Before the Burj Khalifa, there was much debate over which structure was the world’s tallest building. The Burj Khalifa ended all the controversy and made the following article obsolete, but we will preserve the following information as a reminder of the intense debate between high-rise enthusiasts.
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Maybe you’re expecting a straight answer for what’s the tallest building, well it just isn’t that way. The subject of the tallest building in the world seems to be very simple, just measure the thing up to the top. This concept was working well until so many different types of structures and buildings started coming up and people decided it was unfair to be comparing certain structures with others. So, in an attempt to settle things down, the ‘Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat’ divided the ways to compare buildings into categories.
- Height to the structural or architectural top. (Spire)
- Height to the highest occupied floor.
- Height to the top of the roof.
- Height to the top of antenna.
Note: in all these categories the structure has to be a building, (structures are in a league of their own)
In categories 1-3 the Taipei 101 gets to have the title. It wasn’t always like this, before, the Petronas Towers had the title. During this time, people in the United States debated bitterly that the Sears tower was taller.
When you look at the diagram it is very clear that the Sears tower is by far taller. Its no illusion, the Sears Tower is taller, but not exactly.
Measured to the top of the radio masts, Sears’ height is 1,518ft (463m), which is taller than the Petronas Towers 1,483ft.(452m) The trouble is, the masts on top of the Sears Tower do not count, but the masts on top of Petronas’ do. This is because antennae are not considered part of a building, only a temporary ornament. The Petronas Towers’ spires do get counted, that is because they are counted as being ‘permanent’.
This problem dissolved once the Taipei 101 was erected.
In the earlier days when the competition was much simpler in the late 1920′s and the early 1930s, there was competition between the 40th Wall Street Building and the Chrysler Building. Keep in mind that people of this time did not have to debate over what kind of spire should be counted as part of the building, it was simply the one who’s top is highest (TV and Radio antennas where not being built).
The 40th Wall Street Building will be best known for its race for the world’s tallest building neck to neck with the Chrysler Building. Built simultaneously with the rivaling building, both made design revisions as they were being built to add height, first with a raised spire in the Chrysler Building, countered by a heightened pyramid roof in the 40 Wall St.. Finally, on November 12, 1929, the 70-storey 40 Wall st. building was topped out with the raised pyramidal top and lantern, the builders were certain that they had won the intense competition. But when the Chrysler Building’s secretly-raised needle-like vertex, raised three weeks earlier, was finally publicized, 40 Wall was left to hold the second place in skyscraper rankings. (Although according to the Real Estate Weekly, the 282.5 m tall building still holds the title of the “tallest mid-block building”.)
Now for the last category (tallest to the antenna), the structure must be a building to be eligible, which means it is habitable from the ground to the roof. And when things are calculated the way they are suppose to be, the Sear Tower is most certainly the tallest to the top of its antenna. Ok fine, now we have 2 tallest ‘buildings’ (Taipei 101, Sears Tower), that’s not too bad, we could live with that.
To add to this trouble people started saying the CN Tower should be counted as a ‘building’ so it could get the label of the tallest building. According to the CTBUH, observation towers and communications towers are considered structures, not buildings, because they are not habitable. They do not have a considerable amount of residential or office space. The CN Tower is only a pole of concrete with an observation deck on top. So, as far as we’re concerned, the CN Tower is not a building, it is simply a structure. So, how could you call it the tallest building?
In order from left to right:
Shun Hing Square, CITIC Plaza, Jin Mao Tower, Sears Tower, Petronas Towers, Taipei 101, CN Tower, KTHI TV-Tower
By definition from Webster’s dictionary, a structure is “Something made up of a number of parts that are held or put together in a particular way”.
Structures are much easier to compare because everything manmade is a structure, so there isn’t any debate over the definition of a structure.
(Senior Road Radio Mast)
(Seattle Space Needle)
This means anything manmade sticking out of the ground can be counted as a structure.
Since the CN Tower is merely a structure, it is compared against all other structures. (radio antennas, buildings, bridges, houses, etc…) and when the CN Tower is put in the structure category, it does not come close to being the tallest, take a look at these statistics.
(These are only a few of the structures we found that are taller than the CN Tower)
|KTHI TV-tower||Fargo (ND)||629m (2063 ft.)||Tv-tower|
|KXJB-tower||Galesberg (ND)||628m (2060 ft.)||Tv-tower|
|KZFX-TV mast||Lake Jackson||615m (2018 ft.)||Tv-tower|
|Petronius Platform||Gulf of Mexico||610m (2001 ft.)||Oil Platform|
|WITN-TV mast||Grifton, North Carolina||610m (2001 ft.)||Tv-Tower|
|KATV-TV mast||Jefferson County, Arkansas||610m (2001 ft.)||Tv-Tower|
|KVIE, KTXL Mast||Walnut Grove, California||609m (2000 ft.)||Tv-Tower|
|Senior Road Tower||Missouri City, Texas||603m (1978 ft.)||Radio-Tower|
|WFMY-TV mast||Greensboro, North Carolina||583m (1913 ft.)||Tv-Tower|
|Coweta TV mast||Coweta, Oklahoma||582m (1909 ft.)||Tv-Tower|
|CN-Tower||Toronto||554m (1818 ft.)||Other…|
Well the CN tower doesn’t win there, so where can it?
Some others say the CN Tower is the tallest free standing structure (not supported by guy-ropes), but that has also been proven incorrect. The Petronius Platform stands 610m (2,100 feet) tall, making it the tallest freestanding structure in the world. However, as this oil and natural gas platform is partially supported by buoyancy, some critics feel the below-water height should not be accounted for. Wouldn’t that be like saying the CN tower is supported by the ground? The CN Tower in Toronto stands 553.33m (1,815 feet) tall, making it shorter than the Petronius Platform. But for the Canadians out there, the CN Tower does take the award for being the tallest free standing land structure.
This charts ranking is based entirely on the buildings ‘Height to the structural or architectural top’. Only “Buildings” are included.
10 Tallest Buildings
|1.||Taipei 101||Taipei||1,671 ft (509m)||101||2004|
|2.||Petronas Tower 1||Kuala Lumpur||1,483 ft (452m)||88||1998|
|3.||Petronas Tower 2||Kuala Lumpur||1,483 ft (452m)||88||1998|
|4.||Sears Tower||Chicago||1,450 ft (442m)||108||1974|
|5.||Jin Mao Tower||Shanghai||1,380 ft (421m)||88||1998|
|6.||Two International Finance…||Hong Kong||1,362 ft (415m)||88||2003|
|7.||CITIC Plaza||Guangzhou||1,283 ft (391m)||80||1997|
|8.||Shun Hing Square||Shenzhen||1,260 ft (384m)||69||1996|
|9.||Empire State Building||New York City||1,250 ft (381m)||102||1931|
|10.||Central Plaza||Hong Kong||1,227 ft (374m)||78||1992|
It is just too vague to say what the ‘tallest building’ is. To be correct you need to be more specific in your claim.
Here are the ways to calculate a buildings height and the winner for each category:
|Tallest building to the structural or architectural top.||Taipei 101||Taipei||1,671 ft (509m)|
|Tallest building to the highest occupied floor.||Taipei 101||Taipei||1,437 ft (438m)|
|Tallest building to the top of the roof.||Taipei 101||Taipei||1,473 ft (449m)|
|Tallest building to the top of antenna.||Sears Tower||Chicago||1,736 ft (529m)|
|Tallest Structure||KTHI TV-Tower||Fargo (ND)||2,063 ft (629m)|
|Tallest free standing structure||Petronius Platform||Petronius field||2,000 ft (606m)|
|Tallest free standing structure on land||CN Tower||Toronto||1,816 ft (554m)|