A Changing Skyline: The World’s Tallest Buildings Over Time by Jeff Desjardins, Visual Capitalist
For thousands of years, the technological advancements needed to build taller structures only inched forward. For example, the Great Pyramid of Giza, erected over 4,000 years ago at a height of 481 ft (147 m), amazingly made the list of the world’s 10 tallest buildings all the way until 1889.
Improvements in height had been mostly incremental for centuries.
Consider the Washington Monument, which was the world’s second-tallest structure leading into the 20th century and still the tallest standing stone structure today. Completed in 1884, it stands 555 feet (169 m) tall, only barely edging out the Great Pyramid.
The Tallest Buildings Over Time
Modern skyscrapers are mind-blowing in comparison. Look no further than the Jeddah Tower, which is currently being built in Saudi Arabia.
Expected to be finished in 2019 at a height of 3,280 ft (1,000 m), the Jeddah Tower will be the world’s first building over 1 km in height. Equivalent to nearly seven Great Pyramids of Giza stacked on top of one another, it will be the new centerpiece of the Middle Eastern desert, as well as the hub of the $20 billion development known as the Jeddah Economic City.
Here’s how the rankings for the world’s tallest buildings have changed over the last century or so:
In the modern era, the rankings can change very quickly. For example, the Sears Tower was built at a height of 1,450 ft (442 m) in 1974 and held the title of the tallest building for nearly 25 years. Today, the building (now known as the Willis Tower) does not even make the top 10 list. Within five years, it is not expected even make the list of the world’s 20 tallest buildings.
So where are the newest megatowers being built?
Primarily in Asia and the Middle East, it turns out. It is estimated that by 2020, that seven of the world’s ten tallest towers will reside in Asia, while three will be located in the Middle East in countries such as UAE or Saudi Arabia.
The tallest building in the Americas is currently One World Trade Center in New York City, which stands 1,776 ft (541 m) above the streets of Manhattan.
Original graphic by: Alan’s Factory Outlet