Do Skyscrapers Sway?

Chicago skyscrapers from below

Just like tree branches rustling in the breeze, skyscrapers do sway in the wind. Their steel construction allows for normal swaying without endangering the building’s structural integrity nor the occupants inside. While some might find it unsettling to notice a tall building swaying in the wind, this natural movement is no cause for concern and actually means the skyscraper is working as designed. 


Why Do Skyscrapers Sway in the Wind? 

Because skyscrapers are so tall, their architects must be very precise in keeping the buildings upright. Skyscrapers are specifically designed to withstand extreme weather and geological events such as high winds or earthquakes. Allowing for movement helps these tall buildings sway and alleviate wind pressure, minimizing any fall risk. 

In fact, most city skyscrapers are designed to stand tall against 100 mile-per-hour winds, with only slight movement detected from inside. Even during the windiest Chicago days, Skydeck visitors may not even feel the sway, noticing movement only through outdoor visual clues like flapping flags or leaves in the air. 


How Much Do Skyscrapers Sway? 

The height, location, and wind speed surrounding a skyscraper help determine how much it will sway. The higher the floor, the more apparent the building’s swaying will be. For example, the world’s tallest building—the Burj Khalifa in Dubai—can experience up to two meters in back-and-forth sway from its 163rd floor. Comparatively, the Willis Tower has 110 floors so it doesn’t sway as much. 

Most skyscraper visitors won’t notice how much skyscrapers sway, as the movement is designed to be as imperceptible as possible. That being said, individuals who experience motion sickness may be more aware of tall buildings swaying and may need to move to a lower floor to eliminate the swaying sensation. 


Soar to New Heights at Skydeck!

Being in Chicago, you’re bound to feel some swaying while inside Skydeck, but that only adds to the fun! Willis Tower is the third tallest building in the world, making for an adventurous climb your family and friends won’t forget. Plan a visit to Skydeck today to see if you can feel a skyscraper swaying in the wind!

Important Notice Regarding COVID-19

Willis Tower and Skydeck Chicago have implemented measures consistent with CDC and local and federal guidance to try to reduce the spread of COVID-19 on the premises, including enhanced cleaning protocols. Even with these procedures in place, PLEASE BE ADVISED that building occupants, building and Skydeck visitors, or others currently or previously present upon this property and/or the Skydeck MAY HAVE CONTRACTED OR BEEN EXPOSED TO COVID-19 or other infectious diseases, and may expose you. By accessing and using building common areas, the Skydeck, and their associated amenities, you and your party voluntarily assume all risks of your use—INCLUDING THE RISK OF EXPOSURE TO INFECTIOUS DISEASE—and you waive all claims, including claims for negligence, against Willis Tower, Skydeck Chicago, and their respective owners, managers, affiliates, agents and representatives, arising out of such use. The above parties hereby disclaim all liability for any injuries arising out of your use of this property and the Skydeck, including exposure to infectious disease.

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