Video: Tallest Buildings in the World Since 1900 to 2018

Over the last century, we have seen an astounding level of growth and development across the globe. If you were to look down from above at our planet, patiently observing it year by year, our cities would present an inspiring display of advancement: building upon building growing ever closer towards the sky.

Whether through necessity or as a sign of strength, the modern skyscraper has long been a way for a country or society to demonstrate prosperity and achievement. As the years went on, it was the height of these skyscrapers that became the main signifier of this success – the primary measurement a city or country could hang their collective hat on. And as things grew and changed further, the need to outdo previous benchmarks became routine.

We can trace this ongoing race to the skies clearly, which is why we thought we’d put together this video to visualise just how far these large scale building works have come over the last 100+ years.

Our animation begins in 1900 and stretches right to the present day (2018), showing just how these developments escalated to get to where we are now.

You’ll also find some interesting easter eggs to give a bit of historical context. Watch out for popular movie releases, impressive human feats and even a brief appearance from a leading metal roofing company! We hope you enjoy the video, and this extra piece which gives you some more information.

Key players

Our video features twelve buildings – each of these earning the title of world’s tallest building – from four different countries.

As you probably expected, the USA is the biggest contributor, clocking in nine of the twelve buildings. These start with the 167m tall Philadelphia City Hall, ending with the 442m tall Sears Tower in Chicago.

From there, we move eastwards, to Malaysia, Taiwan and finally the United Arab Emirates – highlighting the burgeoning international competition when it comes to topping the skyscraper charts.

Of our American collection, seven of the buildings were constructed in Manhattan, New York City. As a city known for its high rise stature, this shouldn’t be a surprise!

Fun facts

Longevity: The Woolworth Building held the title of world’s tallest building for a solid 17 years between 1913 and 1930. But this record was eclipsed by The Empire State Building, which stood at the top of the pile for a full 41 years from 1931 to 1972.

Most expensive: Of all the buildings in our video, it’s the tallest which also takes the prize for most expensive to construct. The Burj Khalifa cost $1.5 billion – but even that is shockingly low down on the list of most expensive buildings in the world.

Raise the roof: Our list uses measurements to the roof of the building, so extra features such as spires are not counted. If they were, we’d be looking at a much longer list, including numerous skyscrapers from China – such as the Shanghai Tower.

Just missing out: Building a skyscraper is usually a pretty long process – save for the Empire State Building which only took 1 year, 45 days to construct!

Some buildings were originally planned with the intent on being the largest in the world, only to be pipped at the post by others during construction. Others are still hugely impressive, but are overshadowed by buildings elsewhere.

An example of the former is the first tower on our list: the Philadelphia City Hall. Both the Eiffel Tower and the Washington Monument ended up being taller, but Philadelphia’s tower still became the world’s tallest habitable building. So we’re counting it!

A good example of the second is the One World Trade Center, in Lower Manhattan. The building stands at 527.3m, not only making it the tallest building in New York City and the United States, but the tallest in the western hemisphere. We think that deserves some recognition!

JTC Roofing are proud to be a leading metal roof contractor who have worked on many fascinating modern constructions – as well as some historical roofing refurbishments. We are experts in all things metal roofing and ensure a meticulous and personable service no matter the size or scale of roofing construction required. To find out more, simply contact us today.


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