This chart from The Economist lists the tallest building completed each year since 1885.
It seems a tallish building (over 100m) was completed in Europe in 1940, and indeed this was the tallest building completed during that year, across the whole world.
Which building was this, and was it in a city at war in 1940 like Paris, London or Berlin? Or was it in one of the neutrals?
Terrazza Martini Tower (former name, formal name is Piacentini Tower) is a highrise building located in Genoa, Italy. Construction on the building began in 1935, and finished in 1940. It was designed by Marcello Piacentini and Angelo Invernizzi. It has 31 floors, and contains office spaces. Its roof height is 108 m, and counting its spire, the full building height is 116 m.1 This building was the tallest highrise building in Europe from 1940 to 1952
maybe look at the KBC Tower in Antwerp Belgium , this was completed around that time and was the tallest building in Europe for a period. It is still standing and was damaged in WW2
The Shard, [a] also referred to as the Shard of Glass,   Shard London Bridge  and formerly London Bridge Tower,    is a 72-storey skyscraper, designed by the Italian architect Renzo Piano, in Southwark, London, that forms part of the Shard Quarter development. Standing 309.6 metres (1,016 feet) high, the Shard is the tallest building in the United Kingdom, and the seventh-tallest building in Europe.    It is also the second-tallest free-standing structure in the United Kingdom, after the concrete tower of the Emley Moor transmitting station.  It replaced Southwark Towers, a 24-storey office block built on the site in 1975.
The Shard's construction began in March 2009 it was topped out on 30 March 2012  and inaugurated on 5 July 2012. Practical completion was achieved in November 2012. The tower's privately operated observation deck, The View from The Shard, was opened to the public on 1 February 2013.    The glass-clad pyramidal tower has 72 habitable floors, with a viewing gallery and open-air observation deck on the 72nd floor, at a height of 244 metres (801 ft).   The Shard was developed by Sellar Property Group on behalf of LBQ Ltd and is jointly owned by Sellar Property (5%) and the State of Qatar (95%).  The Shard is managed by Real Estate Management (UK) Limited on behalf of the owners.
Below are a number of pre-set lists of buildings in the CTBUH database. You can view detailed information on a building by clicking its name. View the seminal tall buildings CTBUH features as case studies. To create your own lists and outputs, use the Explore Data tool.
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Architecturally Topped Out
A Completed building must fulfill all the following criteria:
- Topped out structurally and architecturally
- Fully clad
- Open for business, or at least partially occupiable
The level of the lowest, significant, open-air, pedestrian entrance to the architectural top of the building, including spires, but not including antennae, signage, flagpoles or other functional-technical equipment.
Includes all above-ground floors, including the ground floor itself, and significant mezzanine floors / major mechanical plant floors, unless they have a significantly smaller floor area than the major floors below. Mechanical penthouses or plant rooms above the general roof area are not counted.
Both the main vertical/lateral structural elements and the floor spanning systems are constructed from steel. Note that a building of steel construction with a floor system of concrete planks or concrete slab on top of steel beams is still considered a “steel” structure as the concrete elements are not acting as the primary structure.
Both the main vertical/lateral structural elements and the floor spanning systems are constructed from concrete which has been cast in place and utilizes steel reinforcement bars.
Both the main vertical/lateral structural elements and the floor spanning system are constructed from steel reinforced concrete which has been precast as individual components and assembled together on-site.
Both the main vertical/lateral structural elements and the floor spanning systems are constructed from timber. An all-timber structure may include the use of localized non-timber connections between timber elements. Note that a building of timber construction with a floor system of concrete planks or concrete slab on top of timber beams is still considered a “timber” structure as the concrete elements are not acting as the primary structure.
Utilizes distinct systems, one on top of the other. For example, a steel/concrete indicates a steel structural system located on top of a concrete structural system, with the opposite true of concrete/steel.
A combination of two or more materials are used together in the main structural elements. Examples include buildings which utilize: steel columns with a floor system of reinforced concrete beams a steel frame system with a concrete core concrete-encased steel columns concrete-filled steel tubes a timber frame with a concrete core, etc. Where known, the CTBUH database breaks out the materials used in a composite building’s core, columns, and floor spanning separately.
A single-function tall building is defined as one where 85 percent or more of its total height is dedicated to a single function.
Cass Gilbert (1859-1934)
Cass Gilbert was born in Zanesville, Ohio, in 1859. His father was a surveyor for the United States Coast Survey. In 1864 the Gilbert family moved to St. Paul, Minnesota, where, in 1876, Cass began work at the office of local architect Abraham M. Radcliffe. He left Radcliffe's firm in 1878, to enroll in the architecture program at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. On graduation, in 1880 he visited Europe, to study and travel. On his return, Gilbert went work for the firm McKim, Mead & White, who had or were to design many New York landmarks, including Penn Station (1910, razed 1963), the Morgan Library & Museum (1900-06), Washington Arch (1892), and Brooklyn Museum (1895). McKim, Mead & White were exponents of an architectural style known as Beaux-Arts, which filtered classical Greek and Roman styles through the Parisian school École des Beaux-Arts, and of the City Beautiful Movement, a North American style of architecture and city planning that focused on beauty and monumental grandeur.
Gilbert, who had been Stanford White's assistant, returned to St. Paul in 1882, to set up an office with fellow architect James Knox Taylor. Gilbert and Knox completed a number of commissions together in Minnesota, including the Endicott building, which gained the architects a national reputation. In 1898 Gilbert moved his office to New York. In 1902 he received his first big commission, from the Office of the Supervising Architect, one James Knox Taylor, to build the U.S. Custom House, at 1 Bowling Green. Completed in 1907, the building combined Beaux-Arts and the City Beautiful Movement to great effect, and cemented Gilbert's reputation in New York.
When the two men met, in 1910 to discuss the contract to design a skyscraper, Woolworth was impressed by Gilbert's up front manner. At their meeting, the architect drew a sketch for the Woolworth Building, and jotted down some costs next to it. Typically architects at the time would agree to contracts before drawings were made. Gilbert realized that potential clients would be impressed by drawings, and would be more likely to award contracts to an architect who invested time and effort in that process before money was discussed.
Woolworth had already commissioned the construction of a number of buildings, including his mansion at 990 Fifth Avenue (1901-1927), and the impressive North Queen Street Woolworth store, in Lancaster, Pennsylvania (1901), that included 5 floors of office space and a theater above the store itself. Woolworth awarded the contract to Cass Gilbert. The photograph on the left, taken in 1931, is from the Library of Congress digital collections.
Originally Woolworth had intended to build a modest bank and office building for his company and his co-sponsors the Irving National Bank, but as the project went on, and the building was finished, it had grown in scope, and become the tallest occupied building in the world. Soon after it was completed Woolworth was to buy the Irving National Banks share of the skyscraper, reducing the bank's status to that of tenant.
The contract for constructing the Woolworth Building was awarded to the Thompson-Starrett Company, headed by Louis J. Horowitz. The company was in operation from 1899 until 1968, and was, along with the George A. Fuller Company, a pioneer in the construction of early skyscrapers in New York City. Thompson-Starrett's list of construction projects includes numerous historic buildings the Equitable Building in Manhattan (1915), the former General Motors Building in Detroit (1923), the American Stock Exchange (1930), the City of New York Municipal Building (1914), Union Station, Washington, D.C. (1907), and the New York World's Fair New York State Pavilion (1964).
Construction began April, 1910, with the demolition of existing buildings on the site, and by August 26, 1911, the building's foundations were complete. Construction of the skyscraper's steel frame began August 15, 1911, and rose at the rate of 1½ stories a week, closely followed by the "brick layers attaching terra cotta cladding." By April 6, 1912, the steel frame had reached the thirtieth floor, the top of the main block, and the forty-seventh storey of the main tower by May 30. The topping out ceremony took place, as the last rivet was driven into the summit of the building on July 1, 1912. The building was completed, in record time, by April 1913. Gilbert's Custom House had taken 6 years to build. (Fenske, 186)
As the skyscraper went up New York newspapers (and hundreds nationwide) provided running commentaries on the building's ascent up and beyond the city's skyline. Not yet built, Woolworth's building had captured the public's attention, and was already generating enormous publicity. Woolworth decided to record the building's construction for posterity. He employed a commercial photographer, Irving Underhill, who had his studio on the corner of Broadway and Park Place, opposite the site, to document at regular intervals, the construction of the building. Underhill's photographs were sent out to Woolworth's stores all over the country, and can be seen in the gallery below.
Underhill's photographs below, views of City Hall Park and Broadway South, were taken in 1908 (top) and 1913 (bottom), and show the area before and after the construction of the Woolworth Building. The skyscraper dominates the landscape, and is so tall that the second photograph's horizon appears considerably lower than in Underhill's 1908 picture, an effort required to squeeze the building into the photograph's frame.
The opening ceremony, held by Woolworth, in Cass Gilbert's honor, took place on April 24, 1913. President Woodrow Wilson pressed a button in the Whitehouse and 80,000 light bulbs came to life, illuminating the skyscraper, and there was a banquet on the 27th floor, attended by 900 guests.
History & Culture
"First in War, First in Peace, and First in the hearts of his countrymen."
George Washington's military and political leadership were indispensable to the founding of the United States. As commander of the Continental Army, he rallied Americans from thirteen divergent states and outlasted Britain's superior military force. As the first president, Washington's superb leadership set the standard for each president that has succeeded him. The Washington Monument towers above the city that bears his name, serving as an awe-inspiring reminder of George Washington's greatness. The monument, like the man, stands in no one's shadow.
The Washington Monument, designed by Robert Mills and eventually completed by Thomas Casey and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, honors and memorializes George Washington at the center of the nation's capital. The structure was completed in two phases of construction, one private (1848-1854) and one public (1876-1884). Built in the shape of an Egyptian obelisk, evoking the timelessness of ancient civilizations, the Washington Monument embodies the awe, respect, and gratitude the nation felt for its most essential Founding Father. When completed, the Washington Monument was the tallest building in the world at 555 feet, 5-1/8 inches.
First phase of Washington Monument construction.
Honoring the Father of This Country
The geometric layout of Washington, D.C.'s streets and green spaces, originally designed by Pierre L'Enfant, reserved a prominent space for a monument to George Washington at the intersection of lines radiating south from the White House and west of the Capitol. In 1833, the Washington National Monument Society, a private organization, formed to fund and build a monument to the first president that would be "unparalleled in the world." The Society solicited for donations and designs for a decade, settling on a design by Robert Mills in 1845. Mills' design called for a 600-foot Egyptian-style obelisk ringed by thirty 100-foot columns. The design was audacious, ambitious, and expensive, creating numerous complications during its construction.
Despite difficulties raising funds, construction began on the Washington Monument in 1848. The cornerstone was laid on July 4 with upwards of 20,000 people in attendance including President James K. Polk, Mrs. James Madison, Mrs. Alexander Hamilton, George Washington Parke Custis, and future presidents Buchanan, Lincoln, and Johnson. Builders commenced work on the blue gneiss foundation, an 80-foot square step pyramid. With the substructure completed, the builders then proceeded to the above-ground marble structure, 55 feet, 1.5 inches square at the base, using a system of pulleys, block and tackle systems, and a mounted derrick to hoist and place the stones, inching the structure skyward. By 1854, the monument had reached a height of 156 feet above ground, but a turn of events stalled construction.
In 1853, a new group aligned with the controversial Know-Nothing Party gained control of the Washington National Monument Society in the Society's periodic board election. Having always struggled to gather funding, the Society's change in administration alienated donors and drove the Society to bankruptcy by 1854. Without funds, work on the monument slowed to a halt. Architect Robert Mills died in 1855. For more than two decades, the monument stood only partly finished, doing more to embarrass the nation than to honor its most important Founding Father. Congressional attempts to support the Washington National Monument Society failed as attentions turned toward the sectional crisis, then civil war. Only as the nation was rebuilding did attention once again turn toward honoring the man who had once united the states in a common purpose.
The aluminum tip is placed on the top of the Washington Monument. It was the tallest building in the world upon its completion in 1884, standing 555 feet, 5.125 inches.
To Great Heights
By a joint resolution passed on July 5, 1876, Congress assumed the duty of funding and building the Washington Monument. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, led by Lt. Col. Thomas Lincoln Casey, was responsible for directing and completing the work. Casey's first task was to strengthen the foundation of the monument, which he determined was inadequate for the structure as it was designed. For four years, the builders carefully beefed up the support at the base of the foundation to support the massive weight of the superstructure to come.
To continue building upward, the masons needed stone. The trouble was that the quarry near Baltimore used for the initial construction was no longer available after so many years. Seeking a suitable match, the builders turned to a quarry in Massachusetts. However, problems quickly emerged with the quality and color of the stone, and the irregularity of deliveries. After adding several courses of this stone from Massachusetts, still recognizable by the naked eye today as a brown-streaked beltline one-third of the way up the monument, the builders turned to a third quarry near Baltimore that proved more favorable, and used that stone for the upper two-thirds of the structure. The stone never matched exactly, and the three slightly different colors from the three quarries are distinguishable today.
Rather than ascend to 600 feet as Mills had intended in the original plan, Casey was persuaded to make the height of the structure ten times the width of the base, meaning the optimal height for the Washington Monument was 555 feet. Plans for ornate adornments on the obelisk and the ring of columns were scrapped in favor of the clean, stark look of a simple obelisk shape. Aesthetic reasons aside, the design choice reduced the cost and allowed for faster construction. Casey reduced the thickness of the walls from thirteen feet to nine feet between the 150 and 160 foot levels, a transition visible on a visit to the Washington Monument's interior. Using a steam-powered elevator that could lift six tons of stone up to a movable 20-foot-tall iron frame replete with a boom and block and tackle systems for setting the stones, the masons inched their way up the monument, building twenty feet of stone and mortar, then moving the iron framework up twenty feet, repeating as they went upward.
470 feet above the ground, the builders began angling buttresses inward to support the 300-ton marble pyramidion at the top of the monument. Supported by the buttresses, the angled walls of the pyramidion, anchored by mortoise and tenon joints, climbed inward beginning at 500 feet above ground. On a breezy December 6, 1884, Lt. Col. Casey supervised as the 3,300-pound capstone was brought out through one of the windows, hoisted to the scaffolding at the dizzying tip of the monument, and set in place. Casey then placed the 8.9-inch aluminum tip atop the capstone to the cheers of the crowd below. The Washington Monument was complete, and it had surpassed the Cologne Cathedral to be the tallest building in the world at 555 feet, 5.125 inches. Inscribed on the aluminum cap, notable names and dates in the monument's construction are recalled, and on the east face, facing the rising sun, the Latin words "Laus Deo," which translate to, "Praise be to God."
The Washington Monument was dedicated on a chilly February 21, 1885, one day before George Washington's birthday (which fell on a Sunday that year). After the completion of the iron staircase in the monument's interior, the Washington Monument was first accessible to the public in 1886, closed much of 1887 until it could be better protected from vandals, and reopened in 1888 with a public elevator. Visitors making the ascent could view commemorative stones inset in the walls from various individuals, civic groups, cities, states, and countries from around the world, the tokens of appreciation of Washington's admirers and, in many cases, the donors that contributed to the construction of the Monument in its privately-financed phase. Today there are 193 of these commemorative stones.
The original steam-driven elevator, with a trip time of 10-12 minutes to the top of the monument, was replaced with an electric elevator in 1901. The National Park Service was given jurisdiction over the Washington Monument in 1933, and the first restoration of the structure began as a Depression Era public works project in 1934. Additional restoration work occurred in 1964, from 1998-2001, in 2011-2014 (to repair damage following an earthquake) and from 2016-2019 for modernization of the elevator.
St Paul's Cathedral
St Paul's was the first British cathedral to be built for the Anglican faith at the end of the 1600s. It is therefore ironic that its famous architect, Sir Christopher Wren, borrowed heavily from the Catholic Renaissance by adopting such features as the dome and Corinthian columns.
The original St Paul's Cathedral was built on the same site in 604 by Bishop Mellitus. The Vikings burnt it down in 962 and it was rebuilt in the Gothic style. This was begun in 1087 and completed two centuries later in 1310. This cathedral was then destroyed in the Great Fire of London in 1666. Wren's masterpiece was started in 1675 and took 35 years to complete. Unlike many of the medieval masons, whose cathedrals took centuries to complete, Wren was able to see it finished. It cost £700,000 - about £53 million today. On the inner dome, there are frescoes of scenes from the life of St Paul. These were painted by Sir James Thornhill and can be seen from the Whispering Gallery. Wren died at 91 and his tomb is marked by a black marble slab in the St Paul's crypt.
Welcome to the 1940 census
The 1940 census records were released by the US National Archives April 2, 2012, and brought online through a partnership with Archives.com. This website allows you full access to the 1940 census images, in addition to 1940 census maps and descriptions.
Please visit Getting Started to determine the best way to begin your search.
How It Works
- Find census maps and descriptions to locate an enumeration district.
To find a person in the census, you first need to determine the appropriate enumeration district number. This can be found by searching census district maps and descriptions.
- Browse census images to locate a person in the 1940 census.
Census images are organized by enumeration district number. Once you've located the correct one, you can begin to browse census images to look for your ancestor.
- Save, share, and download images to save your work and share with family members.
When you locate a census image, you can easily save, share, or download the image for future reference. This image can be a great keepsake, or addition to your family tree!
Street indexing and ED conversion made possible by One-Step work of Stephen Morse and Joel Weintraub.
Eiffel Tower opens
On March 31, 1889, the Eiffel Tower is dedicated in Paris in a ceremony presided over by Gustave Eiffel, the tower’s designer, and attended by French Prime Minister Pierre Tirard, a handful of other dignitaries, and 200 construction workers.
In 1889, to honor of the centenary of the French Revolution, the French government planned an international exposition and announced a design competition for a monument to be built on the Champ-de-Mars in central Paris. Out of more than 100 designs submitted, the Centennial Committee chose Eiffel’s plan of an open-lattice wrought-iron tower that would reach almost 1,000 feet above Paris and be the world’s tallest man-made structure. Eiffel, a noted bridge builder, was a master of metal construction and designed the framework of the Statue of Liberty that had recently been erected in New York Harbor.
Eiffel’s tower was greeted with skepticism from critics who argued that it would be structurally unsound, and indignation from others who thought it would be an eyesore in the heart of Paris. Unperturbed, Eiffel completed his great tower under budget in just two years. Only one worker lost his life during construction, which at the time was a remarkably low casualty number for a project of that magnitude. The light, airy structure was by all accounts a technological wonder and within a few decades came to be regarded as an architectural masterpiece.
The Eiffel Tower is 984 feet tall and consists of an iron framework supported on four masonry piers, from which rise four columns that unite to form a single vertical tower. Platforms, each with an observation deck, are at three levels. Elevators ascend the piers on a curve, and Eiffel contracted the Otis Elevator Company of the United States to design the tower’s famous glass-cage elevators.
The elevators were not completed by March 31, 1889, however, so Gustave Eiffel ascended the tower’s stairs with a few hardy companions and raised an enormous French tricolor on the structure’s flagpole. Fireworks were then set off from the second platform. Eiffel and his party descended, and the architect addressed the guests and about 200 workers. In early May, the Paris International Exposition opened, and the tower served as the entrance gateway to the giant fair.
The Eiffel Tower remained the world’s tallest man-made structure until the completion of the Chrysler Building in New York in 1930. Incredibly, the Eiffel Tower was almost demolished when the International Exposition’s 20-year lease on the land expired in 1909, but its value as an antenna for radio transmission saved it. It remains largely unchanged today and is one of the world’s premier tourist attractions.
The History of Skyscrapers
By Karen Barss
The Chrysler Building, in New York City, once the tallest building in the world
The John Hancock Tower, in Boston, Massachusetts
Skyscrapers & Buildings
The desire to build big is nothing new. Big buildings have been used to show off power and wealth to honor leaders or religious beliefs to stretch the limits of what's possible and even as simple competition among owners, families, architects, and builders. Some of the most dramatic buildings of the past include the pyramids in Egypt, the skinny towers stretching towards the sky in Italian hill towns, and the gothic cathedrals of France. While these types of buildings may look very different from each other, they all have one thing in common. They were built with masonry or stone walls supporting most of the weight (so-called load-bearing walls), including that of the floors, the people, and everything the rooms contained. Because of this, the height of these buildings was limited by how massive and heavy they had to be at the base.
Removing the Obstacles
Two developments in the 19th century paved the way for a whole new type of building: the skyscraper. The first was the development of a safe elevator. Primitive elevators of various designs had been used for centuries, and starting in the mid 19th century, steam-operated elevators were used to move materials in factories, mines, and warehouses. But these elevators were not considered safe for people if the cable broke, they would plummet to the bottom of the elevator shaft. Then in 1853, an American inventor named Elisha Graves Otis developed a safety device that kept elevators from falling if a cable should break. This new development had an enormous impact on public confidence. And later in the century, the switch to an electric motor made the elevator a practical solution to the problem of getting up and down tall buildings.
The second development took place in Chicago. In 1871, Chicago suffered a devastating fire. In the years that followed, however, instead of recovering slowly, the city experienced explosive growth, and it quickly began to strain against its natural boundaries. By the 1880s, the available land for new buildings in this area could not keep up with demand the only alternative was to build up. But in order to achieve the desired height, construction techniques had to change. A new method of building was developed that used a grid of steel beams and columns that were strong enough to support any stresses or forces a building might experience, including both the weight of the floor and the building contents, as well as the force of wind or even, in some areas, earthquakes. And with this new building method, the skyscraper was born and the race for the tallest building began.
Since the birth of the skyscraper, builders and engineers have continuously looked for ways to improve building methods and materials, in order to make structures stronger, taller, and lighter. Skyscrapers are built to last, so they must be made of materials that are strong durable resistant to the sun, wind, rain, frost, and snow and affordable. Concrete is one of the most common materials, beyond the steel supports, because it is enormously versatile. Its composition can be changed depending on the needs of the building. It can be reinforced to make it stiffer and stronger by setting steel mesh or bars into the concrete. And additives can make it set or harden faster or slower depending on the needs of the design.
Another very important material is glass. Because the steel skeleton now supports the main loads of the building, the outer skin only serves to keep the weather out and let light in, the more light the better. So glass walls became very popular beginning after World War II, because they are weatherproof while providing ample natural light, and also because they are so much lighter-and cheaper-than masonry or concrete.
The Forces of Nature
But as buildings became taller and lighter, particularly the modern glass boxes that are so popular, skyscrapers began having trouble with the wind and they began to sway, some more than two feet in any direction! Engineers came up with new solutions for this problem, first installing diagonally braced steel trusses between central elevator shafts to create a stronger core, and then moving most of the beams and columns to the outside edge of the walls in order to make a stiff tube. A more unusual solution was devised to control sway in the 1970s called a tuned mass damper. This is a giant concrete block or weight, mounted with springs and shock absorbers on a lubricated plate, designed like a pendulum to move in one direction when a computer senses the structure has begun to move in the other, in order to counterbalance the motion.
Of course, with new technological developments, problems can occur. One dramatic and very visible example was the John Hancock Tower in Boston, now considered the city's most spectacular building. The structure is a tower of mirrored glass. But almost from the beginning, the glass panes failed. The problem started during a winter gale in January 1973 while the tower was still under construction, when huge panels of glass, each weighing 500 pounds, shattered and fell to the street below.
The streets and sidewalks were roped off as engineers tried to figure out what was going wrong. By April at least 65 panels had fallen and been replaced by plywood. Theories and rumors persisted, including that the tower was swaying too much, causing the windows to pop out, or that the tower's foundation was settling so significantly that it broke the windows. The truth was that the material itself failed. The window units had been manufactured using a fairly new process and the design was fatally flawed. Ultimately, all 10,344 windows had to be replaced and the building has been safe ever since.
The Race for the Sky
In the early 20th century, corporations built skyscrapers for the promotional value to increase name recognition. Among the early skyscrapers in Manhattan were the Metropolitan Life Insurance Tower (700 feet, 50 stories), the Woolworth Building (the world's tallest from 1913-1930 at 792 feet, 60 stories), the Bank of Manhattan (927 feet, 71 stories), and the heavily decorated Chrysler Building (briefly the world's tallest in 1930 at 1046 feet, 77 stories). The Chrysler Building soon lost its crown to the Empire State Building, built during the Depression by a real estate developer, which reached a stunning 1,250 feet and 102 stories. The Empire State Building would reign supreme among skyscrapers for 41 years until 1972, when it was surpassed by the World Trade Center (1,368 feet, 110 stories). Two years later, New York City lost the distinction of housing the tallest building when the Sears Tower was constructed in Chicago (1450 feet, 110 stories). And twenty-four years after that, for the first time the tallest skyscraper was no longer in the United States at all, but in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, where the Petronas Towers were built in 1998 (1483 feet, 88 stories).
Taipei 101, completed in Taiwan in 2004, which tops out at 1,670 feet and 101 stories, held the title as the tallest building in world until January 2010, when the Burj Khalifa (formerly called the Burj Dubai), in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, became the world's tallest building at 2,716 feet (828 meters) and 160 stories. The Burj Khalifa contains the world's fastest elevators, 20.7 acres of glass, and is expected to use about 250,000 gallons of water per day.
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Cologne Cathedral, German Kölner Dom, Roman Catholic cathedral church, located in the city of Cologne, Germany. It is the largest Gothic church in northern Europe and features immense twin towers that stand 515 feet (157 metres) tall. The cathedral was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1996.
The site of Cologne Cathedral has been occupied by Christian churches since about the 4th century. An older cathedral was destroyed by fire in 1248, and immediately thereafter work began on the present cathedral, which was designed in the Gothic style in emulation of French church architecture. The choir was consecrated in 1322, but construction continued until 1560 (or only until 1520, according to some authorities). The project then stalled for centuries, with a large wooden crane left standing some 184 feet (56 metres) above the ground, at the top of the south tower. During the 1790s, troops of the French Revolution occupied Cologne and used the cathedral as a stable and a hay barn. Restoration work began in the 1820s, spurred on by Sulpiz Boisserée, a German proponent of the Gothic Revival movement. In 1842 a new cornerstone was laid by King Frederick William IV of Prussia, and work to complete the cathedral resumed in earnest. The architects Ernst Friedrich Zwirner and Richard Voigtel carried out the enterprise, guided by architectural drawings made in about 1300. Construction finally ended in 1880.
At the time of its completion, Cologne Cathedral was believed to be the world’s tallest structure, a distinction it held until 1884, when the Washington Monument was finished. It continued to be the world’s tallest building until it was exceeded by Ulm (Germany) Cathedral in 1890. Cologne Cathedral was badly damaged by Allied air raids in 1944, but the medieval windows had been removed beforehand. By 1948 the choir had been restored and was again in regular use, as was the rest of the interior by 1956. In the late 20th century work began to repair the effects of acid rain on the stonework.
The art treasures of Cologne Cathedral are many and varied. Near the high altar is the massive gold Shrine of the Three Kings, containing what are said to be relics of the Magi who attended the infant Jesus. The shrine, a masterpiece of medieval goldwork, was begun by the noted goldsmith Nicholas of Verdun in 1182, completed in about 1220, and originally installed in the predecessor cathedral. The altarpiece in the Lady Chapel (on the south wall of the choir) is a triptych entitled The Adoration of the Magi (c. 1445), which was made by Stefan Lochner, one of the outstanding painters of the Cologne school. The cathedral’s oldest stained-glass windows were crafted in the 13th century. More modern in style is an immense stained-glass window by the Cologne-based artist Gerhard Richter, completed in 2007 as a permanent replacement for 19th-century glass that was destroyed in World War II. Richter’s window consists of more than 11,000 square panes in 72 solid colours, arrayed seemingly at random within the many-mullioned window.