World’s tallest buildings
In 1901, Philadelphia City Hall earned the title of the world’s tallest building, standing 167 metres (548 feet) high. Despite being succeeded just seven years later, it is still the highest masonry building in the world.
The next seven buildings to hold the title all were built in New York. The trend started with the Singer Building, before being overtaken by the Metropolitan Life Tower, Woolworth Building and the Trump Building, the latter holding the record at 283 metres (928 feet) for just under a year.
It was superseded by the birthday boy, the Chrysler Building, standing an impressive 319 metres (1046 feet). It was built by Walter Chrysler who achieved his aim of creating the world’s tallest building by adding a 56 metre (183 feet) spire to the top.
However, a year later, the iconic Empire State Building was finished. Taking only 18 months to complete, this 381 metre (1250 feet) iconic New York landmark held the record for over 40 years, proving the scale of the task taken on by the team behind it.
In 1972, the World Trade Center was completed, which stood 415 metres (1361 feet) above New York until the two towers were destroyed in the terrorist attacks of 11 September 2001.
For the first time in 66 years, the tallest building in the world wasn’t in New York as the Sears Tower, now named the Willis Tower, was constructed in Chicago. Dominating the skyline of the Illinois city, this spectacular office block held its position as the highest structure on the planet for 24 years.
For the first time, the record then left the USA altogether, travelling nearly 15,000 kilometres (9,200 miles) to Kuala Lumpar and the Petronas Towers. If you are brave enough, you can walk along the skybridge that connects the towers. The transference of the title caused a dispute4 as to whether spires counted as part of the building, leading to a legal ruling that an antennae no longer counts.
Luckily, along came Taipei 101, a building that stood 452 metres (1482 feet) tall and had no antennae-related claims. It stood out on its own and held the record for three years.
The current holder of the record is Burj Khalifa in Dubai. It stands a ridiculous 828 metres (2716 feet) tall, dwarfing all other competition by some margin.