Chicago used to have the tallest building – the Sears Tower (now called the Willis Tower) and we were so proud of it. It was designed as a bundle of square tubes, each a different height, and it was a landmark for the Windy City. New York has always felt that way about the Empire State Building, a great tower in it’s time. The tallest building now resides in the city of Dubai, in the country of the United Arab Emirates. A very small country with a very tall building. The building is named the Burj Khalifa.
So what determines that a building is the tallest in the world? Is it the number of floors? Is it the height of the pinnacles pointing at the top? Is it the measurement of actual feet or meters?
Would you believe that there is a group called the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat (CTBUH) that has established 3 ways to determine that a tall building is tall.
- Height to architectural top
Height is measured from the level of the lowest, significant, open-air, pedestrian entrance to the architectural top of the building. This includes spires, but does not include antennae, signage, flagpoles or other functional-technical equipment.
- Highest occupied floor
Height is measured from the level of the lowest, significant, open-air, pedestrian entrance to the highest continually occupied floor within the building. Maintenance areas are not included.
- Height to tip
Height is measured from the level of the lowest, significant, open-air, pedestrian entrance to the highest point of the building, irrespective of material or function of the highest element. This includes antennae, flagpoles, signage and other functional-technical equipment.
Yes, adults have spent time and energy to figure out the ways to define the tallest building. Probably so that we can all brag that OUR city has the tallest building in the world. We better start building some new ones, because Dubai is winning right now…