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The First Skyscrapers

Today, skyscrapers can be found in cities worldwide. But where did the story begin?

From Chicago to Shanghai, Kuala Lumpur to Dubai, the towering modern skyscraper has become a global icon. Touching the clouds worldwide and shaping our cities’ skylines, these bold structures have long captured the imagination and stirred debate. But where did the story start?

In this programme, Bridget Kendall and guests look to America to explore the foundations of some of the world’s very first skyscrapers. Discussing cities such as Chicago and New York, and landmarks such as The Empire State and Seagram buildings, they discuss the factors that prompted such places and the people who built them to look to the skies. Plus, they ask what these early towers share with the dizzying structures that overshadow them today.

With expert guests Carol Willis, Thomas Leslie and Benjamin Flowers.

Photo: A construction worker sits on a girder above the New York streets. (Helmut Kretz/Keystone/Getty Images)

Available now

41 minutes


  • Sat 11 Nov 2017 20:06GMT
  • Tue 14 Nov 2017 00:06GMT
  • Tue 14 Nov 2017 09:06GMT