Skyscrapers how and why

A brief history on the emergence of unique shapes and geometries in modern architecture


2/29/20244 min read

The incredible story of how glass cells conquered the skies: a journey from antiquity to the future


The soaring metropolises of glass and steel that dominate today's skylines are the result of an unprecedented technological and engineering evolution. Undisputed protagonists of this urban landscape are glass cells, i.e., prefabricated modules that make up the facades of skyscrapers. But what is the history of this innovation? How did such tall and complex buildings come about? In this article, we will trace the fascinating history of glass cells, from their origins in antiquity to the most recent technological innovations.

Early applications of glass in architecture:

The earliest evidence of glass use in architecture dates back to Roman times, when it was used to decorate mosaics and windows. However, its fragility and high cost limited its use to small ornamental elements. It was not until the Middle Ages that glass began to be used to make stained glass windows in Gothic cathedrals, giving them an atmosphere of sacredness and beauty.

The evolution of glass and the birth of the first skyscrapers:

In the 19th century, with the advent of the Industrial Revolution, there were significant advances in the production of glass, making it more durable and accessible. This enabled the birth of the first skyscrapers, buildings of unprecedented heights that defied the laws of physics and engineering. Among the pioneers of this new architectural era was the Chicago School, with figures such as Louis Sullivan and William Le Baron Jenney, who experimented with the use of steel frames and glass facades to create ever taller and sleeker buildings.

Innovative materials and technologies:

Today, glass cells can be made of different types of glass, such as tempered glass, laminated glass, and low-e glass. In addition, the use of advanced technologies such as solar control systems and home automation makes it possible to optimize the energy performance and comfort of buildings.

Challenges and innovations for the future:

Despite considerable progress, glass cells are not without challenges. Research is focused on several aspects, such as developing stronger and lighter glass, integrating renewable energy production systems, and creating smart facades that can adapt to outdoor weather conditions.

Examples of high-rise buildings with glass cells:

  • Shanghai Tower, Shanghai

  • Burj Khalifa, Dubai

  • The Shard, Londra

  • One World Trade Center, New York

  • Torre Cepsa, Madrid


Glass cells have revolutionized the way skyscrapers are built, making them more efficient, sustainable, and iconic. The evolution of this technology will continue to shape the cities of the future, giving us ever more spectacular and futuristic skylines.

How Skyscraper Glass Cells Are Produced and Installed


In this article, we will give you a quick overview of the process of manufacturing and installing the glass cells that form skyscrapers.

Design phase:

The client expresses his ideas and desires.

An initial model (mockup) is created for approval.

Various tests are performed, including impact and water resistance tests.

Architects develop installation drawings.

Production phase:

Glass cells are produced in specialized factories.

The production process may vary depending on the type of glass and its characteristics.

Installation phase:

A surveyor marks the reference points for laying the brackets.

The brackets can be fixed mechanically with ground anchors or on alfen bars with specific bolts for this type of fixing.

A tightening check of the fasteners is then done by the parent company manager, following a table prepared by engineers.

The installation crew installs the brackets and glass cells, starting from the bottom.

The glass cells are sealed with gaskets and protective sheathing.

The top of the skyscraper is closed with a cap of sealed sheet metal.

Interior of the skyscraper:

Sheets are installed to close the space that remains between the cell and the attic; rock wool is placed between the two sheets.

Other specific work is done if requested.

Challenges and contingencies:

Water infiltration.

Delays in material logistics.

Glass breakage.

Adverse weather conditions.


Behind the beauty of a skyscraper is complex and demanding work done by competent and dedicated people.Naturalmento what I have written above is just a small summary of everything that is performed from design to installation, but it may be useful to you if you happen to wonder one day how certain work is done.