skyscraper: Outstanding Skyscrapers

By convention, a skyscraper is a building that is used primarily for human habitation with the greatest majority of its height divided into occupiable floors. Freestanding structures used primarily for broadcasting or sightseeing are classified as towers. The height of a building is measured from the sidewalk level of the main entrance to the structural top of the building. This includes spires but does not include television antennas, radio antennas, or flagpoles. By this definition the tallest building is the Burj Khalifa , Dubai, United Arab Emirates, which was completed in 2010; 2,717 ft (828 m) high, with 163 floors, it is also tallest structure in the world. Shanghai Tower , in Pudong, Shanghai, China, is the second tallest, at 2,073 ft (632 m) and 128 floors; it was completed in 2015. The Makkah Royal Clock Tower, Mecca, Saudi Arabia, is the world's third tallest building. Completed in 2012, it is 1,972 ft (601 m) high and has 120 floors. One World Trade Center, the primary building in the new World Trade Center complex, is the tallest building in the United States; it is 1,776 ft (541 m) high with 94 floors. The Willis Tower (opened 1974, formerly the Sears Tower) in Chicago was the tallest building in the United States until One World Trade Center was completed in 2014; its 108 floors rise 1,451 ft (442 m) with an additional 278 ft (85 m) for the television antenna on top.

Among other tall or notable New York City skyscrapers are 432 Park Ave., with 85 floors, 1,396 ft (425 m) high; the Empire State Building , with 102 floors, 1,250 ft (381 m) high; the Bank of America Tower, with 55 floors, 1,200 ft (366 m); the Chrysler Building , with 77 floors, 1,046 ft (319 m) high; and the Comcast (formerly GE, and earlier the RCA) Building in Rockefeller Center, with 70 floors, 850 ft (259 m) high. The former World Trade Center , which was the tallest building in the city until it was destroyed (Sept., 2001) by a terrorist attack, had two unstepped, rectangular towers of 104 floors each, one 1,368 ft (417 m) and the other 1,362 ft (415 m) high.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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