their creativity. Their thought-leadership. Their research and investment. Their courage to remove the first obstacles. Their willingness to take the risk. Their ability to think ahead ... It must have been a LOT TOUGHER to design and plan New York City's 102-story Empire State Building in the 1920s -- nearly a century ago!