By James White

The formation of tall buildings dates back to the days of the Great Pyramid, where three pyramids were built in the honor of the pharaohs. These pyramids remained the largest structures in the world and, controversially, some of the oddest shaped structures in the world. However, since the 1800’s skyscrapers were being built around the world. As one structure was built in a country, another was already trying to surpass it. In lieu of this, many towers have been built and have surpassed the Great Pyramids by exceptional rates.

World's Tallest BuildingsInfographic by Maxwell Systems

The Great Pyramid of Giza was built in 2550 B.C. in El Giza, Egypt in honor of the pharaoh Khufu and his three wives, which were all placed inside the pyramid. Sectioned out, the pyramid has a “King’s room” where the pharaoh was left to lie with his riches. There is also subsections for his wives, where they all have their own rooms known as the “Queen’s Room” which holds their remains and riches. The construction of the Great Pyramid of Giza took years of hard work and would accumulate approximately $5 billion worth of work today. The pyramid stands the tallest of the three, standing around 455 feet tall.

Pyramids of Giza Panorama

Pyramids of Giza Panorama, by Sebastian Schulz. Image licensed via Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0 license.

Setting all new limits, America set all new standards for the tallest building in the world. The Empire State Building in New York City was constructed in 1931. The Empire State Building stands 1,451-feet tall as the tallest building in NYC right now, since the destruction of the twin towers in 2001. However, the construction of the One World Trade Center, the Empire State Building will once again be surpassed in New York City. The One World Trade Center will stand 1,792 feet tall from bottom to tip and will be opened in early 2014.

NYC - FiDi: One World Trade Center (under construction)

NYC – FiDi: One World Trade Center (under construction), by Wally Gobetz. Image licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.0 license.

The largest building in America until the One World Trade Center opens, however, is the Willis Tower, which was built in 1973, and stands 1,729 feet. The Willis Tower is located in Chicago, Illinois and remained the tallest building in the world until 2010 when it was surpassed by the Burj Khalifia in Dubai.

The Burj Khalifia featured in Dubai, United Arab Emirates stands an impressive 2,717 feet tall and will remain the largest building until the Sky City, in China is completed in 2014. Opened in 2010, the original construction of the Burj Khalifia was not intended to stand as tall. However, as construction came to a closing, the architect did not feel as though the 2,300-foot tall building was shaped correctly at the top. Scientifically, structures are more unsound if they do not tip off at the top, which can cause the foundation to lose sturdiness. The overall structure was changed 400 feet to make a more “pointed” top opposed to a leveled, rounded top

These buildings remain some of the most iconic buildings in the world. However, not just due to their height, but also because of their structural designs which all differentiate greatly. Even so, they all contain one similar attribute – the peaks. From the triangle shape of the Great Pyramid to the updated structure of the Burj Khalifia, it is common for larger buildings to “tipoff” at the top. Structurally and scientifically, these buildings rely on their structural designs to avoid an unsteady foundation – which can be the cause of it falling from harsh winds to a natural disaster. The scientific aspect of architecture creates an elaborate design that even the Egyptians knew of many years before modern science identified it.

Prospected that taller buildings will be built throughout the upcoming years, after the completion of the Sky City in China, it is foreseeable that the tip of each building will premiere the same silhouette, favoring that of a triangle. Science has forged a way for us to make tall structures sound without much repercussions.

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