How Much Do Skyscrapers Sway? 6 Answers (Explained)

It’s common for skyscrapers to sway because of different factors such as wind, temperature changes, and seismic activity.

Depending on these factors, how high up the building you are, and how sensitive you are, you may or may not feel a skyscraper when it sways.

So how much do skyscrapers sway? How would you know if a tall building is swaying? Is there a certain floor where you wouldn’t feel a building swaying?

We’ve looked into the common questions regarding skyscrapers swaying, and here’s what we’ve found out:

Here’s How Much Skyscrapers Sway:

Skyscrapers sway to a certain extent depending on the wind, temperature, the presence of seismic activity, and building design. Generally, s skyscraper can sway 0.1% to 1% of its height. For example, a 50-story building can sway up to 0.5 meters or 1.64 feet, depending on the factors mentioned.

Can You Feel Skyscrapers and Tall Buildings Swaying?

Skyscrapers and tall buildings sway, and it’s possible that you feel it depending on various factors.

Depending on their design and external and environmental factors such as wind, temperature changes, and seismic activity, these buildings can sway to a certain extent.

If a building sways a lot because of these factors, you’d most likely feel it, though it can also depend on how sensitive you are to certain movements.

You may not feel it if the building sways very little and you’re not sensitive to these movements. The swaying movement is more of a gentle rocking motion.

When a skyscraper sways, you would feel as if you were on a boat that’s sailing on smooth waters. The movement is nothing too sudden that it would cause furniture or large items to shift, and it wouldn’t cause anyone to panic.

However, if you’re prone to motion sickness, then you will certainly feel the building sway, and it might make you feel dizzy and uncomfortable.

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Should You Avoid Tall Buildings if You Easily Get Motion Sick?

If you easily get motion sick, you’d want to avoid skyscrapers, which can be prone to swaying.

Depending on the building’s design and several other factors, such as wind, temperature changes, and seismic activity, skyscrapers can sway up to 1% of their height, which can quickly trigger motion sickness symptoms.

If you’re not sure how much a tall building would sway, then you can check and do a quick research on how it was designed and constructed, which will help you decide if you will avoid this building.

This will help you make an informed choice when looking for an apartment in the city. Ultimately, you decide to avoid skyscrapers if you are prone to motion sickness.

But if you have no choice, for example, your office is on an upper floor of a skyscraper, you may want to take certain precautions to avoid feeling motion sick.

You can ask for a desk far from the windows or take some medicines to help alleviate motion sickness symptoms.

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What’s the Highest Floor to Live on to Not Feel Dizzy?

There’s no exact answer to the highest floor to live on to not feel dizzy because this can depend on various factors such as the building design, wind, and temperature changes.

It can also depend on your sensitivity level and how prone you are to motion sickness.

If you want to avoid feeling dizzy due to the movement of skyscrapers, then you should choose a lower floor to live on. In high-rise buildings, lower floors experience less swaying compared to higher floors.

Apart from the floor level, another thing to consider is the unit’s location on the level.

If you get dizzy quite easily, you’d want to choose an apartment unit close to the center of the building and avoid the ones near the edges. The drawback is that you’d most likely get an apartment with less natural light and no nice views.

The best way to know which floor to live on is by viewing the apartment unit itself to see how you feel at its height.

How Tall Are Buildings Before They Start Swaying?

Tall buildings sway due to external and environmental factors, but the height they start to sway can depend on the building’s design and construction. It can also depend on the materials used.

In general, buildings may start to sway noticeably when they reach a height of around 200 to 300 feet or 61 to 91 meters. 

This can still vary depending on the factors explained above. For example, a thin building would sway at 200 feet, while a thicker building at the same height may not even sway.

It can also vary depending on the construction methodologies used. In some tall buildings, engineers use certain techniques to reduce the swaying movement.

Some techniques involve installing large weights that move in an opposite direction. Some techniques involve tightening the entire structure.

Regardless of the technique used, a well-designed and properly constructed building is perfectly safe even when it sways.

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How Do You Know if a Tall Building Is Swaying?

It can be hard to tell if a tall building is swaying just by looking at it from the outside or if you’re inside the building but on a lower level.

One sure way to know if a building is swaying is by installing sensors that can detect the movement of a building.

Some skyscrapers are already equipped with this sensor, and they can be very helpful in distinguishing between normal building swaying from sudden movements caused by heavy seismic loads.

However, there are tell-tale signs that can indicate that a building is swaying.

Here are some signs to look out for:

Feeling a Gentle Rocking Motion:

As mentioned above, a swaying building would make you feel like you’re sailing on a smooth sailing boat.

If you feel a gentle rocking motion, then you’d know that the building is swaying.

Swinging of Hanging Objects:

If you see suspended objects in the room, such as hanging plants and chandeliers, swinging gently, the building will most likely sway.

Checking the Horizon:

If you’d look out the window, the horizon should be straight and stationary.

If the horizon appears to be moving slightly, it can indicate that the building is swaying.

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Do Newer Skyscrapers Sway In The Wind?

All skyscrapers sway in the wind, including newer ones.

All these tall buildings are designed to sway as a safety measure to help them withstand strong winds and other natural forces.

These buildings are made to be flexible without compromising structural integrity and safety.

By being flexible, tall buildings, and skyscrapers experience less stress on their structure, which will help prevent them from breaking easily, even in the presence of strong winds and heavy seismic loads.

What makes newer skyscrapers different are the technologies used.

With newer skyscrapers, more advanced construction methodologies and techniques are used to help reduce and mitigate the effects of swaying.

This makes them more resilient and helps them withstand extreme outdoor conditions better.


Do Skyscrapers Sway?

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