The world’s infatuation with big buildings began in 1889 when the 984-foot Eiffel Tower was erected in Paris. By the early twentieth century, American architects and builders were racing to outdo each other. In 1909 the Metropolitan Life Tower rose 700 feet, quickly followed by the 792-foot Woolworth Building in 1913. The first American building to surpass the Eiffel Tower was the Chrysler Building in 1930, which stood at 1046 feet with the help of a metal spire. Despite the World Trade Center tragedy of September 11, the worldwide skyscraper race continues.

Building Big5 stars

Budding engineers and architects will flip over this interactive exploration of big bridges, big dams, big domes, big tunnels and skyscrapers (which, by definition, are all big.) Get virtual hands-on experience with the Labs (learn about forces and materials) and Challenges (design a structure.) Other great clicks are the searchable Wonders of the World data bank with a form for submitting your own local wonders, and the activities and experiments found in the Educators' Guide.

Damien's Skyscraper Page4 stars

Damien is a Australian skyscraper enthusiast, and an excellent illustrator. Visit his site to marvel at his skyscraper renderings, which you'll find listed under Contents. Must clicks include Larger and More Detailed Diagrams of Skyscrapers (Parts One, Two, Three and Four), Diagrams of Buildings (which click through to fact sheets with photos), and Diagram Comparing Tall Buildings to Other Tall Structures. Okay, so the titles aren't that catchy, but the detail in his work is awesome.

Skyscrapers.com5 stars

Take a whirlwind skyscraper tour by clicking on the World Map. Each country has a detailed entry, with high-rises and photo galleries organized by city. Another fun section is found under Diagrams. Select one of a dozen big cities to view an illustration graphing its skyscrapers. Each building links through to its very own page with scads of stats and even more photos. The depth and quality of this skyscraper database make my pick of the day.

Skyscraper Wars4 stars

Part of the PBS kids' site Learning Adventures in Citizenship, Skyscraper Wars tells the story of the battle of the buildings that occurred in New York in the twenties, concluding with the history of the Empire State Building. The Empire State Building was finished on May 1, 1931, and held the title as the world's tallest building until 1973, when the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center (the tallest of which reached 1368 feet) were dedicated.

World Trade Center History4 stars

"The twin towers of the World Trade Center were more than just buildings. They were proof of New York's belief in itself. Built at a time when New York's future was cloudy, the towers restored confidence and stopped the decline of lower Manhattan. Brash, glitzy, and grand, they quickly became symbols of New York." But the idea wasn't universally liked. Critics argued that the skyscrapers would ruin New York's skyline and strain city services. With support from David Rockefeller (chairman of Chase Manhattan bank) and his brother Nelson (governor of New York) the project was approved and construction began in 1965.

Honorable Mentions

The following links are either new discoveries or sites that didn't make it into my newspaper column because of space constraints. Enjoy!

Chrysler Building

Empire State Building for Kids

Skyscraper Museum: World's Tallest Skyscrapers

Tour Eiffel

Cite This Page

Feldman, Barbara. "Skyscrapers." Surfnetkids. Feldman Publishing. 17 Apr. 2002. Web. 28 Aug. 2015. < >.

About This Page

By . Originally published April 17, 2002. Last modified April 17, 2002.

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