Modern skyscrapers are built with steel or reinforced concrete frameworks and curtain walls of glass or polished stone. They utilize mechanical equipment such as water pumps and elevators. From the 1930s onwards, skyscrapers began to appear around the world – also in Latin America (such as São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, Buenos Aires, Santiago, Caracas, Bogotá, Mexico City) and in Asia (Tokyo, Shanghai, Hong Kong, Manila, Singapore, Mumbai, Seoul, Kuala Lumpur, Taipei, Bangkok).
Immediately after World War II, the Soviet Union planned eight massive skyscrapers, with seven of them actually getting built until 1953, dubbed the „Seven Sisters of Moscow“. Other skyscrapers in the style of Socialist Classicism were erected in East Germany (Frankfurter Tor), Poland (PKiN), Ukraine (Hotel Ukrayina), Latvia (Academy of Sciences) and other countries. The western countries of Europe also began to permit taller skyscrapers than before WW2, such as Madrid during the 1950s (Gran Vía). Finally, skyscrapers also began to be constructed in cities of Africa, the Middle East and Oceania (mainly Australia) from the late 1950s on.
One common feature of skyscrapers is having a steel framework that supports curtain walls. These curtain walls either bear on the framework below or are possibly suspended from the framework above, rather than load-bearing walls of conventional construction. Some early skyscrapers have a steel frame that enables the construction of load-bearing walls taller than of those made of reinforcedconcrete. Modern skyscrapers‘ walls are not load-bearing and most skyscrapers are characterized by large surface areas of windows made possible by the concept of steel frame and curtain walls. However, skyscrapers can have curtain walls that mimic conventional walls and a small surface area of windows. Modern skyscrapers often have a tubular structure, and are designed to act like a hollow cylinder to resist lateral loads (wind, seismic, etc.).
The design and construction of skyscrapers involves creating safe, habitable spaces in very tall buildings. The buildings must support their weight, resist wind and earthquakes, and protect occupants from fire. Yet they must also be conveniently accessible, even on the upper floors, and provide utilities and a comfortable climate for the occupants. The problems posed in skyscraper design are considered among the most complex encountered given the balances required between economics, engineering, and construction management.
One common feature of skyscrapers is having a steel framework from which curtain walls are suspended, rather than load-bearing walls of conventional construction. Most skyscrapers have a steel frame that enables to build taller than load-bearing walls of reinforced concrete. Skyscrapers usually have particularly small surface area of what are conventionally thought of as walls, because the walls are not load-bearing and therefore most skyscrapers are characterized by large surface areas of windows made possible by the concept of steel frame and curtain walls. However, skyscrapers can have curtain walls that mimick conventional walls and a small surface area of windows.