Page of History

The Skyscraper Museum recently reposted one of its earliest (vintage 1997) web pages “to match our online projects produced or redesigned during the past 18 months. . . .” The website had undergone a technical change from “hard-coding” to a content management system, which accommodates the museum’s historical content in a much more manageable format. The illustrated chart above shows a timeline of “the world’s tallest building” dating from the first “skyscrapers” to today’s title-holder, the Burj Khalifa in Dubai. This graphic is only the tip of the tower, though — The Skyscraper Museum’s website has plenty of other features to hold the attention of anyone who has even a passing interest in tall buildings.

Five Decades of Innovation

When it opened in 1969, 875 North Michigan Avenue (then the John Hancock Center) in Chicago represented cutting-edge construction technology, becoming the first high-rise building to employ a braced-tube structural system; photo courtesy of CTBUH.

In recognition of its founding in 1969, the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat (CTBUH) has spent 2019 looking at the past five decades of skyscraper construction and development, as well as imagining what the next five decades might bring — hence, its 50th anniversary theme, “50 Forward | 50 Back.” The celebration will come to a head at the end of this month with the CTBUH 10th World Congress in Chicago. As in previous events, the congress will feature workshops, presentations, panel discussions and a symposium. The special focus, however, will be “The 50 Most Influential Tall Buildings of the Last 50 Years,” a global roster of landmark structures that, each in its own way, “represented a significant change in thinking or technique” from what came before. The list includes 1969’s 875 North Michigan Avenue (the former John Hancock Center) in Chicago; the Lotte World Tower in Seoul (2017) and the Burj Khalifa (2010), Dubai’s awe-inspiring megatall. Whether it was construction technique, environmental friendliness or outside-the-box architectural design, each building on the list had a notable role in advancing the art and science of the skyscraper, one of humankind’s most iconic creations.

CTBUH is expecting more than 1,500 delegates from at least 45 countries to attend the congress, which opens on October 28. An online registration portal will be open until October 18, so there’s still time to sign up. For more information or to register, visit the CTBUH website’s 2019 program page.

CTBUH Says 2018 Was a Big Year for Tall Towers

This chart, courtesy of CTBUH, is a graphic representation of 50 years’ worth of tall building (200+ m) construction. Note the explosion in numbers of new skyscrapers over the past decade.

Last year didn’t quite match the record for skyscraper completions we saw in 2017, but an interactive look at 2018 in review, courtesy of the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat (CTBUH), shows that the tall trend isn’t close to abating. Some of the highlights:

  • 143 buildings of at least 200 m (656 ft.) were completed, just shy of 2017’s record of 147 and bringing the worldwide total to 1,478
  • Of the new buildings, 76% were in Asia
  • China led the world with 88 completions of towers at least 200 m tall; the city of Shenzhen alone had 14, nearly 10% of the worldwide total
  • Among all countries, the United States was a distant second place, with 13 completions
  • China also had the tallest building to complete, the 528-m (1,732-ft.) China Zun in Beijing
  • 19 cities around the world got a new tallest building
  • And, how’s this for a sky-high trend? There were 18 supertalls (skyscrapers standing at least 300 m [984 ft.]) completed worldwide, the most ever in one year.

The future of tall-building construction looks brighter than ever, thanks to the rapid urbanization of the global population. This year appears to be another big year for skyscraper news; check out ELEVATOR WORLD’s Web Exclusive for March.