Skyline Blog

About Skyscrapers

Chicago Skyline – Birthplace of the Skyscraper

Posted by Jae on January 7, 2009

Chicago, center of a 9.5 million metropolitan area and home to the second busiest airport in the world (O`Hare International Airport), is the birthplace of the skyscraper. Chicago has the fourth largest gross metropolitan product in the world (behind Tokyo, New York City, and Los Angeles) and the second largest business district in the Western Hemisphere (after New York City.)  Chicago is home to the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, Chicago Stock Exchange, the Chicago Board Options Exchange, the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, Chicago Board of Trade, Baxter International, Abbott Laboratories, 17 Fortune Global 500 companies, McCormick Place (the world’s 3rd largest convention center), the world’s largest urban health care district, and almost all the major USA health-care related organizations (like American Medical Association, American Dental Association, American College of Surgeons, American Hospital Association and many others.)  No other city on earth can match the splendor and possibilities of Chicago with the cost of living of Chicago.  Overall, Chicago was ranked as the 8th greatest city in the world!

When Chicago built its first steel high-rise in 1885 (Home Insurance Building), it was not the tallest structure in the world (42 m later expanded to 55 m then demolished in 1931) but the first example of a new form of engineering that would change nearly every city on earth. Today, Chicago has 20 buildings over 200 m tall (three of which are among the top 20 tallest buildings in the world, including the tallest in North America- the Sears Tower). The Sears Tower has the most floors of any completed building in the world, and stands as the world’s tallest completed skyscraper when measuring to pinnacle height; rising 527 m with the addition of its western antenna (official height is 442 m.) In addition, Chicago has the distinction of being the only city in the world with more than one completed building containing at least 100 floors. Chicago is the site of 91 completed skyscrapers with 16 more under construction. At the end of 2008, there were 1,074 completed high-rises in the city, second in the country behind New York City.

Chicago has three buildings under construction that are planned to exceed 304.8 m (1000 feet) in height: the 610 m Chicago Spire, the recently completed 415 m Trump International Hotel & Tower, and the 319 m Waterview Tower. The 150-story Chicago Spire, upon its completion in 2012 (although this is questionable since construction is now suspended), would become the tallest skyscraper (tallest structure as well since it will surpass the CN Tower in Toronto) in the Western Hemisphere. The tower would also stand as the second tallest all-residential skyscraper in the world (tallest will be the under construction 618 m Pentominium in Dubai), surpassing the 323 m Q1 in Gold Coast, Australia. There are also several buildings proposed for construction in the city, the largest being the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel and Residence Tower, which would rise 386 m and 107 floors upon its completion in 2012. As of June 2008, there were 160 high-rise buildings under construction, approved for construction, and proposed for construction in Chicago. Chicago is definitely a member of the “Big 4” skylines of the world; some even put it at number one (which would be hard to argue against!)

Another View

Another View


Chicago Skyline


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