High Drama: The Quest to Build the World’s Tallest Building
Skyscrapers are status symbols for cities. Sure, they’re used for things like offices or condos, but when a building vies for a superlative like the tallest in the world, it isn’t out of utility. It’s meant to attract attention and investments, and in no small part to secure bragging rights.
In 2010, Dubai put the finishing tiles on the Burj Khalifa, the highest structure ever built by humans. It’s 830 meters tall, or 2,723 feet—about a tenth as high as an airplane flies. Going to the observation deck makes your ears pop. On an overcast day, it also lifts you above the clouds.
But the Burj also holds another title. According to a study from the Council on Tall Buildings and