Skyline Blog

About Skyscrapers


A skyscraper is a tall and continuously habitable free standing structure (thus radio masts and towers do not qualify.  A free standing structure is anything that stands up on its own thus radio masts/towers would qualify.  Therefore all skyscrapers are free standing structures but not all free standing structures are skyscrapers.)  There is neither an official definition nor height above which a building may clearly be classified as a skyscraper. Most cities define the term empirically; thus any building may be considered a skyscraper if it protrudes above its environment and changes the overall skyline.  A loose convention in the United States of America now draws the lower limit of a skyscraper at 150 m which I support. The somewhat arbitrary term skyscraper should not be confused with the slightly less arbitrary term high rise, which is defined by the Emporis Standards Committee as “…a multi-storey structure with at least 12 floors or 35 meters in height.”  (Therefore all skyscrapers are high rise buildings but not all high rise building are skyscrapers.)

A skyline is best described as the overall view of a city’s skyscrapers and high-rise structures with the sky in the background (and preferably some body of water and hills/mountains nearby.) It can also be described as the artificial horizon that a city’s overall structures creates. Skylines serve as a fingerprint of a city, as no two skylines are alike.  In general, larger cities have broader and taller skylines, though lower density cities often have smaller skylines than what is expected for its city size. Taller buildings are found where either land value or desire for visibility is higher, and the tallest buildings in a city are usually office buildings. Because of this, the skyline of a city can be seen as symbolic of the city’s influence, economy, and power.  I believe that a skyline is THE greatest form of art (since it requires the most amount of time, skill, man-power, “artists”/architects, no skyline can be exactly duplicated, and is constantly changing.)

My Top Rated Skylines:

1 Hong Kong (no ifs, ands, or buts about this rank – no I am not Chinese nor do I have any extra special affection for Hong Kong, China, or the United Kingdom) –

New York City (world’s most diverse and America’s largest skyline) –

3  Chicago (America’s tallest and best presented skyline) –

4 Shanghai (That’s China! China’s tallest skyline)

5 Singapore (height restriction limits Singapore’s ascension on the list but no question that it is ranked fifth in the world)

6 Tokyo (plate tectonics cause a natural height limit on Tokyo’s skyscrapers) –

7 Shenzhen (booming with rapid growth) –

8 Toronto (some folks love the towering CN Tower while others complain that it “sticks out like a sore thumb”)

9 Seoul (many tall- greater than 300 m – skyscrapers are either under construction or have been approved) –

10 Kuala Lumpur (the world’s tallest twin towers are absolutely stunning) –

Unfortunately rank 2, 3, and 4 changes for me in almost a weekly basis (when I see new photos/videos of different angles and/or when I think about the other aspects of a skyline- not just its presentation – and/or when I think about the new projects- most notably the Chicago Spire in Chicago, One World Trade Center in New York City, and the Shanghai Tower in Shanghai.  But usually I rank Chicago as 2, New York City as 3, and Shanghai as 4.)  Also ranks 7-10 fluctuate on a regular basis.  Additional information available at

Rankings are based off of these criteria:

A) Height

B) Density

C) Style

D) Organization

E) Uniqueness

F) Surroundings

G) Future Projects

H) Overall Presentation

About me: I am just a kid that marvels and is fascinated by such incredible structures. Every week I will try to bring up a post about a skyscraper or a skyline.  Tell me what you think about each skyscraper or skyline as they appear.  If you have have better/additional pictures (especially of skylines) and will let me use them I would love to post it up here (with the proper acknowledgments of course.)  I am totally new to this (blogging) so I am always open to suggestions and corrections.  Although I am an American and live in the United States of America (lived in Chicago for about two years- the birthplace of the skyscraper- from tiny Tallahassee and now living in New York City), the metric system (meters not feet) will be used for all measurements.  This blog is best viewed on a wide screen monitor of at least 17 inches (gah that wasn’t a metric system measurement.)  Thanks!  (Special extra thanks to my friend J-Man.)


One Response to “About”

  1. Nichols said

    Cool deal man. I had no idea. You should have been an architect!

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