Tallest Skyscrapers in the World
Skyscrapers are essentially a 20th century invention, and while tall buildings have existed for thousands of years, they reached new heights when skyscrapers began to pop up around the world. Each time a skyscraper was built; there was the drive of the builders to have the tallest building in the city, country and in the world. Since the early part of the 20th century, the drive to have the world’s tallest building has been a constant battle between cities within a country and among countries around the world.
Things started off with the Flatiron Building, which was built to 87 meters and became the tallest skyscraper in the world when it was completed in 1902. The new steel structure of the building allowed the building to reach such a high vertical height and it was not long before other buildings in New York City began to copy the style and build to new heights. The Singer Building and Metropolitan Life Tower both succeeded Flatiron as tallest buildings within the city and the world.
The height of skyscrapers really increased with the Woolworth Building in New York City, which was built overlooking City Hall. Built to 241 meters, it became the world’s tallest building in 1913 when it was completed. It would keep this title until 1930 when the building was surpassed in its height by 40 Wall Street.
The newest world’s tallest skyscraper only had its title for a few months before the Chrysler Building took over title. Built to 319 meters, the Chrysler Building became an icon of New York City, but even its title as world’s tallest skyscraper did not last long. In 1931, only one year after the Chrysler Building was finished, the Empire State Building would rise to 381 meters and become the world’s tallest building. Unlike other buildings that held onto their title for a few years at most, the Empire State Building would remain the world’s tallest building for over 40 years.
In 1972, New York once again built to new heights with the completion of the World Trade Center, which consisted of two towers reaching to the equal height of 417 meters. Their title as world’s tallest skyscrapers would only last one year before the Sears Tower (Willis Tower) was completed in Chicago. This building reached up to 442 meters, or nearly half a kilometer and it would keep the title as the world’s tallest building until 2004. Currently, it remains the tallest skyscraper in the United States and the last, so far, of the American skyscrapers to be considered the tallest in the world.
America’s dominance of the tallest skyscraper category ended with the building of the Taipei 101 in Taiwan, which took over the title as world’s tallest skyscraper in 2004. This building reached to a roof height of 448 meters, but the title of world’s tallest building would not last long for this new skyscraper. Over in the Middle East, the tallest building was about to be built and it would be unlike anything ever built.
In 2010, the title of world’s tallest building passed from Taipei 101 to Burj Khalifa. This building did not beat the Taipei 101 building by a few meters for the title, it beat the building by nearly 400 meters, which amounts to almost half a kilometers in height! Burj Khalifa stands at 828 meters, making it nearly one kilometer high and by far the world’s tallest skyscraper and building. To put it in perspective, this Dubai skyscraper is half-a-kilometer higher than both the Chrysler Building and Empire State Building. The Burj Khalifa also took over the title of world’s tallest free-standing structure over from the CN Tower, which for decades held the title.
Of course, this does not mean that skyscrapers will stop increasing now that the previous tallest record has been shattered. Many buildings are currently building to immense heights of over 500 meters, and in the future there will be some that challenge Burj Khalifa for its title. In fact, the Mile High Tower, proposed to be built in Saudi Arabia, would stand at an astounding 1,600 meters, or double the height of the Burj Khalifa. Whether or not it will be built is a question that cannot be answered quite yet.
To streamline and minimize blog maintenance, I will be discontinuing maintaining the realestateexpedition.com website (however, I will still hold the domain). I will gradually move all articles from this site to A Dawn Journal. This article originally published on the above website on Mar 27, 2010.
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