History: October 17, 2003: Taipei 101 Becomes Tallest Building in the World

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A Brief History

On October 17, 2003, the pinnacle was placed upon the top of the 101 story Taipei World Financial Center (the original name), making it (at the time) the tallest building in the world at a whopping 1667 feet tall, a full 184 feet taller than the previous record holder, the Petronas Twin Towers in Kuala Lampur, Malaysia.

Digging Deeper

The Petronas Towers held the record from 1998 to 2003 (or 2004 if you want to wait until Taipei 101 was actually opened), and Taipei 101 held the record until 2010 when the even taller Burj Khalifa in Dubai was opened.  The Burj Khalifa is the tallest man-made structure of any type in the world, an almost unbelievable 2722 feet tall!

Once upon a time, the US owned the world of skyscrapers, and New York City in particular was the world capital of tall buildings.  As late as 1966, the tallest building in the world outside of New York City was the Terminal Tower in Cleveland, Ohio, at 771 feet tall and containing 52 stories.  The US still competed in the record skyscraper sweepstakes with the building of the World Trade Center in 1971, which held the record at 1368 feet until the completion of the Sears Tower (now the Willis Tower) in Chicago in 1973, 1451 feet tall and boasting 108 stories.

Now, formerly third world nations are building gigantic buildings that Americans are making no effort to match.  Since the horrific terrorist attack that took down the World Trade Center Twin Towers on September 11, 2001, the wisdom of building such giant buildings has become questionable, as they certainly present a tempting target to terrorists.

Not to be intimidated by terrorists, the US has built a new World Trade Center that is the tallest building in the Western Hemisphere and the 5th tallest in the world.  The new building has 104 stories and soars 1792 feet above Manhattan.  The skyscraper cost a cool $3.9 billion and was completed in November of 2014.

Should engineers continue to try to outdo the previous tallest buildings?  Is there a point in which enough is enough?  Give us your thoughts on the building of ever taller skyscrapers.

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Historical Evidence

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About Author

Major Dan

Major Dan is a retired veteran of the United States Marine Corps. He served during the Cold War and has traveled to many countries around the world. Prior to his military service, he graduated from Cleveland State University, having majored in sociology. Following his military service, he worked as a police officer eventually earning the rank of captain prior to his retirement.