What’s the tallest building in the world? At one time, the answer would have been the Jeddah Tower in Saudia Arabia, whose tip reaches a mind-numbing 3,281 feet into the sky. As for which other structures have held that title during the last 120 years? You can learn all about the evolution of the planet’s tallest buildings in this animated video that shows how they’ve changed in style, purpose, location, and size.
This very cool comparison video from last fall (which we learned about at Laughing Squid) comes from the YouTube channel FilmCore. It begins in 1901 with a building that might seem like an unlikely former structure to hold the title of world’s tallest: Philadelphia City Hall. When completed in 1901, the building stood only 548 feet tall. New York quickly took over, as The Singer Building became the next tallest structure to be erected in 1908.
From there, the Big Apple just kept adding bigger buildings to its city streets. New mega towers kept besting the previous structures until 1973. That’s when the Twin Towers lost the title to Chicago’s Sears Tower (1,729 feet to the tip.)
Starting in the ’90s, when the Sears Tower’s functional height was barely topped by the Petronas Towers (better known as Kuala Lumpur) in Malaysia, the battle of heights went international. In fact, the tallest building no longer resides in the United States. Starting in 2022, that distinction will belong to Dubai’s Creek Tower at a whopping 4,413 feet.
You’d have to stack eight Singer Buildings on top of one another to beat that. And stacking all those buildings on top of one another wouldn’t look nearly as sleek. But it might be more functional. Because one thing this video really highlights is that, proportionally, the world’s tallest buildings haven’t grown nearly as wide the higher they’ve climbed.
Featured Image: FilmCore