As a New Yorker, I've become accustomed to the city's 280+ skyscrapers, as I frequently walk by the Empire State Building, Chrysler Building and New York Times Building while meandering through Midtown. But, for someone who lives outside of a major metropolitan area, I can understand the awe these buildings can have on a tourist. Skyscrapers, at least in the modern sense, are a new architectural phenomenon and the innovative designs we've seen in the last thirty years alone have been outstanding.
During the late 19th century, a skyscraper was any building with 10-20 floors. As architecture advanced during the 20th century, this meaning changed and today refers to any building with over 40 floors and exceeds 150 m (492 ft) in height. Steel is the key ingredient to the skyscraper boom, as it allowed buildings to expand vertically at an exponential rate. The two biggest skyscraper cities during the 20th century were Chicago and New York City, pumping out some of the most visited buildings in history including the Chrysler Building in 1930, the Empire State Building in 1931 and the Chicago Board of Trade Building in 1930. Skyscraper technology soon spread around the globe throughout the 20th century and buildings were erected throughout Russia (notably the Seven Sisters designed in the Stalinist style), East Asia and Latin America.
While New York and Chicago went back and forth with the world's tallest building title, that all changed during the turn of the century. Today, the majority of the world's tallest and most architecturally sophisticated buildings are located in Asia, notably Hong Kong, Shenzhen, Dubai, Shanghai and Tokyo. At the end of the 20th and into the 21st century, the world's tallest buildings were the Petronas Towers in Malaysia. They were soon trumped by Taipei 101 in 2004, a postmodernist style supertall skyscraper that held the title until 2010. The current world's tallest building is the Burj Khalifa in Dubai. This neo-futurist skyscraper was completed in 2010 and is a staggering 829.8 m high (2,722 ft). For context, this is nearly twice as tall as the Empire State Building and three times the Eiffel Tower. The Burj Khalifa was designed by architect Adrian Smith, who's currently working on what will eventually be the next world's tallest building—the Jeddah Tower. This tower is expected to be the first 1 km high building (3,281 ft) and it was slated to be completed in 2019, however construction has been put on hold due to the 2017-2019 Saudi Arabian purge.
In honor of National Skyscraper Day, September 3rd, we're celebrating the wonders of architecture with some amazing tattoos from talented artists around the world. These tattoos depict impressive buildings from around the world and show just how far this technology has come. Take a look at the tattoos in the gallery below, then let us know your thoughts on this story in the comments section on social media.