The History of the World’s Tallest Skyscrapers

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The History of the World’s Tallest Skyscrapers

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29 Nov 2013

The History of the World’s Tallest Skyscrapers

Ever Onward, Ever Upward: The History of the World’s Tallest Skyscrapers

Hamburg, November 28, 2013 – Whether the Great Pyramid of Giza or the Tower of Babel, humankind has always been reaching for the sky. Beginning with the start of the 20th century and the construction of the first modern skyscrapers, man has come a few hundred meters closer to achieving that aim. Emporis, the international provider of building data, now looks back over more than 100 years of skyscraper history and presents the towers that have so far been entitled to proudly bear the title of “World’s Tallest Building”: this article is titled History of the World’s Tallest Skyscrapers.

1. Burj Khalifa, Dubai, UAE
Burj Khalifa by Michael Merola
photo : Michael Merola

Two pioneering inventions from the second half of the 19th century, steel-frame construction and the elevator, paved the way for the construction of the world’s first skyscraper. The combination of the two was first used in 1908 in the 187-meter-tall Singer Building in New York. A major city even then, the “Big Apple” progressed from there on in to become the center of state-of-the-art skyscraper architecture. And it was in New York City that reinforced foundations originated – technology that aims to prevent skyscrapers from toppling over even under the heaviest environmental stresses. The 241-meter-tall Woolworth Building of 1913 was the first building to profit from this invention.

2. Taipei 101, Taipei, Republic of China
Taipei 101 by Michiel van Dijk
photo : Michiel van Dijk

At the latest in 1930, with completion of the Chrysler Building, New York was crowned the world capital of skyscrapers for good. Just a year later, though, the 319-meter-tall tower was pushed back into second place in the running. The newly-built Empire State Building, reaching 381 meters in height, surpassed all previous construction projects both in terms of height and fame, and reigned unchallenged as the world’s tallest building for no fewer than 41 years.

3. Petronas Towers, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Petronas Towers by Sander van der Valk
photo : Sander van der Valk

Completion of the Petronas Towers in Kuala Lumpur in 1998, however, put an end to the golden age of U.S. skyscraper architecture. From that point on, Asia has increasingly set the tone and has reached undreamed-of record heights in the construction of new “supertalls”. Taipei 101, which led the list of the tallest skyscrapers for six years, was also the first building on earth to tower over half a kilometer into the sky. Nevertheless, in 2010 it was defeated by some distance, with Burj Khalifa, at a height of 828 meters, claiming the skyscraper throne and holding on to the title to this day.

4. Willis Tower, Chicago, USA
Willis Tower by Michiel van Dijk
photo : Michiel van Dijk

In the future, too, the history of the world’s tallest buildings will be written in Asia. With the laying of the foundation stone for Kingdom Tower in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, a new chapter has begun at the end of which even Burj Khalifa will end up having to submit. The tower, which is due to reach a height of over a kilometer, will bring mankind another step closer to the sky.

5. One World Trade Center – World Trade Center Building, New York, USA
One World Trade Center by Scott Murphy
photo : Scott Murphy

6. Empire State Building, New York, USA
Empire State Building by Hyunsang Ahn
photo : Hyunsang Ahn

7. Chrysler Building, New York, USA
Chrysler Building by John W. Cahill
photograph : John W. Cahill

8. The Trump Building, New York City, USA
The Trump Building by John W. Cahill
photograph : John W. Cahill

9. Woolworth Building, New York, USA
Woolworth Building by Tectonic Photo
photo : Tectonic Photo

10. Metropolitan Life Tower, New York, USA
Metropolitan Life Tower by Scott Murphy
photo : Scott Murphy

11. Woolworth Building, Singer Building, New York, USA
Woolworth Building, Singer Building by Bain News Service, publisher
photo : Bain News Service, publisher

Facts and Figures of the World’s Tallest Skyscrapers

Skyscraper History
Skyscraper History

Skyscraper Heights Table
Skyscraper Heights Table

Glass balconies at Willis Tower, Chicago
Glass balconies at Willis Tower by Skydeck Chicago
photo : Skydeck Chicago

Glass balconies at Willis Tower
Willis Tower Glass balconies by Skydeck Chicago
photo : Skydeck Chicago

Willis Tower
Willis Tower by Skydeck Chicago
photo : Skydeck Chicago

Empire State Building, New York
Empire State Building by Jiuguang Wang
photo : Jiuguang Wang

Empire State Building, New York
Empire State Building by National Archief
photo : National Archief

Metropolitan Life Tower, New York
Metropolitan Life Tower by The Library of Congress
photo : The Library of Congress

About Emporis
Emporis is a leading database of information about building and construction projects, based in Germany. For over a decade Emporis has helped companies, organizations and individuals stay informed about the building industry. The Emporis Skyscraper Award is the world’s most renowned prize for high-rise architecture.

The History of the World’s Tallest Skyscrapers information / images received from Emporis GmbH

Emporis : External Website

World’s Tallest Buildings
Absolute Tower
image from architect

 

World Skyscrapers

World Skyscrapers
KLCC Towers
photo © Tom Ravenscroft

World Buildings
Ras Al Khaimah Tower
picture : MIR

New York Skyscrapers

Hotel Buildings

London Skyscraper

Hotel Building Developments

Tallest Buildings

World’s tallest hotel building : Burj al Arab tower
Burj al Arab
image from architect

World’s Tallest skyscraper under construction : Shanghai World Financial Center
Shanghai World Financial Center
photo © Andrew McRae

World Architecture News

World’s Fastest Elevators – Skyscraper Buildings News
Taipei 101. Building
photo : Daniel Shih

Skyscraper images from across the world welcome : info(at)e-architect.co.uk

Comments / photos for the The History of the World’s Tallest Skyscrapers page welcome

The History of the World’s Tallest Skyscrapers