Tallest Building In The World Title Holders Through History

tallest_building_in_the_world_tittle_holders_on_world_of_architecture-8506055 Have you ever wondered what was the first, official, tallest building in the world? Where was it? Which year? Here’s the list of every title holder. First of all, let’s say we will count only buildings known as “skyscrapers”, office, commercial and residential buildings. Churches, cathedrals, pyramids and other man made structures are not counted, although some of them are taller than the “official” buildings that we are talking about. So let’s start. First ever known tallest building in the world was Equitable Life Building in New York City. It was the tallest from 1870-1884 with only 40 m (130 ft). The building was destroyed in fire in 1912.

Equitable Life Building, New York City
Photographer unknown (source)

In 1884. Chicago built a 40 m (138 ft) tall Home Insurance Building with steel structure after big part of the wooden buildings went down in the Great Chicago Fire in 1871. The building was title holder from 1884-1890. It was demolished in 1931.

Home Insurance Building, Chicago
© About.com (provided by Chicago History Museum, Getty Images)

In 1890. New York City takes back the crown. 94 m (308 ft) tall World Building was built, twice taller than the previous one in Chicago. It was the tallest only 4 years, from 1890-1894.

World Building, New York City
© courtesy of A Digital Archive of American Architecture

Manhattan Life Insurance Building was built in 1894. and held the title barely one year. It was 100 m (330 ft) tall. The first building that surpassed that mark. It was destroyed in 1965. to make place for the new Bank of New York Building.

Manhattan Life Insurance Building, New York City
Photographer unknown (source)

In 1895. Milwaukee got its tallest building in the world. Milwaukee City Hall is 108 m (354 ft) tall and it’s still standing. It was the title holder from 1895-1899.

Milwaukee City Hall, Milwaukee
Photographer unknown (source)

Milwaukee City Hall, Milwaukee
© Andy Tucker

New York City comes back in the game with a 119 m (390 ft) tall Park Row Building, which took the world to the new century. It was the tallest from 1899-1901 and it’s still built.

Park Row Building, New York City
© Irving Underhill

Park Row Building, New York City
© Wally Gobetz

Philadelphia City Hall was built in 1901. and held the record for 7 years, till 1908. It’s 167 m (548 ft) tall.

Philadelphia City Hall, Philadelphia
Unknown Photographer (source)

Philadelphia City Hall, Philadelphia
© Morag Casey

Then New York takes it back again and builds the world’s tallest buildings until the Sears Tower in 1974. In 1908, beautiful Singer Building was built. It was 187 m (612 ft) tall. It was destroyed in 1964. because new owners noticed how uneconomical is with the small floor plates. Singer Building held the record from 1908-1909.

Singer Building, New York City
Photographer unknown (source)

Metropolitan Life Tower was the tallest building in the world from 1909-1913. It’s 213 m (700 ft) tall and it’s one of the most famous buildings in New York City.

Metropolitan Life Tower, New York City
Unknown photographer (source)
Metropolitan Life Tower, New York City
© Steven Ballegeer

In 1913 famous Woolworth Building was built in Lower Manhattan. With 241 m (791 ft) it held the record till 1930.

Woolworth Building, New York City
Photographer unknown (source)

Woolworth Building, New York City
© Isabelle

Bank of Manhattan Trust Building is the only building that became the world’s tallest and lost that title in the same year (1930). It was 283 m (928 ft) tall. New York headed towards the sky like crazy.

Bank of Manhattan Trust Building, New York City
Unknown photographer (source)

Bank of Manhattan Trust Building, New York City
© Ty Law

Then big thing happened. Chrysler Building was completed in 1931 and became the tallest building and the tallest structure ever built back then. It was also the first building passing 1,000 ft mark. Chrysler Building is 320 m (1,050 ft) tall.

Chrysler Building, New York City
Unknown photographer (source)

Chrysler Building, New York City
© David Bank

In 1931 Empire State Building did the same. It took both crowns from the neighbor and set many new records. With 381 m (1,250 ft) it held the title for 40 years. After twins went down in 2001 it became tallest in the city again until 2012.

Empire State Building construction, New York City
© Lewis Hine
Empire State Building, New York City
© Els

One World Trade Center became the tallest building in the world in 1972 and held the tittle for only 2 years. This magnificent building was 417 m (1,368 ft) tall along with its twin, World Trade Center Two. Unfortunately we all know twins went down in 2001.

World Trade Center, New York City
Unknown photographer (source)

World Trade Center, New York City
Unknown photographer (source)

And then Chicago returns. Sears Tower (now Willis Tower) became the tallest in 1974 with 442 m (1,450 ft).

Sears Tower (now Willis Tower), Chicago
© Mike Rounding

After 24 years, new era begun. Petronas Towers in Kuala Lumpur became first world’s tallest buildings outside United States. Those impressive twins took the title in 1998. thanks to the spires on top of them which took them to 452 m (1, 483 ft).

Petronas Towers, Kuala Lumpur
© Jon Johansen

In 2004, Taiwan builds 509 m (1,671 ft) tall Taipei 101 Tower. The half kilometer mark was passed for the first time.

Taipei 101 Tower, Taipei
© Davis Chan

6 years later, in 2010, magnificent 828 m (2,717 ft) tall Burj Khalifa takes the title to desert. Dubai is proud owner of current world’s tallest building.

Burj Khalifa, Dubai
© Alexandra Bylund

But for how long? What’s next? Many impressive towers were proposed till now, desire for being the tallest is huge. China wanted to build new tallest, Sky City, in only 3 months!

But the most recent, most serious and most possible new tallest building will be Kingdom Tower in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. Project is already well under way, becoming reality. If everything goes well, we’ll see new era. A 1 km mark broken.

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