In the late 19th century the term skyscraper became popular. It was a result of public admiration of the tall buildings being built in Chicago and New York City. Now-a-day, the skyscrapers are an increasingly common sight in large cities due to the favorable ratio of rentable floor space per unit area of land. But the skyscrapers are not built just for economy of space. Skyscrapers have become an icon of a city’s economic power just like temples and towers of the past. They help to define the identity of a city as well as the skyline.
10 Iconic Skyscrapers around the World:
Located at the main financial district of London, 30 St Mary Axe is also known as the Gherkin. This iconic skyscraper was completed in December 2003. There are 40 floors in this 180 meters (591 ft) tall skyscraper. Its construction symbolized the beginning of a new high-rise construction boom in London.
Due to the highly unconventional layout and facade of the building it is called the gherkin. Because of the energy-saving methods, the building only use half the power a similar tower would typically consume. Swiss Re, a global reinsurance company is the primary occupant of the building.
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9. Bank of China Tower
One of the most recognizable skyscrapers in Hong Kong is the Bank of China Tower. From 1989 to 1992, it was the tallest building in Hong Kong and Asia at 305.0 meters (1,000.7 ft). Growing bamboo shoots is resembled in the structural expressionism adopted in the design of this building, which symbolizes livelihood and prosperity.
Some practitioners of Feng Shui criticized the building for its sharp edges and its negative representation by the numerous ‘X’ shapes in its original design. On the 43rd floor of the building, a small observation deck is open to the public.
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8. Sears Tower
Located in Chicago, the Sears Tower is 442 meters (1,450 ft) tall skyscraper with 108-story. When the building was completed in 1973 it surpassed the WTC in New York to be the tallest building in the world. Located on the 103rd floor of the tower, the observation deck is one of the most famous tourist attractions in Chicago.
How the building sways on a windy day can be experienced by the tourists from the observation deck of this iconic skyscraper. On a clear day, they can see far over the plains of Illinois and across Lake Michigan. Either of the two elevators will take you to the top in about 60 seconds. On July 16, 2009 the Sears Tower was renamed Willis Tower.
7. Shanghai World Financial Center
The Shanghai World Financial Center is located in Pudong, Shanghai. This iconic skyscraper is a mixed use building which consists of offices, hotels, conference rooms, observation decks, and shopping malls. 174 rooms and suites are being used by the Park Hyatt Shanghai Hotel. The skyscraper was topped out at 492 meters (1,614.2 ft) in 2007 and became the tallest structure in the China, including Hong Kong.
The hole at the top is the most distinguishing feature in the design of the building. Some Chinese protested about the original circular design. They considered it too similar to the rising sun of the Japanese flag. A trapezoidal hole replaced the circle in the alternative design. According to some people the hole makes the building look like a giant bottle opener.
6. Taipei 101
Until 2007, the Taipei 101 was the tallest building in the world at 508.0 meters (1,667 ft). Taipei 101 is designed to endure the typhoon winds and earthquake tremors common in Taipei and Taiwan. The renewal of time is commemorated by the height of 101 floors; the arrival of the new century as the tower was built (100+1) and all the new years that follow (January 1 = 1-01). There are a series of eight segments of eight floors in the tower. Number eight is associated with abundance, prosperity and good fortune in the Chinese-speaking cultures.
5. Chrysler Building
Located on the east side of Manhattan, the Chrysler Building is an Art Deco skyscraper in New York City. It was the world’s tallest building for 11 months at 319 meters (1,047 ft). In 1931 it was surpassed by the Empire State Building. There was an intense competition in New York to build the tallest skyscraper of the world during the time of its construction.
This iconic skyscraper was built at an average rate of 4 floors per week. No workers died during the construction of this skyscraper despite the frantic pace. A classic example of Art Deco architecture, the Chrysler Building is considered by many modern architects to be one of the greatest buildings in New York City.
4. Burj Dubai
Located in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, Burj Khalifa was known as Burj Dubai before its inauguration. Standing at 829.8 meters, the iconic skyscraper is the tallest man-made structure in the world. On 6 January 2004, the construction of the building begun with the exterior of the structure completed on 1 October 2009. On 4 January 2010 the building officially opened. Designed to be the centerpiece of a large-scale, mixed-use development, Burj Khalifa include 30,000 homes, nine hotels, 3 hectares (7.4 acres) of parkland, at least 19 residential towers, the Dubai Mall and the 12-hectare (30-acre) man-made Burj Khalifa Lake.
The 78th floor of the tower contains an outdoor swimming pool. Most of the floors will be occupied by corporate offices and suits, except for a 123rd floor lobby and 124th floor observation deck. Burj Khalifa was already featured in the famous movie Mission Impossible
3. Petronas Twin Towers
Before being surpassed in 2004 by Taipei 101, the Petronas Twin Towers in Kuala Lumpur were the world’s tallest buildings. The towers are still the tallest twin buildings in the world. Reinforced concrete is largely used in constructing the 88-floor towers. A steel and glass facade designed to resemble motifs found in Islamic art are also used in the construction of the building which is a reflection of Malaysia’s Muslim religion. On the 41st and 42nd floors of the skyscraper there is a sky bridge connecting the two towers.
The bridge is designed to slide in and out of the tower instead of being directly bolted to the main structure. It is designed this way to prevent it from breaking during high winds. In the event of an emergency in one tower people can evacuate by crossing the sky bridge to the other tower. So the sky bridge also acts as a safety device.
2. Burj Al Arab
The Burj Al Arab is 321 meters (1,050 ft) tall and it is the second tallest building in the world. The iconic skyscraper is used exclusively as a hotel. However, the unfinished Ryugyong Hotel in Pyongyang North Korea is 9 meters (30 ft) taller, and another hotel located also in Dubai, the Rose Tower topped Burj Al Arab’s height at 333 meters (1,090 ft) and became the tallest hotel in the world.
Spectacular views of Dubai can be enjoyed from one of the restaurants in the building, which is located 200 meters (660 ft) above the Persian Gulf. The Burj Al Arab is constructed on an artificial island. A private curving bridge connects the building with the mainland. Dubai’s urban transformation is symbolized by this iconic skyscraper and to mimic the sail of a boat.
1. Empire State Building
The Empire State Building is no longer the tallest skyscraper in the world but it is still the most famous one. The iconic skyscraper is featured in many movies including the classic King Kong. It stood as the world’s tallest building for over 40 years until it was surpassed by the WTC towers in 1972.
Much of the office space of the building went unrented due to the Great Depression coinciding with the opening of the building in 1931. The building became profitable in 1950. One of the most popular outdoor observatories in the world is offered by the Empire State Building, which provides an impressive 360-degree view of New York City.